We tend to look at problems as being discrete, single-issue things, with a cause or set of causes that, once identifi ed and analyzed, can be solved with a discrete focused solution. But what makes a “complex society” complex is the extent to which everything is connected to — and often jostling, elbowing and kicking — everything else. All too often then, in digging down to the cause of a problem, we fi nd ourselves looking at the solution to an earlier problem.

This is at least partly the case with our “affordable housing” problem — a problem of availability as well as affordability that doesn’t just apply to ski bums and resort workers, but cuts deeply into the bone and substance of a strong community, making life hard and occasionally impossible for teachers, cops, public servants, health professionals and college faculty, especially those with families who can’t just rent a room in a shared house. How have we come to this?

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