Have you ever noticed that some neighbourhoods are made up of only one kind of house that would appeal to a very specific buyer? Have you ever been frustrated that there’s nowhere to shop in your neighbourhood within walking distance?
It’s a common problem in Canada, and one that we call “the missing middle.”
If single-detached family homes are at one end of a scale and mid/high-rises are on the other, then the housing forms in between are “the middle.” These are medium-density, low-rise, mixed-income communities with ready access to public transit — the kind of communities we need more of.
This graphic illustrates the types of homes we’re talking about:
This type of housing is sought after by Canadians who want to live in more vibrant and walkable communities full of neighbours from different walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds. Missing middle communities provide ready access to public transportation, and supply a variety of housing forms that people can afford in areas they want to live. These are vibrant communities to live in as young individuals, as families, and as seniors.
Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that limit the supply of this kind of housing:
- Municipal zoning
- Available serviced-land supplies
- Development approvals systems
- NYMBYism (“Not In My Backyard” thinking – where people who already own don’t want infill or communities like this nearby)
As Canadians we all need to support getting more of the “missing middle,” and governments have a key role in helping Canada get there. In doing so, we will get more of the types of homes and communities that Canadians want to be built, or updated, and – as a result – improve affordability.