infested hope, hopeful infestation

The cranes infest False Creek South as the construction of Olympic Village begins, ca. 2008. For me, seeing the angular steel lines strewn about in almost haphazard ways brings a similar feeling as watching stick bugs at Science World, or long, plodding spiders about their intricate works. But far from delicate, the power to transform the landscape that cranes represent – and the power to mythologize the reasons – is breathtaking. Almost literally, as the significant environmental impact contributes to the ever widening dearth of healthy, breathable air, and open, imaginable landscape.

Today in Vancouver, a similar phenomenon is at play, as folks on both sides of the housing affordability crisis clamor for “supply! supply!”, thinking somehow that building buildings will create more homes, and not realizing that a “home” has a lot to do with the right to dwell in a place in perpetuity. A home is more than the building, it’s also the system of relationships, and accountabilities, to community and to the land itself.  To belong. To be claimed. And the very fact that the land is so pricey that ownership is out of the question for all but the richest, means the supply argument becomes predicated around “affordable rental units” (and more of them). Rent is precisely the condition of not having a right to dwell in a place, because, as a renter, you’re accountable to the owner only, not the land, not your community, not really. And your home? It is literally. Not. Yours. 

We can’t solve “affordability” until we realize that the question isn’t about money but rather about how fragmented our sense of relationship to each other and our place has become. For more people to have stable homes in and through which they can put down roots – become rooted like the trees – requires that homes be completely separate from markets. From profits. From financial equity.

About the image: this was taken at 400 ISO on my old Lumix FZ-5, so I cranked the noise reduction sliders all the way to the right to see what would happen – I think it’s a pretty interesting effect 🙂

Use the left and right arrow keys or click on the left or right side of the picture to move from post to post. This is all very "under development".