During last week’s UBC President’s Town Hall, Professor Stephen Toope identified housing as “the biggest challenge that UBC faces going forward in terms of recruitment and retention both of students and faculty.” The President and the UBC Board of Governors are committed to build more favorable, more affordable and more sustainable living and working conditions for faculty, students and staff at this University.
The Board of Governors has assigned the responsibility of leading the process of developing a UBC Vancouver Housing Action Plan (HAP) to the Community Planning Task Group (CPTG), based on guiding principles approved by the Board of Governors. The UBC Vancouver Housing Action Plan (HAP) will address issues of housing affordability and choice on campus for faculty, students and staff, and will guide the Board of Governors in future housing-related decisions.
What’s Being Done
We are hoping to capitalize on the amendments to the UBC Vancouver Land Use Plan, which were adopted by the province in March 2011, enabling UBC to increase density and construct a wider variety of housing types on University lands.
We are currently researching existing faculty and staff housing initiatives at peer universities. Members of the Community Planning Task Group have toured institutional housing at New York University, Columbia, Harvard, UCLA and UC Irvine to learn about the academic, financial and operational aspects of their programs (see initial findings). Over the coming weeks, I will provide more details about housing programs at these institutions.
UBC’s Campus + Community Planning department is conducting a detailed analysis of faculty and staff data to explore the income and needs profiles of various groups on the UBC Vancouver campus. This information will be used to evaluate the relative affordability of existing housing options on campus.
UBC staff is meeting with BC Housing for a preliminary discussion on the potential for a partnership in the delivery of affordable workforce housing at UBC Vancouver. Planning for improved and expanded student housing is at a more advanced stage and is supported by the Student Housing Financing Endowment.
For the CPTG, a key focus around student housing is the shelter portion of the BC Student Loan program.
First, we need your input! You can either send us your contribution through the comments section (below), or by participating in the various “Housing fora” planned around the Vancouver campus.
The Community Planning Task Group will draft strategic and administrative policies regarding eligibility, rental versus ownership mix, resale considerations, and other issues related to on-campus housing. Feedback gathered throughout the development process will be reported to the Board in early 2012, with the draft UBC Vancouver Housing Action Plan to be presented for Board of Governors approval in April 2012.
We are seeking your help and support throughout this important exercise and YOUR input is needed – please share your experience, comments & suggestions.
Chair, Community Planning Task Group