Missing middle housing can be defined as a cluster of housing types that can assist in meeting the increasing demand for affordable housing in large urban areas and is a strategy that can be incorporated into the City built form. However, despite its benefits, there are significant obstacles to middle housing that need to be addressed. For instance, residential zoning in the City of Toronto restricts the possibility of missing middle housing in neighbourhoods that are identified as “stable”. The cost of building small scale is expensive compared to alternative models such as incorporating affordable rental units in existing buildings or requiring a certain percent in larger scale redevelopments. Building small is not economical, but there are new forms of building techniques just coming on stream which may help narrow the gap such as wood frame (timber) and modular construction.
The Kehilla Residential Programme recently investigated the potential of a site at Bathurst and Christie for a developer who expressed interest in building affordable housing. It would have been a good example of missing middle housing at 43 units. However, the economics of it did not work at a preliminary pro forma level without incentive funding and especially when the City planners requested a 25 per cent reduction to provide angular planes and view lines. If the City is to achieve any form of middle housing – the planning restrictions have to change. Kehilla is interested in studying what is needed to make this important infill housing work – from making the numbers work to fitting into the neighbourhood. It is timely to study the cost implications and develop a case study model that can illustrate what planning regulations need to be changed and what incentives need to be provided to make this type of housing both possible to be built and affordable to rent.
In this project, the client expects the students to design the following:
- Creation of case study pro formas
- Analysis of provincial policy and zoning by-laws
- Review of similar projects in Canada and Europe - what policy or legislation supported or encouraged the construction of these projects, how are they integrated into existing neighbourhoods
Kehilla Residential Programme Student Team
Ariana Fernadez Chesquin is a fourth-year student at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, within the design stream, and pursuing an Art History minor. Ariana has been on the Dean’s List since 2019, recipient of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture Admission Awards, and volunteers as a graphic designer for C3 Church. Ariana’s proficiencies in Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) and Rhino, would be of great value to the Kehilla “Missing Middle” student team.
Alexander (AJ) Bimm is a fifth-year student majoring in Urban Studies and Sociology. His current research looks at the relationship between land-use planning and its impact on housing development. Through his past work and volunteer experience, AJ has developed a deep understanding of the roles social-equities and policy play in city-building. His passion for housing justice and building inclusive cities is what brought him to the Kehilla Missing Middle project. He believes that improved access to housing is an essential part of creating more livable, sustainable and equitable communities. AJ has written for Spacing Magazine, exploring urban running and other forms of active transportation. He is also a runner for the Varsity Blues Track and Field Team.
Eclipse Atencio-Malixi is a fourth-year student at the Rotman School of Management, specializing in management, with a minor in Economics. As a Commerce student, Eclipse understands the complexities of various investments, and the importance of financial planning to ensure a project’s feasibility. Eclipse spent the summer as a project control officer at Scotiabank: Information Security & Control, as well as the President of the Rotman Commerce Women in Business organization since February 2020.
Chang Xu is a fourth-year student at Rotman School of Management, specializing in Public Accounting. As a Marketing Research Intern at Toronto Boutique Apartment, Chang had an opportunity to conduct market research and analysis on Toronto’s rental market and understand consumer behaviour in trends. Chang’s familiarity with financial statements, cost analysis, and ability to construct quantitative models of “missing middle” proformas will be of asset to the Kehilla “Missing Middle” student team. Chang is a member of the University of Toronto Chinese Debating Association and placed top 5 in the 2020 RCAS AIR Case Competition that is sponsored by Deloitte, EY, PwC, and KPMG.