An increasing number of communities around the United States are exploring accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as a potential solution to housing affordability. Learn more about this housing type.Read more
In terms of affordability, we tend to think of a dichotomy between single-family detached homes and apartments and townhouses, and people quickly become concerned about increasing density affecting neighborhood character. One way many communities in the United States are increasing density while maintaining a streetscape that is compatible with single-family housing types is to incorporate the concept of “missing middle” housing types.
Missing middle housing can assist in both increasing the number of units built and providing units for a wide variety of price points. This involves allowing a broader diversity of housing types than most ordinances allow today, but that used to be built in many communities historically. Opticos Founder Dan Parolek coined the phrase “missing middle” housing to describe a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types. (See http://opticosdesign.com/ and http://missingmiddlehousing.com/ for more information).
Because land costs and home size often limit affordability, a classic solution is to aim for greater density and/or smaller lots and/or smaller homes. Examples include:
- Single-family cottages
- Bungalow courts
- Carriage houses
These and other missing middle housing types provide more units on less land that traditional single-family homes.
Illustrating “Missing Middle” Housing Types
Form-based codes prescribe a desired form, placement, size and bulk of buildings as they relate to each other within a block or neighborhood. They may be a substitute for all or part of the zoning ordinance of a city or town.Read more
Traditional zoning has often been cited as a barrier to affordability. A fresh round of research continues to point to strict zoning ordinances as impeding supply and affordability in the United States.Read more