And how does it benefit mature communities?

By Erica Marie

In 2010, Daniel Parolek, founder of Opticos Design, coined “Missing Middle Housing.” This type of housing is described as multi-unit housing found in the ‘middle’ of single-family houses and mid-rise buildings. The concept gained popularity because it addresses the opportunities’ missing’ in the housing spectrum. As per the illustration, the variety in the ‘missing middle’ housing includes duplexes, fourplexes, townhouses, and mixed-use live/work properties.

As Edmonton’s population increases, we require more ‘missing middle’ housing to manage our growth. One of the factors that could be discouraging new families from moving to mature neighbourhoods is the lack of housing options. Over the past decades, these communities primarily contained single-family homes.


To welcome back residents lost over the years due to the natural progression of a neighbourhood life cycle, there is a need to offer various housing styles to accommodate residents’ different stages and lifestyles. A community includes a diverse group of people; this may be a single mom with young kids who prefer to live in a townhouse or a multigenerational family looking for a duplex.

“We need a greater mix of housing types to meet differing income and generational needs. This is where Missing Middle Housing can change the conversation.”

— Debra Bassert, National Association of Home Builders

Affordability is another advantage of ‘missing middle’ housing. Presenting different housing options can allow people to live in a home that fits their household income. Residents who live in low-rise apartments or a fourplex can eliminate the cost and maintenance burden of single-family homes.


However, the land cost of mature neighbourhoods tends to be higher than those in newer communities because of their proximity to Downtown. Renewing older neighbourhoods in these areas can be challenging when there is insufficient investment in their real estate.


The Edmonton Community Development Company’s revitalization efforts seek to anchor capital in these communities by developing residential and commercial properties. This non-profit organization is partnering with infill builders such as Skil-Tec and Euro Design Master Builders to produce ‘missing middle’ style housing in Alberta Avenue, McCauley, Parkdale and Eastwood. Their Project 10 initiative hopes to infuse new life into these neighbourhoods and keep Edmonton’s mature communities vibrant and competitive.


To read more on rebuilding core neighbourhoods through infill development, click here.

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