I came to Vancouver in 1974 with the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation to oversee the design and development of low-income housing for families, seniors and people with disabilities. I approved thousands of co-op, non-profit and municipally sponsored housing units around British Columbia and in 1976 served as the CMHC special coordinator for the redevelopment of the south shore of False Creek. Since then, I have been involved with successful communities across Canada, including St. Lawrence in Toronto, Market Square in Saint John, N.B., the redevelopment of BC Packers Lands in Steveston, the Bayshore in Coal Harbour, and SFU’s UniverCity.
“At CMHC we often spoke of the five quintiles dividing socio-economic groups into A, B, C, D and E. The very rich were in A, the first quintile and in E, the fifth quintile, were the homeless, hard-to-house and core-needy households. While we can successfully mix different quintiles, when we try to juxtapose the very rich with the very poor, there can be both social and fiscal consequences.”
Michael Geller is an architect, planner, real estate consultant and developer. He also serves on the adjunct faculty at Simon Fraser University. He can be reached at email@example.com
Vancouver Sun, October 14, 2010