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What a Different Approach to ADUs Could Mean for Chicago

Architect Larry Kearns argues that re-legalizing accessory dwelling units in Chicago could do a lot to promote affordable housing and economic diversity.
March 13, 2019, 7am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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In Chicago, it's currently illegal to build new accessory dwelling units (ADUs or coach houses). Architect Larry Kearns argues that changing this would have several positive effects, including: allowing for the kind of diverse developments that allow people of different income levels to live in the same neighborhoods, and to allow for aging in place for families that want to live near each other, but maintain their own spaces.

"Larry and the architecture firm that bears his name had submitted that document as a tiny house proposal for a “request for ideas” from Mayor Emanuel’s office," Steven Vance writes for Chicago Cityscape. While the mayor's office did not act on that plan, Kearns has not given up on the idea.

In his report on coach houses, Kearns writes, "Resilient neighborhoods, by definition, aren’t dominated by uniformly sized dwellings because residents need choices to upsize and downsize throughout their life." Kearns makes the argument that ADUs could be one good way to create that resiliency and create more types of housing to accommodate a greater variety of needs.

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Published on Thursday, March 7, 2019 in Chicago Cityscape
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