July 15, 2016 Dawn Riley

“Missing Middle” Housing is the Topic for July’s CNU T3 Event

An example of a cottage court in Berkeley, CA.

An example of a cottage court in Berkeley, CA.

The topic for this month’s CNU T3 event, happening Thursday, July 21, at 5:30pm in the KWA office, is “Tiny Houses & The Missing Middle: What’s the Big Deal?” With a host of other excellent speakers, our own Eric Kronberg will take an in-depth look at what Daniel Parolek calls America’s “missing middle” housing, the benefits of implementing this type of housing in urban areas like Atlanta, and the specific challenges to doing so in local neighborhoods. For now, take a look at the brief overview below, and get stoked for next week.

Daniel Parolek coined the term “missing middle” housing only about four years ago, and he defines it, in an article on nextcity.org, as “a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types compatible in scale with single-family homes that help meet the growing demand for walkable urban living.” Inherent in his definition and often stated by Parolek is the reality that the options most commonly presented to renters and homebuyers are either large, often impersonal, mid-rise and high-rise multi-family buildings or single-family homes. This housing binary fails to meet the needs of many demographics: young families, who cannot afford single-family homes, but cannot fit into studio and one-bedroom apartments; aging adults and empty-nesters, looking to down-size, but not comfortable in an impersonal high-rise apartment building; and, finally, lower- and middle-income Americans struggling to pay rising rents in gentrifying urban neighborhoods.

The housing types that Parolek recommends as solutions to the demands most cities are currently facing are actually ones widely built before the post-World War II housing boom and the FHA’s incentivization of the single-family housing typology. Some types of housing included in the “missing middle” are: duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts, mansion apartments, granny-flats, garage apartments and live-work units. Most of these housing types can be found in older urban neighborhoods, and fit nicely amongst single-family homes. Sadly, however, current zoning laws and development practices in most cities keep these highly-marketable and practical housing solutions out-of-reach and off the market.

Join us next Thursday, July 21, to learn more about the benefits of implementing “Missing Middle” housing and how Atlanta can build more vibrant, diverse and sustainable neighborhoods.

Sources:

Kolson Hurley, Amanda. “Will U.S. Cities Design Their Way Out of the Affordable Housing Crisis?” Web Next City. , 18 Jan. 2016. Web. 13 Jul. 2016.  https://nextcity.org/features/view/cities-affordable-housing-design-solution-missing-middle.

Parolek, Dan. “The Missing Middle Response to Urban Housing Demand.” Public Square: A CNU Journal.  23 Jun. 2016, Web. 13 Jul. 2016 https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/missing-middle-response-urban-housing-demand

Some of a wide variety of "Missing Middle" housing typologies

Some of a wide variety of “Missing Middle” housing typologies.

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