“Edmonton Is Making Its Alleyways a Great Place to Live” writes Cailynn Klingbeil for Next City. “As part of a bold plan to build in rather than out, the city has been loosening regulations and streamlining permitting for garden suites. Its goal is to squeeze more living space into the urban landscape by slipping these apartments — also known as granny flats, laneway housing and accessory dwelling units — into underutilized urban spaces.”
We’ve been hearing a lot about Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) lately. ADUs are independent housing units which are on the same parcel of land as a primary dwelling. Also known as granny-flats, in-law apartments, and backyard cottages, in Edmonton, they are more often called laneway housing or garden suites. And while zoning laws still restrict the building of ADUs in many North American cities, Edmonton is embracing them.
Laneway housing encourages density without radically altering the character of neighborhoods. Infill housing in urban areas allows the use of already existing infrastructure and brings social, economic and environmental benefits. There are added advantages for homeowners and occupants including rental income, multi-generational living, downsizing without moving, helping adult children enter the housing market or aging in place. And NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard), which is often associated with the addition of new developments, is less likely.
Edmonton, which in the past has been known for its sprawl, has made a commitment to this type of densification. A new city plan, approved in late 2020, has set a target for 50% of new housing units to be infill housing. To this end the city has removed restrictive regulations and made permitting easier, including allowing larger sized dwellings, removing location restrictions, changing zoning from discretionary to permitted and eliminating parking minimums.
Only a few years ago, laneway housing was largely unknown in Edmonton. Now, there are already 400 units with an ever-increasing number of building permits being issued. Instead of parked cars and trash cans, Edmonton’s laneways have new businesses opening, a pop-up art show and even a laneway block party. Read the original article here.
Public Domain image from Piqsels