South Bend, Indiana

Key insights:

The City of South Bend recognized that the community needed to have more housing, and at the same time, bring neighbourhoods back to life. There were around 400 vacant lots in one of the city’s neighbourhoods (Near Northwest Neighbourhood) alone.

In June, 2022, Mayor James Mueller announced the New Neighborhood Homes Initiative. The main goal of this initiative is to build more homes that South Benders can afford and to ensure well-designed infill housing on vacant land that will increase the marketability of those neighbourhoods. Furthermore, housing market studies also revealed a growing mismatch between the available housing stock of large single-family homes and a shift in demographic trends towards smaller households that prefer walkable neighborhoods.

This Small Housing Case study explores how the City recognized that fostering more diverse housing options could play an important role in meeting those needs and creating a high quality of life for residents.

The City of South Bend, Indiana has created a set of pre-approved plans for small to medium density building types (carriage house – sixplex apartment) to help foster infill development and to offer a vehicle for local residents to earn income.

Key insights:

  • A pre-approved plans catalog
  • Building plan and building permit applications
  • Iinfill process and property inspection checklist for prospective developers.
  • Detailed steps including obtaining a property survey, preparing a site plan, requesting design deviations, procuring technical contractors, and preparing a cost estimate for a prospective development project.
  • The pre-approved catalog provides context on the initiative, the infill process checklist, and 9 sample designs for developers.