Urban Fold

Density in the Backyard

Vancouver is working to incorporate more density in traditional single-family neighborhoods by allowing additional dwellings in the backyard, adjacent to alleys.

Vancouver has found a new location for additional density in the city--backyards. Some traditional single-family neighborhoods are now allowed to construct an additional dwelling unit behind the main house, adjacent to the alley. The additional unit cannot be subdivided or sold separately from the main residence but they provide additional stock to Vancouver's rental market.

"...the revival was spawned by sky-high real estate prices, a lack of affordable housing, and an ingenious plan to create "hidden density" in the city's most desirable single-family neighborhoods. Whereas some might see these underutilized swaths of pavement as merely needing a little beautification, the city saw it as an opportunity to provide badly-needed rental units."

"The goal was to densify single-family neighborhoods without affecting their character; so the density needed to be relatively hidden, with no impact on the curb appeal of these long-established and highly-sought-after neighborhoods."

100 new homes have been permitted since the bylaw was passed in 2009, says Rao.

Thanks to Cathie Pagano

Full Story: Right up your alley: the hidden housing trend

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