Whenever I tell anyone we are going to build a laneway home, the reaction is overwhelmingly positive. It seems that everyone can see the advantage to living smaller, to living closer to family (“but not too close!”) and to the increased density in neighbourhoods.
This story in the Globe and Mail outlines why laneway homes are becoming so popular in our city, and not just with the home-owners and the builders.
Vancouver architects are supporting the idea, too.
Typical is this comment from architect Shelley Craig
“Anything that increases density and allows for more equitable distribution of units on a lot,” she says, “will be welcome.”
The new laws will create more interesting, socially and environmentally sustainable neighbourhoods, she contends, and will “instantly double or triple the number of families and/or dwelling units in large swathes of single-family zoned neighbourhoods in the city.”
They will keep neighbourhoods “young and affordable,” she maintains, with increased floor area allowing for larger units and “different family situations to be accommodated.”
And in East Vancouver,
Tej Singh of Simplex Home Design sees it as a more sustainable solution to intergenerational living.
The architectural technologist whose company builds single-family homes in Vancouver and India, as well as some laneway housing here, notes that traditionally South Asian families prefer larger footprint, multistorey dwellings where different generations can live together.
But since the new proposal was announced, he says, several clients with pre-existing plans for single-family homes called to switch from parking garages to laneway homes.
In addition to being a smaller footprint and creating a more pleasing streetscape, laneway housing, he notes, offers privacy. “Families can live together – just not necessarily under one roof.”
I mentioned before that our plans have been greeted with enthusiasm by the reviewers at City Hall, who welcome the fresh ideas. Shelley Craig has a good idea to encourage more innovative design
“The city should consider staging a design competition for the most innovative green design of a laneway home,” she muses.