Gentrification is alive and well in Vancouver Chinatown. This article gives an update on the current situation in Chinatown, how city planners are pursuing an ethnic tourism gentrification strategy, and what we can learn from the recent tenant organizing victory at Solheim Place.

Over the last decade, the BC government has shifted to a model of “supportive” housing for low-income communities in Vancouver and across the province. There is a dissonance however between the stated intentions of support staff and the conditions that supportive housing reinforce for a large number of residents (or “clients” as they are often called).

The various iterations of the “Escaping Vancouver” narrative share a core unexamined underpinning: the idea that I, a hard-working, usually white, middle class person, did everything right, became successful, and yet am still unable to afford to live in the city of my choice. We must challenge the embedded privilege that characterizes what might be termed “middle class self-help advocacy”—the tendency to rely on individualized solutions to collective social problems.