The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
News

Map: How ‘Infill’ Housing Is Blossoming in the Lower Mainland

See how cities are turning ‘single family’ lots into several homes.

By Katie Hyslop 9 Mar 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Katie Hyslop reports on affordable housing for the Housing Fix. Follow her on Twitter @kehyslop. The 2016-17 funders of the Housing Fix are Vancity Credit Union, Catherine Donnelly Foundation, and the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. in collaboration with Columbia Institute. Funders of special solutions reporting projects neither influence nor endorse the particular content of our reporting.

[Editor's note: Scroll down to see our interactive map, which shows what various Lower Mainland municipalities allow in terms of “infill.”]

Beleaguered Lower Mainland renters probably aren’t looking to single family neighbourhoods in North Vancouver for potential affordable housing. But they should start.

Thanks to a city council decision last month to allow up to three units of housing on a single family residential lot, the city expects more legal secondary suites and coach houses — a term interchangeable with laneway house in North Vancouver — to dot these sizable lots.

“We’ve already legalized secondary suites in duplexes, we were the first municipality in British Columbia to do so,” said Mayor Darrell Mussatto, when he spoke to The Tyee in January.

“Single family homes were basically the last area that really hadn’t taken any density. [The rule change] allows better use of the single family land, whereas multifamily and mixed-use residential areas are already being utilized to a better degree with multiple units [per lot].”

Adding new structures to vacant or unused land in an already developed area, versus building a new subdivision, is what’s known as ‘infill’ in urban planner speak. It’s a kind of “gentle density” that can take many forms, from building in-house secondary suites, to adding laneway homes, town/row houses, duplexes, triplexes, and quadplexes to a single family home lot.

Some municipalities even allow single family lot subdivisions to create smaller lots, and thus more housing, or move your heritage home to accommodate infill while preserving local history and neighbourhood character.

With the housing crisis driving more middle-class would-be homeowners to rent in the Lower Mainland, and the region expecting an additional one million people to arrive by 2040 — a 35 per cent increase in population — more municipalities are jumping on the infill bandwagon.

Metro Vancouver’s 2010 Regional Growth Strategy calls on municipalities to increase housing supply and diversity through encouraging infill development in established neighbourhoods.

The Tyee checked what other Lower Mainland municipalities allow in terms of “infill”, and created this interactive map. While infill can include apartment towers, we chose to focus this map on on what some municipalities call “sensitive”, “gentle”, or “ground-oriented” infill, where nothing is higher than stacked townhouses. Click on the map icons to find out more information about that form of infill in the region.


Vancouver already encourages infill housing through its secondary suite and laneway home programs, which allow three and in some areas up to four — units per single family home lot.

Other cities are also encouraging more infill forms. Coquitlam has launched a Housing Choices program, specifically designed to bring new forms of ground-oriented infill housing to residential neighbourhoods. Acceptable forms range from a garden cottage, which is like a laneway house but without a lane access, to four small single-family homes per single family lot.

Not every municipality is on board. Surrey has enough vacant space to keep its urban planning department focused on building new neighbourhoods, though city staff said in an email to The Tyee that pockets of infill are happening even so, while secondary suites make up a substantial proportion of private market rentals.

But as municipalities reach their boundaries and fill in every greenspace not protected as a park or farmland, each will likely take a closer look at infill for providing affordable housing options.  [Tyee]

Read more: Housing

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Is One Art or Design Skill You Wish to Learn?

Take this week's poll