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6 Key Learnings From the Arts and Culture Sector Housing Consultation

On June 12, Artscape lead a consultation with the arts and culture community to explore the sector’s housing aspirations and needs for the Housing TO 2020-2030 Action Plan.

30 participants from different artistic practices, generations, multicultural backgrounds, and neighbourhoods around metro Toronto attended our workshop. Roundtable sessions were designed to identify issues and generate ideas for addressing the challenges artist-led families and cultural workers face.

Participants partook in a lively discussion, sharing stories and various housing experiences, while brainstorming ideas in response to the affordable housing crisis. Artscape synthesized feedback from the consultation and came away with six key themes and recommendations. They are:

  1. Retain and strengthen the ability of artists to work and live in Toronto.

Strengthening the cultural identity of cities involves creating a housing strategy for artists and cultural workers, including increasing the availability of affordable housing located near transit and accessible resources. Artists enliven our neighbourhoods, yet are priced out of living in these same communities.

  1. Take action to tackle the lack of affordability and security in housing.

Renovictions, discrimination and precarious incomes all contribute to housing insecurity, impacting artists’ current and future paths. The current market rate determinates of affordability do not work for affordable housing for the arts.

  1. Create additional housing choices to benefit people at different career stages.

Converting existing under used or minimally used buildings is an important strategy for addressing the needs of artists and artist-led families, particularly if the cultural infrastructure is combined with social infrastructure like daycares.

  1. Plan for climate change and sustainability.

The climate crisis has a disproportionate effect on marginalized populations, such as artists who struggle with generating income, or are at high risk of inequality, injustice, or vulnerability to the impacts on their surrounding environments.

  1. Be more intentional about the working spaces of live‐work units.

Issues like proper ventilation, soundproofing, and natural lighting, as well as crowded working quarters, affect the productivity of artists within live-work units within condo buildings.

  1. Triple down on the affordable housing crisis by engaging artists and cultural workers on an on-going basis.

Ongoing consultations and strategizing with the arts and culture community bring distinct voices to creating solutions for new housing opportunities and addressing the stemming tide of affordability loss.

Thank you to the many participants who shared their stories, experiences and insights to make a more informed Housing TO 2020-2030 Action Plan. If you would like to contribute, fill out this 10-minute Housing TO 2020-2030 Action Plan – Public Questionnaire.

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