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Creating housing options for families in Vancouver

Families are key to a growing economy and vibrant society. Making sure we have the right kinds of housing for them is important for keeping families in Vancouver and attracting more families to live here. 

We’re taking action to increase and improve the supply of family homes. In 2016, City Council approved the Housing Mix Policy for Rezoning Projects. This policy raised the requirements and targets for family units (units with two or more bedrooms) in rezoning projects from 25 to 35%  to ensure Vancouver’s housing stock makes room for families.

As the next step in our work, we’re now updating the guidelines for designing apartments so we can help support better family housing options.

What's happening

Share your feedback and experiences

Help us understand the current situations, needs, values, preferences, and issues that families are facing. 

Complete our survey if you and your family:

  • Live in an apartment
  • Have lived in apartments
  • Are considering apartment living

The survey closes on Tuesday, May 22 at noon.  

Take the survey

Family Room: Apartment design guidelines

Since publishing the High-density housing for families with children guidelines  (144 KB) in 1992, the housing market and how people live in Vancouver has changed significantly. Housing costs and lifestyle choices have led to more families living in apartments.

Today’s families face different housing challenges that weren’t anticipated in the original guidelines, in particular the need for more 2 and 3 bedroom units and balancing affordability and liveability in smaller units.  

We’re modernizing the guidelines to improve the livability of family units, taking into account the impact of any new requirements on the cost of family homes. We propose to name the updated guidelines "Family Room: Apartment design guidelines".

Timeline

To improve affordability, flexibility, and liveability of family units, Council directed staff to review and update the high-density housing for families with children guidelines. This review will include the following steps:

  1. April to May 2018: Evaluate and refine existing policies with public consultation to understand current situations, needs, values, preferences, and issues
  2. Summer 2018: Prepare revisions to the plan and do further consultation
  3. Fall 2018: Complete recommended guideline changes and report them to City Council

Family Room: Housing mix policy for rezoning projects

The Family Room: Housing mix policy for rezoning projects  (290 KB) provides new requirements and targets for family units in rezoning projects for residential strata housing and secured market rental housing. Family units are defined as units that have two or more bedrooms.

The policy applies to rezonings citywide and supersedes any existing family-unit housing mix requirements and targets that are set out in Council-approved plans or policies.

The policy does not apply to, or supersede, requirements and targets for:

  • Family units included in Council-approved official development plans (ODPs)
  • Rezoning projects where a Council-approved plan includes an intentional alternate housing mix, such as the Downtown Eastside Plan

Rezoning applications that include any residential strata housing are required to include a minimum of 35% family units (units having two or more bedrooms):

  • A minimum of 10% three-bedroom units
  • A minimum of 25% two-bedroom units

Rezoning applications for secured market rental projects are required to include a minimum of 35% family units with two or more bedrooms.

Family Room: Housing Mix Policy for Rezoning Projects

Housing for children and families

A presentation was given to Council on June 9, 2015, highlighting the importance of families to Vancouver’s economy and community well-being and some emerging policy directions being taken to help keep families in the city.

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