Lack of inexpensive housing undermines Higher Victoria’s international advantages – BC Native Information
Greater Victoria risks becoming a priceless location with few amenities and mediocre productivity if it does not reverse its current course in areas such as housing and infrastructure.
This assessment appears in a report prepared by an international consultancy for the South Island Prosperity Partnership.
“Without more decisive steps, Greater Victoria could slowly and steadily get into a development path with medium productivity, low affordability, low equipment and prone to future shocks,” it says.
This finding appears in the summary of a trilogy of reports produced by The Business of Cities, a London-based consultancy.
The first of the three reports describes current conditions, the second sheds light on developments in 10 comparable urban areas around the world, while the final report describes Victoria’s potential path to what the report calls global fluency.
“Global fluency means how regions read the world, navigate the map of global opportunities and develop the skills and reach to be consistently successful and competitive,” it says. Accordingly, urban areas that cannot read global opportunities tend to get stuck in tight economic formulas that ultimately reduce their attractiveness, it is said.
The consultants found that Greater Victoria has advantages that distinguish it not only nationally, but globally. These include, as the report says, “an exceptional environment, low pollution, special access to nature, less crime, excellent health care and quality education, all in a region that is currently more compact and easier to reach than many others” . . “
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But these benefits can only be temporary. Other comparable cities and metropolitan regions consistently prefer to attract and retain younger workers because they have more urban fabric, infrastructure and concentration (of young people). In this context, the report points to the lack of affordable housing in the region.
“Less affordable living space and fewer large anchor companies than other comparable regions are clear restrictions,” it says. “The evidence suggests that, despite promising industry specializations, the innovation results are not yet in line with the region’s entrepreneurship and innovation infrastructure.”
Looking ahead, the report recommends that Greater Victoria take three immediate steps to develop global agility: developing a resilient, innovation-driven economy in its inner city; Developing an outward-looking innovation and business brand (to counter Victoria’s relatively low international profile) and developing a clear and complementary role in the Cascadia region.
“These three priorities can be a focus in the next period,” it says. “Later, when a clear dynamic has developed in these three areas and Greater Victoria has a truly global focus, the region can meaningfully concentrate on what is needed in the next phases.”
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