Housing our most vulnerable: UAlberta researcher explores solutions to affordable housing challenges

Assistant Professor Joshua Evans explains the work of the Affordable Housing Solutions Lab in the latest Science Connects webinar.

Andrew Lyle - 30 September 2020

Housing affordability is a significant challenge affecting more and more households each year. And surmounting these challenges requires understanding of the causes and potential solutions to affordable housing, explained Joshua Evans in a new Science Connects webinar.

“While generating significant profits for some, the housing market is unable to provide housing that is affordable for households on the lower end of the income spectrum,” said Evans, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospherics Sciences. “At the same time, non-market, or social, housing is full and the waitlist for a subsidized unit can be years. There is a pressing need in Alberta to identify ways to expand the supply of affordable housing. Expanding this supply is one step towards fulfilling the right to adequate housing and promoting the health and wellness of everyone in the community.”

Evans identifies some of the major contributing factors to barriers to affordable housing. In Edmonton, poverty, income inequality, and underinvestment in non-market housing are all areas of concern. “Loss of income due to economic restructuring is also a barrier,” said Evans. “Alberta’s economy is in the midst of a major economic restructuring. As the global demand for fossil fuel weakens, diversification of the economy becomes even more vital—but this process unevenly affects workers across the province and around the world.”

In the webinar, Evans explores some of these approaches and the potential benefits they offer, as well as shining a lens on his current research. 

“There are a number of approaches that have been proposed to tackling these issues, from both the demand side and supply side of housing,” said Evans. “These include rent supplements or tax credits, developer incentives, zoning regulations, housing levies, and public housing.”

Hear more about Evans’ work and the Affordable Housing Solutions Lab in the full recording of this Science Connects Weinbar. And check out recordings of all our Science Connects webinars online.

Visit our calendar to find information on similar events, including live talks and webinars, or check out the Office of Alumni Relations’ On Demand offerings. 

Want to learn more about the Canadian Arctic, mountains, and other science topics? We also offer many free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to keep you learning and engaged, like Astro 101, Bugs 101, Dino 101, and Mountains 101. For information on how these courses align with Alberta’s K-12 curriculum, please see this useful guide.