Missing Middle - Core Insights

John Pattison
John Pattison
  • Updated

Strong and financially resilient communities are comprised of a variety of housing types. Not just single-family detached homes on one end of the spectrum and huge apartment complexes on the other, but a wide range of “middle housing” options between: duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, courtyard cottages, bungalow apartments, and more. 

Yet these middle housing types—so familiar to our grandparents and great-grandparents—are rarely built today.

Dan Parolek of Opticos Design coined the term “missing middle housing” to describe middle housing options that are in high demand (across all age groups) but getting harder and harder to find. All too often, the market isn’t even given a chance to meet demand. Among other barriers, middle housing types have been zoned almost out of existence in many communities. 

Missing middle development 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, and we need institutions that will allow it.


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