ReHousing is a pioneering research initiative focused on converting single-family homes into multi-unit housing. Their approach emphasizes affordable, common-sense design to create high-quality, well-designed living spaces. Explore more about their work on their profile page on the Gentle Density Toolbox.

ReHousing leads numerous innovative projects, including a design catalogue featuring cost-effective, gentle density designs. This catalogue offers unique insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by various house configurations and lot sizes.

The designs in this catalogue have been categorized based on the relative cost and complexity of construction. Each design is mindful of future phasing, so you can move from one level to the next without having to redo work that you have already done. Each drawing represents one of the thirteen common house types found throughout Toronto, where ReHousing is based.

The full catalogue can be accessed here.

Key insights:

This report investigates the potential for infill development in Mississauga to accommodate the region’s population growth projections and ensure that new development does not infringe on the urban greenbelt.

The report outlines:

  • Mississauga could add approximately 174,000 new residential units (at an average unit size of over 1,000 sq.ft.) via low- and medium-density intensification.
  • Through this approach, Mississauga could accommodate 435,000 new residents.
  • This is enough housing to support Mississauga’s growth projects, and to also accommodate approximately 85% of Peel Region’s assigned growththrough to 2041.
  • This housing can be delivered without the consumption of new greenfield land, reducing the need to encroach into the Greenbelt

This report is authored by Graham Haines and Brianna Aird of Toronto Metropolitan University.

On this useful resource page courtesy of the University of Toronto, the School of Cities, and Toronto Metropolitan University, embark on a journey through the evolution of “Missing Little” housing, a concept stemming from Daniel Parolek’s “Missing Middle.”

Coined by Michael Piper, the “Missing Little” envisions inserting gentle density into existing single-family housing, addressing affordability and fostering walkable urban living.

Key insights:

  • Delve in & explore varied “Missing Little” housing categories throughout Toronto.
  • Gain insights from owners and tenants sharing experiences and challenges, illustrating how optimizing land use can potentially create 200,000 new affordable and gentle density units in Canada’s major cities by 2030.

This research paper examines Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs) from an affordability lens, addressing both affordability for renters and whether or not DADUs are affordable to build.

Cities across North America are facing unprecedented challenges related to housing affordability, climate resilience and economic sustainability. In many cities, infill housing policies are being adopted in response to these issues. This research focuses on one particular type of infill housing – Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs). DADUs, also known as laneway homes, garden suites, or carriage houses, are independent rental units typically built in the backyards of single-detached homes.

Key insights:

  • DADUs offer opportunities for downsizing, age in community, multigenerational living, additional rental income, and adaptable housing across the lifespan, often considered as a form of affordable housing.
  • A policy comparison across nine municipalities in Canada and the United States identifies DADU best practices and common characteristics among municipalities with high DADU uptake.
  • A secondary analysis of Edmonton’s DADU permitting data explores the spatial distribution of DADUs concerning affordability.
  • A survey of DADU owners and prospective builders in Edmonton uncovers barriers to development, excluding tenants from the survey.
  • Policy recommendations from the comparison include reducing regulations for flexibility in DADU size, height, and orientation. This involves eliminating parking minimums, owner occupancy requirements, location restrictions, and contextual regulations tying DADU dimensions to the primary dwelling. Such measures aim to foster a successful DADU market.

Research paper authored by Ashley Salvador, University of Waterloo (November 11, 2020).

This CMHC study investigates residential projects that have overcome barriers to infill development, including development cost, public opposition, and regulatory processes.

Key insights:

For each project detailed in the report, the following resources are provided:

  • Technical specifications
  • Successes and obstacles faced from developer, resident, and municipal planner perspectives
  • Lessons learned are shared for consideration for future projects.

Selected infill projects span a variety of regional and municipal contexts across Canada, and are reflective of different scales of development, ranging from 16 condo units to 1,600 unit apartment complex developments.

Case studies include:

  • Angus, Montréal, Quebec
  • Bishop’s Landing, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Co-opérative d’habitation du Couvent de Saint-Henri, Montréal, Quebec
  • Convoy Quay Gardens, Bedford, Nova Scotia
  • Cranberry Commons, Burnaby, British Columbia
  • Fifth Street Lofts, Edmonton, Alberta
  • Garrison Woods, Calgary, Alberta
  • Gower Gardens, Gibsons, British Columbia
  • Harmony, Toronto, Ontario
  • Koo’s Corner, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Les Lofts du Pont, Montréal, Quebec
  • Les Lofts Laliberté, Québec, Quebec
  • London Lane, Guelph, Ontario
  • Parkside Mews, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Portland Park Village, Toronto, Ontario
  • Salsbury Heights, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Seagram Lofts, Waterloo, Ontario
  • Sterling Place, London, Ontario
  • The Carlings at Arbutus Walk, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • The Prince Edward, Moncton, New Brunswick
  • The Renaissance at North Hill, Calgary, Alberta
  • Waterford Suites, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Western Elevator Lofts, Winnipeg, Manitoba

This report from the Town of Collingwood details actions that can be pursued at the municipal level to advance affordable housing from the perspective of a lower-tier municipality.

The Town of Collingwood’s Affordable Housing Task Force advises Council and take leadership action on a broad suite of housing matters, including monitoring and providing recommendations for local planning policies and regional initiatives aimed at enhancing affordable housing options, while also exploring and suggesting improvements for current grant and funding opportunities for various affordable housing development types, including new constructions, renovations, and conversions

Key insights:

  • Redeveloping existing town assets, such as apartment complexes.
  • Updating the Official Plan and zoning bylaws to embrace a variety of housing types.
  • Eliminating parking minimums for multi-unit developments and introducing financial incentives for mixed-use development.
  • Increasing and retaining the supply of affordable housing units, including permitting accessory dwelling units.
  • Allocating staff resources for ongoing oversight of new programs and initiatives.

This CHMC study investigates successful examples of regulatory, planning, and financial initiatives at the municipal level that have helped to overcome obstacles to infill development (including contaminated sites grants, accessory apartment development, and development fee exemption programs).

Each initiative highlights local stakeholders’ responses, the impact of the program on local development, program cost (including staff time allocated), and long-term program evaluation.

The study identifies common success factors between initiatives which include linking intensification to other policy goals (e.g., efficient use of public infrastructure funds), ensuring there is robust public engagement, identifying a policy champion, creating a supportive municipal policy environment, and monitoring program outcomes.

This report has been prepared by Ray Tomalty, Co-operative Research and Policy Services.