Golden homes

Submission 2024

Three large heritage homes, surrounded by autumn leaves, framed by elm trees, and bathed in warm late-afternoon light.
Submitted by:Laura Bates
Department:Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

We live in an age when houses are financialized and ultimately unaffordable to many households. These heritage homes in Westmount, Edmonton, represent the Canadian dream of a bygone era. They are bathed in warm Fall light, which echoes their gold-like value and status, while also evoking the physical and emotional warmth of a place to call home.

This neighbourhood is evolving rapidly in response to policy changes associated with a human rights-based approach to housing, including urban densification through the construction of ‘skinny’ houses, duplexes and garden suites behind and between these older, larger homes. My research explores how the right to housing can be realized for all Canadians, especially low-income and vulnerable households for whom traditional conceptions of home and home-ownership are increasingly out of reach.

What do contemporary golden homes look like for diverse households, and what does the future hold for housing in Canada?

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How was your image created?
I am an international student and photography enthusiast relying on my iPhone XR while away from home. Last Fall I took a series of pictures to send to my Mum, who has been unable to visit me following a traumatic brain injury. In this image I sought to capture the light, temperature, atmosphere and ambience of Edmonton in September, as well as put a “face” to some of the houses and neighbourhoods I am researching. I chose this vantage point and perspective because, when reading the image from left to right, the houses descend in size – reflecting shrinking opportunities for low- and middle-income households to own or rent homes of this size, aesthetic and location. This image has not been edited for colour or lighting – such is the beauty of Fall.