A new type of housing is gaining more popularity in Edmonton every day. Homes referred to as “skinny homes” are enlivening older neighborhoods and encouraging buyers to remain in the heart of the city.
Built on larger lots, the thinner homes are able to accommodate less space but increase the number of people living in one area. The city is in support of having residential infill in areas that were meant to prohibit multiunit housing.
A goal had been previously set in 2010 to build 25 percent of new housing in established localities, per the Edmonton Municipal Development Plan. It has yet to increase past 17 percent.
Infill “skinny” homes have only been approved since 2013, and 22 were built in 2013. Numbers soared by 136 percent in 2014, and it doesn’t appear this will cease anytime soon.
Infill homes were previously only allowed in zoned areas marked RF3, for smaller scale infill development. University of Alberta staff, Robert Summers, states RF1 zoning separated single-family homes from lower income, impoverished communities in the 1930s.
Recent changes have made a significant difference as the city voted to change bylaws and have approved infill homes in RF1 areas. RF1 is formally considered a single, detached residence, and the lot for infills is required to be at least 50 feet wide. This bylaw gave way to approximately 55,000 lots, tripling the numbers in Edmonton.
The zoning policy RF3 also took on rowhouses and apartments, therefore feeling the impact of the influx in infill homes.
Previous height restrictions limited the implementation of infill communities. Fewer basement suites were present before, but they appear to be popping up as we see infill development rise.
Edmonton is also hoping to attract young families to these communities due to the possibility of closing schools, as children are sparse. The city feels that the ability to place two homes where there was once one will increase these numbers.