Laneway Housing Getting Lots of Attention

Brent Toderian's picture
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Since Vancouver Council unanimously supported the preparation of bylaws to introduce laneway housing across the City in single family zones, the housing idea has been getting consistent media attention. Although we're in the process of using modeling and dialogue to answer the last few questions - what the parking standard should be, and the exact dimensions of the 1 1/2 story model - the most common question I get is "when can we apply for one?" 

For those other cities thinking about this idea, here is our fact sheet regarding our on-going work and a smattering of articles on the local interest.   

City votes to allow rezoning for laneway rental homes – Vancouver Sun

Back alley homes could ease pressure off tight rental market - Megaphone  

Garages turned into mini-houses have potential to transform entire neighbourhoods – The Province

Builders bring backyard living to spring show – Vancouver Sun  

As one promoter noted, with the downturn affecting the viability of "business-as-usual" projects and the critical need for rental housing, it's a housing idea that seems to match the times well. For that reason, a laneway housing model is the centre-piece of this years' huge Vancouver Home Show. The built model, by local company Smallworks Studios, shares many attributes with the direction our city regulatory model is going in, although ours is a little less intrusive on the backyard, as we decided that the laneway house must stay within the footprint of the initial garage (to preserve urban gardening opportunities, livability, and natural systems/infiltration). By comparison, the Smallworks built model, I hear, would penetrate the yard space a bit - something that would have to change if Council ultimately approves the bylaws as expected. 

Despite this, it'll be a great chance for the public to see something close to what may soon be allowed across the city. Council will consider the final bylaws later this year.

Brent Toderian is an international consultant on advanced urbanism with TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, Vancouver’s former Director of City Planning, and the President of the Council for Canadian Urbanism. Follow him on Twitter @BrentToderian

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