New Hildebrand Fellow, Molly Harris, Studies Inequality and Commodification of Rental Housing in Vancouver

Molly Harris

Canadian Studies is pleased to introduce Molly Harris as the latest recipient of an Edward Hildebrand Graduate Research Fellowship. Molly is a Master of City Planning student, concentrating in Housing, Community, and Economic Development. 

Molly’s research explores the role of financialized actors in the Metro Vancouver region's multifamily rental housing sector. She assesses the scale and perceptions of financialization, or the growing ubiquity of financial logic in everyday life, in the development and operation of rental buildings, as well as the impacts of this process on residents. Molly’s work evaluates how financialized actors—such as private equity firms, asset managers, and real estate investment trusts—can transform rental housing from a home into an investment commodity, potentially creating new systems of extractive accumulation and consolidation. Her Hildebrand Fellowship will provide funding for data and interviews with real estate industry professionals, local policy makers, and tenant organizations.

Molly’s research builds on her interest in increasing access to housing through decommodification. Her current project expands on prior work investigating the disparate impacts of housing quality issues on subsidized and unsubsidized residents across the United States, mapping neighborhood change in Vancouver and Toronto, and evaluating post-wildfire disaster rebuild strategies and land use scenarios. Before coming to Berkeley, Molly worked as a consultant at HR&A Advisors, supporting clients on strategic planning, open space, economic development, and real estate advisory projects. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Geography from McGill University.