by Wendell Cox
Frontier Centre for Public Policy
April 23, 2014
Over the past two centuries, the world has become more urban, as people have moved to the cities to better their lives. Cities exist because, as large labour markets, they facilitate a higher standard of living for residents and reduce poverty. Achieving these social goods requires that governments pursue policies that lead to higher household discretionary income. Governments must also proactively avoid policies that reduce discretionary income. Regrettably, urban containment policy increases house prices relative to income, thereby reducing discretionary income and the standard of living while increasing poverty. Yet, the dominant strain of urban planning, urban containment policy, leads to a lower standard of living and greater poverty by increasing housing costs relative to income. There is a need to focus on the fundamental priority of improving the standard of living and reducing poverty. This report examines urban planning policy and its impact on housing affordability in the Calgary area.