As part of its Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks Digital Strategy, 221A is pleased to welcome DOMA for a year-long Fellowship. DOMA is a nonprofit organization that is developing a distributed housing platform intended to bring renters towards ownership structures through the digital token economy, by creating a network of properties across several cities. DOMA leverages the principles of the new token economy to support a model of networked home ownership and it enables a fairer distribution of value for urban living. Through the Fellowship, DOMA will host a series of digital events and conduct social and cultural research, with a focus on the Lower Mainland’s particular housing pressures. These research strands will enable DOMA to economically model and simulate how their platform could function to provide equity to low- and middle-income residents in a city with a predominantly high-density private housing development scenario.
The platform’s users are token holders, like shareholders, they increase their stock in a housing co-op and pay monthly dues equivalent to market rate for ownership in the network rather than in a stationary inhabited unit. This allows for movement between network-owned units, providing flexibility with stability. In addition to rights of occupancy contingent on dues, users maintain voting rights, a data co-op and developer status in a peer-to-peer marketplace, through which they can provide and receive in-home services and goods, utilizing positive equity balance as credit.
By redistributing the economic gains of developing neighbourhoods in a more equitable way, both the existing and new populations of a given neighborhood can benefit. In this sense, DOMA can serve as a strategic tool for the conservation of social, ethnic, and architectural diversity within a given neighbourhood. This diversity, which often constitutes the very trigger of the renewed attention and subsequent urban changes that a neighbourhood is undergoing, could now be itself recognized and treated as an urban value.
Operating as a non-profit, DOMA continually accumulates existing housing in city centers that provide a positive correlation between the purchase price and rental rate. The network is able to accrue value by capitalizing on this relationship and through the absorption of costs such as mortgage interest, insurance, and transfer fees.
DOMA’s Fellowship concluded with the launch of an interactive housing accessibility dashboard and heatmap for the city of Vancouver. The map documents the cost of access for renters and owners from 2006 until 2022 and invites you to map your access to property as your income has changed over the years. The heatmap visualizes the rise in property costs across the city, revealing hotspots, and allowing users to see the reterritorialization of Vancouver via its property values and rent costs, which have well overshot local incomes during this +15-year period.
The dashboard draws from several data sources such as the City of Vancouver’s tax assessment data, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s owner and rental data, as well as Statistics Canada census data, and private market websites such as Zwillow and Padmapper. You can try the dashboard for yourself at https://doma.city/vancouver