Accessory dwelling units (ADU) are small homes that can be built in the backyards of larger homes, in cities where they’ve been approved. They’re also sometimes known as carriage, coach, or laneway houses.
These small homes are typically around 700-1000 square feet in size, although the size sometimes has to be calculated as a percentage of the size of the yard.
Adding new homes in potentially underused backyard spaces is a sustainable way to provide more housing options in walkable urban neighbourhoods where people don’t need to use cars to get around for every errand. ADUs can also help reduce urban sprawl by reducing the need for cities to grow outwards, which increases commuting distances and therefore increases transportation pollution.
In Vancouver, laneway houses have been legal for a few years and the city is issuing building permits for ~500 new units each year. At this scale, ADU’s are starting to have a positive impact on the housing situation in the City of Vancouver.
That said, one of the major problems with laneway houses at the moment is that, in some cities, you can’t sell the laneway house separately from the main house, which means they might only be accessible to people who are already land owners, or to tenants who can rent them. Eventually, it would be great if the properties could be stratified so that the big and small homes could be sold separately.
And thank you to Bryn Davidson from Lanefab for helping us understand the positive impacts and the challenges of laneway houses in Vancouver. To check out more Lanefab laneway houses, check out their website here:
Thanks for watching!
Mat & Danielle
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Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives
Mat of Exploring Alternatives