Invisible Density

The Canadians call it "laneway housing", and in the U.S. they're often dubbed "granny units". These smaller homes in underused garage or alley locations are creating new ways to add density to areas without changing community character.

Kamala Rao explains that in Vancouver, one of the main differences between this housing type and other densification techniques is that they "can't be sub-divided or sold separately from the main house on the lot. They can only be used for additional family space or rental income."

Rao explains why this is a smart strategy for cities and towns attempting to add housing without stirring up NIMBY resistance:

"Think about it: what other city has successfully added density to long-established, single-family neighbourhoods filled with $1 million-plus homes? The very thought of it conjures up images of staunch NIMBYism. The City of Vancouver's deft branding and effective outreach smoothed the roll-out of its laneway housing bylaw, keeping NIMBY opposition to a minimum."

Full Story: Home, Home on the Lane

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