City endorses Making Room program to increase housing choices in Vancouver

June 21 2018

“Secondary suites, laneway houses and character infill opportunities already exist as housing options in single-family neighbourhoods, and the duplex option would offer another ‘menu’ choice for property owners.”

Laneway house

Yesterday, Council endorsed the launch of a new program called Making Room, which will transform low density neighbourhoods by adding housing choice to neighbourhoods across the city. This is one of the ways the City is focusing on shifting towards the types of homes that meet the needs of people who live and work in Vancouver.

Making Room will focus on adding a greater variety of housing types in single family neighbourhoods, ranging from laneway houses and infill to townhouses, rowhouses to low-rise apartment buildings.

10,000 units of “missing middle” housing

This directly supports the Housing Vancouver strategy, which targets the delivery of 10,000 units of “missing middle” housing over the next 10 years, specifically 1,000 coach houses, 5,000 townhouses and 4,000 laneway houses.

“Council approved several quick start actions, including adding duplex as a new housing option in single family areas across the city,” says Paula Huber, Senior Planner. “Secondary suites, laneway houses and character infill opportunities already exist as housing options in single-family neighbourhoods, and the duplex option would offer another ‘menu’ choice for property owners.” A report on details for referral to a public hearing will be presented to Council on July 24. 

Council also approved additional direction to ensure that staff bring back specific options on triplexes, quadplexes and multi-unit buildings in RS and RT neighbourhoods, and to provide incentives for rental, co-ops, land trusts and co-housing in low-density neighbourhoods.

Our focus over the next year

Over the next year, the Making Room program will take a city-wide approach to identify opportunities for future change in neighbourhoods. The work will include:

  • Mapping the current situation in neighbourhoods, such as what areas have good proximity to transit, shopping, schools, parks and amenities
  • Evaluating where the greatest opportunities exist for increasing housing diversity with the least impacts
  • Developing principles and selection criteria to identify locations for new housing options
  • Continuing to explore and test new housing types and ways to improve affordability
  • Engaging residents on what they want to make room for in their neighbourhoods

As another way to enable more housing options in neighbourhoods across Vancouver, Council also referred updates to the Laneway Housing Program to a Public Hearing on July 18. The proposed laneway changes would make it simpler and easier to build a laneway home and make laneway homes more livable.

Learn more about the City of Vancouver’s work to increase housing choices.