Archived columns and blog posts by Matt Elliott

Ep. 13: Fighting the urban parasite

Is your house a parasite, sucking the very lifeblood out of your city? It might be. On this episode, Luke and Matt conduct an interview with Nathanael Lauster, professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia and author of the new book The Life and Death of the Single-Family House: Lessons from Vancouver on Building a Livable City.

Nathan tells us how the detached, single-family home once came to dominate many parts of Metro Vancouver, and how that dominance was challenged by new kinds of urban housing — dense, multi-family buildings that are better for the environment and help build more livable cities.

We talk about why the detached home remains desirable for so many people in most Canadian cities, and the regulations that have led Vancouver in a different direction. We also discuss why coastlines are terrible places to put highways and Nathan provides some timely advice to sprawly cities.

Meanwhile, Matt reveals that he never wants to mow a lawn again, while Luke professes a habitual affection for biology analogies.

Vass Bednar will return.

Show links

Nathanael Lauster

Further Reading

This post was originally published at on 2016-11-29T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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