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Hidden Density: The Benefit of Laneway Houses

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Hidden Density: The Benefit of Laneway Houses

Laneway houses create thoughtful, hidden density

Last week, over 300 guests visited our little laneway house from across British Columbia. The Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Laneway House Tour had a simple, yet timely theme: “Densification without Demolition.” It got us thinking that our laneway house—and others all around Vancouver—is part of a larger effort to help address issues like housing supply, affordability, and density. Specifically, laneway houses help to promote “hidden density” because they can blend into existing neighbourhoods and don’t need to be built on new land.

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Laneway houses alone will not solve all of Vancouver’s housing issues. But they are a part of the city’s efforts to promote thoughtful density.Increasing the supply of anything will help to reduce its cost and housing is no different; cities use this tactic to tackle high housing prices. Like mixed-use spaces and secondary suites, laneway houses are part of the City of Vancouver’s efforts to increase housing supply along with density.

In March 2013, New Zealand-based Isthmus Research completed a study for the City of Auckland. It looked into the successes of Vancouver’s EcoDensity initiative and included a few quick points about laneway houses. Three types of density are highlighted in the EcoDensity Charter: Invisible Density, Hidden Density and Gentle Density.

Laneway houses promote hidden density because they are built on existing land and can blend into the surrounding neighbourhood, thereby preserving its character. It may surprise you to know that laneway houses (known as infill developments) are a LEED green building strategy!

For Vancouver residents, laneway houses are a unique solution to issues like housing availability and affordability. These small homes are also helping to promote the concept of hidden density—preserving neighbourhood character while using no new land for building.

The theme of “Densification without Demolition” perfectly describes what laneway houses symbolize in Vancouver: a push to create thoughtful living solutions that pay attention to the concerns of people and planet.

We are confident that laneway houses are a positive thing for Vancouver. The laneway tour connected us with many other like-minded individuals. Thanks to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and everyone who came out to see us last weekend. We're incredibly excited to finish our very first laneway project and we're looking forward to even more!

Thanks for tuning in for our laneway series. We hope you enjoyed it!

Check back in the coming weeks for more great content!

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Vancouver's Best Laneways | Montecristo Magazine