Missing middle development—anything from a duplex to a cottage court to a small apartment building—is an indispensable piece of the Strong Towns vision for cities that are resilient, adaptable, and can pay their bills. We need to revive a culture of building this way: here are five ways cities can start.
Solving the housing crisis requires bringing back missing middle housing. The planner who coined the term “missing middle” explains how.
Not every city’s situation is the same—but just about every city that needs more homes could benefit from one or more of these policies.
All over the U.S., duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, ADUs, even small apartment buildings quietly exist in supposedly "single-family detached" neighborhoods. They're normal. They belong. They fill a vital need. But if you applied for a permit to build another one just like them today, you'd be denied.
What's going on here?
We used to have a different name for the modest dwellings that now get labeled “tiny houses.” For most of history, this was simply a house—a low-cost way for people to put down roots in a place and begin to grow some wealth for themselves and the neighborhood.