Sustainable for whom? An analysis of housing affordability in proto-sustainable cities

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(Research Project) M.Urb.
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Is it mere coincidence that some of the world’s most sustainable cities are also some of the least affordable? This study hypothesized that sustainability as a planning paradigm may be gentrifying North American cities. The findings of this study clearly show that this is possible, as determined through a comparison of the correlation between sustainability efforts and housing affordability in three sets of cities. Though this phenomenon may not be intentional, this undermines the efforts of proto-sustainable cities and inhibits their ability to develop into truly sustainable places. This small, but crucial, piece of research lays the foundation for future research on the interplay between sustainability policies and housing. Additionally, this research serves to caution urban planners against the assumption that sustainability plans and programs benefit everyone equally, and encourages them to consider the potential housing impact of planning for a sustainable future.
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