Incremental Housing - Overview

John Pattison
John Pattison


For too long, housing policy has put investor returns and macroeconomic goals over the universal human need for shelter. Restrictive housing policies have also prevented people from collectively building the prospering cities they desire.

There should be no substantial barrier that prevents a neighborhood from evolving over time in response to local needs. That’s why Strong Towns has been advocating for a better approach to housing for over a decade—one that allows for the next increment of development on every property by right. It’s not a miracle cure, but it creates positive feedback loops so that success can emerge over time.



Your city’s housing market should be free to respond your city’s evolving needs and capacity.


No neighborhood should experience radical change, but no neighborhood can be exempt from change.


A bottom-up orientation to housing requires strong local leadership.


Together, we can unlock your community’s housing market, ensuring that there is an adequate amount of housing at prices people can actually afford.


Unleash the Swarm: Reviving Small-Scale Development in America’s Cities

It can be done. And it can scale.  

What if we had a class of semi-amateur developers 10 or 100 times larger than it is today? That would still mean that the vast majority of people aren't doing development themselves. But it would mean the potential for 10 to 100 times more small projects that are neighborhood-enriching and fill gaps.

Discover more by reading this fantastic e-book by Daniel Herriges, Senior Editor at Strong Towns, 


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1 comment

  • Comment author
    Jonathan Hopkins

    "No neighborhood should experience radical change, but no neighborhood can be exempt from change."

    Who are the agents of change? If real estate developers are the agents of change seeking to make neighborhoods conducive for development, many current property owners will likely resist. If existing homeowners are the change agents, they likely will not see themselves as such. If prospective residents are the change agents, but are seen as trojan horses for developers, there will likely be pushback. Prospective and current residents, working in tandem, may need to be the change agents for change to actually occur.

    Here is a commentary on "Unleash the Swarm":


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