A 700 sq ft new detached home for under $200K is now ready to occupy
It must feel like an exciting day for supporters of the EcoDensity Initiative and of laneway housing. After much discussion and debate, the first laneway home under Vancouver's new policy guideline is ready to occupy. Today's story in the Vancouver Sun by crack reporter Jeff Lee provides great background and speaks with the builder Bryn Davidson of Lanefab. For some good visuals see this fine story from GlobalTV's Sophie Lui.
Laneway housing is one of those rare urban development policies that I felt on balance was widely greeted by our citizens. I attended open houses staged by the City where the tenor of discussion was extremely positive. Both seniors and young people – the folks who would benefit the most from this kind of housing – saw the upside in the concept. There were detractors, but they were few in number.
While I welcome the introduction of laneway housing into our city, I've always been aware of its possible shortcomings. If there was a lot of construction, it could be very disruptive to neighbourhoods. Then there is the environment of the typical back lane. These places tend to be much less inviting that the street out in front. I've been a big advocate of what I describe as improving laneway living – adding more greenery, landscaped surfaces, better sightlines and hiding away garbage receptacles.
For now we should just acknowledge this success for our city, and credit all of those along the way who made it happen. Back in February we posted a profile of West House, perhaps the best pavilion at Vancouver's LiveCity Yaletown destination, which shows an energy smart small house. See that profile & video here.