Alley Living

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 17 2011 @ 10:27am

Kamala Rao explores a new housing experiment in Vancouver:

Laneway homes are basically miniature versions of single-family homes – in the range of 500 to 1,000 square feet – that are built in what has traditionally been the garage location of a single-family lot: in the backyard facing the lane. … The goal was to densify single-family neighborhoods without affecting their character; so the density needed to be relatively invisible with no impact on the curb appeal of these long-established and highly-sought after neighborhoods. They had already legalized basement rental suites—the most invisible form of increased density—but were bold and committed enough to ask themselves if they had actually done all they could do to increase housing options in the least dense parts of the city.

Gregory Kloehn, seen above, takes the laneway concept one step further. In The Gated City, Ryan Avent emphasizes the economic benefits of cities that can house more people. Josh Rothman summarizes:

As more and more talented people are driven out of our ever-more-expensive cities, Avent notes, the cities themselves lose out on the potential to become more innovative and vibrant — and it's all because of a "not in my backyard," or NIMBY, attitude which prizes pristine streets and quaint urban 'character' over economic growth. … Cities are work zones, not theme parks, and it's good for them to be crowded, bustling, and overrun by newcomers. It's time to start letting our big cities grow again, Avent argues, because when they grow, America will grow, too.