Blog by Andrew Peck

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Density in our neighbourhoods

Density in our neighbourhoods

Density. It’s a dirty word in some neighbourhoods, including my own.

Yet we keep hearing forecasts that by 2041, the population of Metro Vancouver will grow by 1.2 million residents to 3.4 million, which will require about 575,000 new housing units to be built.

Since we’re surrounded by ocean, mountains and the border, we’re going to have to densify – a word that can bring out the NIMBY in all of us.

Enter “cottage homes” as a solution.

In neighbourhoods where current residents actively refuse to go up or even attached, cottage homes offer an attractive option.

Cottage homes in pocket neighbourhoods are a form of new development gaining popularity in the US.

A pocket neighbourhood is typically three to four city-sized lots and contains 12 detached cottages, each less than 1,000 square feet with 2-3 bedrooms on one or 1.5 floors, front porches, parking and landscaping including small private gardens and common areas where fruits and vegetable are grown to enhance overall sustainability.

Currently in much of Metro Vancouver, the zoning doesn’t exist to allow cottage homes. But it’s coming and if it were here today, a typical cottage would have a sales price of about $500,000 if it were built in Tsawwassen, according to Sean Hodgins of the Century Group which builds these types of homes.

Who buys a cottage home? Younger home buyers wanting to get into the market and downsizing seniors wanting to stay in their neighbourhoods.

The best feature?  They can be built to fit into existing neighbourhoods so that the density isn’t visible.

They make existing neighbourhoods more sustainable because the neighbourhoods are denser and walkable, supporting small business such as coffee shops, bakeries, fruit and vegetable stands and small groceries. All of this directly affects the health and happiness of residents.

Read the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s feature, Cottage Homes and Pocket Neighbourhoods, at www.rebgv.org

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