From an e-mail exchange with Maggie Keith (reproduced with permission):
Entered law school in 1973. Lost most of my friends, who were still fogged from the 1960s. No one congratulated me on my admission. No ambition. Always tenants. Many of whom pushed for non-profit housing when they realized they were economically helpless, felt they had a divine right to live in prime downtown locations, and did not want to earn that right. They could have purchased collectively, but were too untogether. Most ended up with wealth positions premised on the death of parents, who had earned the rights.
Actually, most non-profit housing is not in great locations. It tends to be built beside railroad tracks, over former swamps or close to big blocks of government housing ghettos. Over time, however, some of these neighbourhoods have come up in the world: Cabbagetown in 2013 is very different from Cabbagetown in 1973. As with residential schools, the financing for developing community-based housing left little or no wiggle room, so cheaper land was important in making the numbers work.
On occasion, a clever developer would get a good deal and manage to include a “luxury” element, such as so-called parquet flooring, on new construction. Sometimes it was allowed, but sometimes it would be forbidden, because, even though the budget came within the maximum unit price, it was considered too nice for who would live there.
Other often-forbidden elements were balcony dividers higher than five feet, because the poor aren’t entitled to privacy, or large windows, because it makes the apartment look too good.