Affordable housing and a strong transit system are key for Vancouver leading into 2050, Mayor Gregor Robertson told a crowd of real estate professionals on Tuesday.

"We could let Vancouver become an exclusive resort city, affordable for those with wealth; where everyone who works in our stories, polices our streets or teaches our kids lives an hour or two away and clears out after 5 p.m.," he said at a speech to the Urban Land Institute.

"Or we can work together for something better, knowing that a mixed-income city is a stronger city."

He added: "We have to build the gap between the glass towers and the Vancouver specials."

Robertson focused much of his talk on transit, telling the audience that building rapid transit along Vancouver's Broadway Corridor is a key priority.

He warned the provincial government that it needs to provide Metro Vancouver mayors with a new public transit funding model in the next legislative session or else it will become an issue in the spring provincial election.

The funding model could involve road tolling or putting carbon tax revenues into public transit, he said later to reporters.

Robertson also said the city needs to restore the "balance of affordability" when it comes to housing.

"It's not just a social issue, this is fundamentally an economic issue for Vancouver," he said.

A better city involves new forms of affordable ownership mixed in with other types of housing such as townhouses, row houses and apartments, he said.

He touted the city's Rental 100 program, which encourages residential rental development, adding it has boosted the number of new rental homes from 150 units a year to 500.

He said every neighbourhood needs to play its part when it comes to social housing, pointing out that such complexes have been established Dunbar and 16th, one of Vancouver's more affluent areas, and at Union and Main.

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  • VIkram Vij, Chef, Vancouver

    <strong>"... open the borders."</strong> "Let everybody come in and enjoy being multicultural."

  • Mayor Mike Bernier, Dawson Creek

    <strong>"... bring trust back to politicians."</strong> " I would personally love to see from the political side of things, municipal or provincial, that we reach out and try to do a better job of engaging the public and bringing them along for all the decisions being made."

  • Ta'Kaiya Blaney, Singer/Activist, North Vancouver

    <strong>"... I <em>will </em>protect the wilderness and coast of B.C. from development."</strong> "In my culture it's part of my past and understanding that everything is connected so once you take away the cedar trees and clear-cut the forest, how are we supposed to make cedar baskets? It's important to me, to First Nations in B.C. to keep our culture alive and pass down what has been passed down to us."

  • Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang

    <strong>"... build more affordable housing."</strong> "For me it's about making sure we have a range of housing available in the cities and the regions to allow people to live and work where they choose, not because they have to. And that just helps our economy because if you can work closer, that's great!"

  • Antonia Freybe-Smith, Jets Overhead singer, Victoria

    <strong>"... relax the rule about campfires on beaches a little bit." </strong> "I think we could all use a few more beachfire sing-a-longs in our lives!"

  • Ian Hanomansing, CBC Journalist, Vancouver

    <strong>"... do whatever is necessary to make sure next time the Canucks are in the Stanley Cup final, the series doesn't go seven games."</strong>

  • Kaeli Robinsong, TacoFino co-owner, Tofino

    <strong>"... (have) no pipelines."</strong> "I would like to see a ban of any future prospect of an oil pipeline coming through B.C. from Alberta to the coast."

  • Nardwuar The Human Serviette, Celebrity interviewer/Musician, Vancouver

    <strong>"... share my favourite radio station with everyone."</strong> "I would make my favourite radio station in the world, UBC's <a href="http://www.citr.ca" target="_hplink">CiTR 101.9</a> mandatory listening for all British Columbians! Doot doola doot doo ... doot doo!"

  • Rabbi Shmulik Yeshayahu, Community Kollel, Vancouver

    <strong>"... focus on educating the next generation with an emphasis on moral and ethical values and by inspiring them to live a life of meaning and purpose."</strong> <a href="http://thekollel.com/" target="_hplink">Ohel Ya'Akov Community Kollel</a>

  • Richard Hunt, CEO of Penticton Whole Foods Market, Penticton

    <strong>"... how much better can it get?" </strong> "I sincerely believe that Canada is the best country in the world to live in and B.C. is the best province in the country. I can't point to a single thing that would make the whole province a whole lot better." <a href="http://wfm.ca/" target="_hplink">Penticton Whole Foods Market</a>