A growth management strategy that relies on extensive urban infill requires major changes from past industry and regulatory practice. For the strategy to succeed, builders and local governments must change the way they operate and work more closely together to further each others’ goals.

Key insights:

This report from the Housing Partnership discusses ten essentials for advancing gentle density infill development, including:

  • Building political will
  • Making infill attractive and profitable to developers
  • Planning development based on market demand
  • Ensuring new housing preserves existing neighbourhood character
  • Promoting livable designs
  • Providing a supportive regulatory process.

For each essential, a section is provided to discuss the topic’s importance, highlight the changes that must be made, and denote the roles that developers, local organizations, municipalities, and provincial governments must uptake to successfully deliver each initiative.

An emphasis is placed on municipalities working closely with developers to ensure that regulatory environments work to support development and vice versa.

This publication was prepared by The Housing Partnership, through a contribution from
the Washington Association of Realtors

In July 2023, the Casita Coalition convened a dialogue featuring prominent figures in the field of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) from various regions, including Portland, OR, Vancouver BC, California, Seattle WA, and Montana.

These leaders, pioneers, and innovators shared their insights on the strategies they employed to successfully implement significant ADU and middle housing reforms. In addition, perspectives from advocates in Texas and New York about their ongoing initiatives were shared. Small Housing was represented by Co-Founder Jake Fry, who presented

Key insights:

What are some of the key steps Government can take to support the delivery of ADUs?

  • Build a broad coalition across political and other divides.
  • Talk to other ADU/middle housing reform advocates from cities/states that have been successful to speed learning and avoid pitfalls.
  • Tailor the messaging based on local values–and always center the human stories.
  • Raise awareness and gather supporters by offering tours and showing photos of appealing ADUs, ‘plexes, cottage courts and the happy people who live in them.
  • Passing statewide laws is essential, but prepare for the next barriers after zoning restrictions are removed.