The Foreign Investment Myth: Understanding the Housing Crisis &
Confronting Racism in Vancouver
7PM, Monday, June 10th, 2013 | SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver – Unceded
Coast Salish Territory
There has been a growing consensus that the lack of affordability in our
city is caused by foreign investment from Asia. Since the 1980s, this
narrative has relied on Vancouver’s historic penchant for racial
scapegoating while downplaying the actual causes of the current housing
crisis. In lieu of basic questions about land-use and housing policy,
affordability has been reframed around vague racist imperatives. As a
result, the reality of the housing crisis has been obscured.
By relying on specific stereotypes, racism in Vancouver erases the diverse
experiences and histories of migrant communities of the city. The task at
hand is to give voice to these experiences while highlighting the basic
tenets of Vancouver’s current situation: regressive taxation and
neoliberal tax breaks, long-standing land monopolies, housing
de-regulation, entrenched colonial legal structures, and the systemic
elimination of non-market housing since the 1990s.
HENRY YU | Henry is a professor of History at the University of British
Columbia. His work explores issues of transnational migration, racism, and
the history of relations between migrant and First Nations communities.
Henry will be speaking on both the past and present of racism in
JACKIE WONG | Jackie is a writer based in Vancouver. She is working this
year to report on affordable housing issues for the Tyee Solutions
Society, a non-profit media hub aimed at producing public-interest,
solutions-oriented journalism. Her recent four-part series on Chinatown
residents was supported by the Tyee Solutions Society and published in The
Tyee and Megaphone magazine. Parts of the series are also slated for
upcoming publication in the Argus Magazine in Melbourne, Australia, and
translated in Sing Tao Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper in Vancouver.
She will talk about the experience of Chinese-speaking residents in
Chinatown, touching on dominant media representations of migrant
communities in Vancouver.
PABLO MENDEZ | Pablo is a researcher at the Department of Geography,
University of British Columbia. His short talk will be entitled “Who rents
in Vancouver?” – a demographic and socio-economic profile of renters in