April 5, 2022

Revising the Grand Bargain – with Rob Grant

If the Grand Bargain is going to be discarded or majorly revised, there needs to be a new bargain – a new typology, as they say in design circles.  And there are lots of missing model typologies popping up to address the need.  Here’s one from Rob Grant – an old solution for new times.


Single family zoning takes up such a disproportionate amount our land.    Houses are becoming unattainable for generations starting families.  The pressure is bound to increase for change.

There is no realistically dense alternative to the existing three-unit model.  Nor are proposed six-storey apartments close to arterials particularly well thought out.  Why should we put the greatest density on the noisiest, most polluted areas while leaving the quieter areas for the fewest people?

I call for something with 10-plus units. Like the RM-5B in the West End.



How about a single corner lot typology that begins the process of densification?  Like the many dense corner lot buildings in the West End.

From there, adjacent double lots can be developed, in the manner of a five- to six-storey main house or villa on the street, with three- to four-storey lane houses at the back – and a courtyard in between. In this way the scale of the existing neighbourhood is maintained without large multiple lot assembly.

Relaxations allowing three lots can be entertained to allow for retention of heritage grade houses or where three lots are left in the middle of a block.

I also illustrate an alternate high street building typology as part of a strategy to address the always thorny issue of parking. As a block transitions from a suburban to an urban form, street space for cars is reduced with parking pockets, bio-swales and mini-parks as in the West End.



My scheme did not get any mention in the Missing Middle competition, as perhaps the judges felt I was not addressing the issue of mixing sufficiently enough, even though my strategy of allowing all ground floor space to be of any occupancy allowed in the building code would allow for easier and more local decision making in this regard.


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