Millennials and the Housing Market: Homeownership - A Historical Perspective

Free and open to the public

Dates: February 6, 2023

Time: 6:00 p.m. -7:30 p.m.

Venue: Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper Street


This session explores the why, where, and how of homeownership in Canada, including historical trends, policies, programs, and financial instruments that have encouraged it over the past century. It will also debate if and why homeownership should be considered in the context of a larger discussion of affordability and access to housing. This session is intended to set the context for the series as a whole and to explore the advantages, incentives, barriers, and disadvantages to ownership in the context of other tenure options.




Benjamin Gianni, Associate Professor, Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism
Stephen Willis, Discipline Lead, Urban Planning & Community Development, Stantec
Ioana Teodorescu, Scholar in Post-War Canadian Housing
Carla Staresina, Vice-President Risk Management, Strategy & Products, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)


Canada’s current housing crisis affects a broad spectrum of the population and engages supply, affordability, tenure, and tenancy. To better explore the issues at play, this series focuses on millennials as a specific demographic group, and on a particular segment of the housing market, namely housing for purchase.


The goal of this series is to explore (and question) the status quo by fostering a dialogue between millennials (those born between the early 1980s and the late ‘90s) and an array of housing experts, including urban historians, developers, real estate professionals, builders, policy makers, financing specialists, environmental experts, and socio-cultural activists.


This dialogue is intended to explore opportunities to broaden the repository of existing housing and homeownership options by identifying limitations and determining what interventions may be necessary and/or feasible given the systems under which the housing market operates in Canada.


The series is jointly sponsored by:

•  Carleton University, Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism

•  Algonquin College, Department of Interior Design

•  The Urban Land Institute, Ottawa Chapter

•  The Canadian Centre for Mindful Habitats

with generous support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council


All lectures are free and open to the public and will be held at the Carleton Dominion Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper St, Ottawa.

Session 2 – Aspiration vs. Reality: Homeownership from a Planning and Design Perspective

Monday, February 13, 6:00 p.m.


To better understand how and why the Canadian marketplace functions as it does, this session explores potential disconnects between what it produces and the kinds of housing that aspiring homeowners might want. Focusing on design, the session will also compare and contrast what is available here in Canada with innovative and design-forward housing solutions elsewhere.

Session 3 – Ownership from an Affordability and Financing Perspective

Thursday, March 9, 6:00 p.m.


This session looks behind the scenes to understand the impact of tenure, title, and financing options on what can be built and/or owned, including the effect on tenure and affordability. It explores various ways in which ownership can be structured (land lease, rent-to-own, second mortgages, etc. and questions what might need to change to support additional and unexplored options in Canada.

Session 4 – Ownership, Housing, and Community Design: A Sustainability Perspective

Thursday, March 16, 6:00 p.m.


This session explores homeownership and community structure from a sustainability perspective, considering the inter-relationship between economic, environmental, and social factors. It offers a critical look into what might be termed a ‘happy city,’ including the interdependencies, opportunities, and challenges of a design that fosters stability and accommodates change.