Educational Resources

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.

As Vancouver grows and evolves, we need to ensure that there are housing options that meet the needs of the diverse households that live and work here, including more “missing middle” housing options. With the help of Quickviz, the City of Vancouver developed this useful video that illustrates the changes proposed to allow more of this type housing in low density neighbourhoods across the city as part of the implementation of the Vancouver Plan. The animation depicts a standard block with a variety of housing options, including multiplexes (buildings with up to 6 units on a single lot).


As Vancouver grows and evolves, we need to ensure that there are housing options that meet the needs of the diverse households that live and work here, including more “missing middle” housing. With the help of Uytae Lee from About Here, the City of Vancouver explains what the “missing middle” is, and why they are exploring changes to allow more of this type of housing, including multiplexes (buildings with up to 6 units on a single lot), in low density neighbourhoods across the city as part of the implementation of the Vancouver Plan.

Key insights:

The United States foreign-born population has quadrupled since the 1960s. In 2021, one in seven US households were headed by a foreign-born resident. Around half of these foreign-born residents have naturalized as citizens. Foreign-born residents comprise a growing share of the United States housing market: research projects that foreign-born households will become the primary source of new housing demand by 2040.

This literature review synthesizes previous research on the key barriers to and strengths of immigrants in becoming homeowners.

This report was authored by Sharon Cornelissen and Livesey Pack.

Key insights:

Manufactured housing holds promise as an affordable form of housing that could expand homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income households.

This report, from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, reviews the available literature to assess the principal barriers to greater adoption of manufactured housing, including:

  • lingering negative perceptions of the quality of the homes despite notable improvements in quality over time;
  • zoning and other land use regulations that limit the ability to site these homes in many communities;
  • market conditions that erode the cost advantage of manufactured homes; the unique nature of the supply chain for these homes that makes it difficult for consumers to obtain homes in many urban areas;
  • and limits on access to affordable financing.

This report was authored by Christoper Herbert, Alexander Hermann, Daniel McCue & Chadwick Reed.

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.
The famous “Painted Ladies of San Francisco", otherwise known as “Postcard Row" or the “Seven Sisters", are a row of colorful Victorian houses located at 710–720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square.

Navigate the complex landscape of America’s housing crisis with insights from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ housing policy initiative.

As housing costs soar and millions struggle, Pew sheds light on how regulations and statutes contribute to the shortage and rising prices.

Key insights:

  • Discover how Pew’s research guides policymakers in reimagining housing approaches, creating pathways for more Americans to access affordable and secure housing solutions.
  • Pew analyses outdated financial regulations, focusing on expanding access to small mortgages and ensuring safer non-mortgage financing.
  • From videos, to fact sheets, to policy briefings, this is an excellent resource hub for anyone interested in learning more about policies to address the generational housing crisis we face.

Key Info

Belton sample home design on 60' front access lot.

Specifications

  • Number of Units 6
  • Size of Units < 1200 sqft
  • Number of Structures 1
  • Bedrooms Per Unit 2, 3

Size of Project

  • Width of Build < 45’
  • Number of Storeys 2.5 Storeys
  • Total Build Area < 6500 sqft

Lot Attributes

  • Lot Type Corner
  • Vehicle Access Front, Rear

These designs are for illustrative purposes only, and not intended for construction.

This cleverly designed structure appears deceptively scaled, accommodating 6 units within a comfortable and familiar form. Ideal for promoting sustainable living, the design includes a generous bike room to support car-free lifestyles for entire families.

Its adaptability makes it perfect for sites sloping upwards towards the back or to the right, as the bike room can be partially or completely underground. Four of the units are family-sized, featuring 3 bedrooms each and enjoying ample natural light from windows on three sides. Additionally, the four upper units offer large decks for outdoor enjoyment and relaxation.

The below-ground units are thoughtfully designed for accessibility and aging in place, ensuring comfort and convenience for residents of all ages. In total, the structure accommodates 16 bedrooms, catering to various household sizes and needs. The proposed floor space ratio (FSR) is 1.04 on a 60×120’ lot, demonstrating efficient land usage while prioritizing livability and functionality.

Drawing and Images

Cost Estimate

Check the cost estimate

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This Small Housing Guidance Paper examines the viability of redeveloping houses in single family neighbourhoods with more homes on the same property, presenting recommendations that will assist various actors involved in setting financial and cost recovery policies as it relates to new gentle density development.

Key policy considerations explored include:

Enabling Tenure Options (Rental & Ownership)

Allowing individual ownership, or strata-titling, for each home on a lot will encourage more new units to
be constructed versus requiring that a property have a single owner (i.e. the owner rents out the additional units, or all residents share a single mortgage).

Leveling the cost playing field and reducing risk

Constructing multi-unit buildings is more complex and costly than single family homes; by offering standardized designs and simplifying approval processes it is possible to reduce the uncertainty and costs involved.

Building in affordability

Given the small number of units involved in these projects, it is administratively simpler and more financially viable to take any affordability requirements or financial contribution (if required) and combine them for affordable housing on a larger site.

For the comprehensive suite of Small Housing Guidance Papers, check them out in the Toolbox Resource Library. Simply search for “Guidance Paper”.