This project explores the formation and negotiation of shared households among renters in the City of Vancouver as a response to the ongoing housing crisis. Building on previous scholarship which emphasizes how structural and contextual forces can shape housing choices and conditions, the study offers a glimpse into the lives of roommates as they navigate and cope with living in households that are often formed out of necessity, posing interesting challenges to the experience of housing and being-at-home. Roommate renters are made to dwell in spaces built and designed for nuclear families, further complicating the experience of living together, in addition to grappling with insecure tenancies due to the lack of recognition of these types of households in city bylaws and provincial residential tenancy laws. Using urban ethnographic methods and interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks, shared households are revealed as spaces of both crisis and intimacy, containing within them contradictory encounters and tensions, while at the same time laying bare moments of skillfulness, creativity, and care as roommates engage in a constant process of learning how to live together.
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Thesis advisor: Dyck, Noel
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