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Marianne McKenna joins The Globe and Mail for a discussion on housing and infrastructure

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July 9, 2024

“Architecture changes outcomes… We want to provide the right kind of housing, in the right places, for Canada, in our time.” 

Founding partner Marianne McKenna recently joined experts and practitioners in housing, infrastructure, immigration, and sustainability, including Senator Hassan Yussuff, Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of Canada, and Suzanne Le, executive director of Multifaith Housing Initiative, at The Globe and Mail’s Building for Growth event to discuss approaches to Canada’s housing crisis. 

“In a crisis, there is no single solution,” McKenna said during her keynote presentation. We need a holistic approach that centers affordability, sustainability, and design excellence. Her presentation, which focused on city-building, emphasized the need for creating not just homes but neighbourhoods — complete communities that prioritize livability and serve the diverse needs of the people who make up our cities, including our most vulnerable populations. 

McKenna also spoke about maintaining and expanding public infrastructure; advocating for policy and zoning changes to incentivize sustainable and affordable housing; initiating partnerships between governments, architects, developers, and others to collaborate on housing projects; creative building solutions such as modular prefabricated housing models and adaptive reuse; sustainable building practices in support of climate change mitigation; and incorporating public amenities like parks, pools, and daycares to encourage communities to support new development. 

Following her presentation, she sat down with Alex Bozikovic, architecture critic with The Globe and Mail, for a Q&A session and a deeper dive into the intersection of the housing crisis and climate action, the importance of public realm projects, and how community engagement fosters inclusive decision-making in urban planning. 

McKenna’s diverse portfolio of award-winning work spans typologies and scales and addresses timely issues, from the climate crisis to affordable housing. Presently, she is working on the Kindred Works portfolio, a bold new approach to rental housing in Canada. In collaboration with a coalition of values-aligned partners, Kindred Works aims to provide Canadians with beautiful, sustainable, and attainable rental housing for generations to come. 

Watch her presentation here.