When Tim Bider’s sister comes to visit him and his family in their laneway house steps from Toronto’s Roncesvalles Ave., she’s struck by something you wouldn’t expect from a woman who lives on a dairy farm. She finds it eerily quiet.
New interest in laneway housing focuses on treating these homes as secondary dwellings located on the same property as another house.
As Toronto continues to sort out solutions to the housing crisis, the city is considering laneway homes as a means to curb the current situation as advocates claim that laneway properties could be used as rental units.
Can laneway housing work in Toronto? It can. Ms. Shim and Mr. Sutcliffe’s experience teaches us that – and their experience also shows that Toronto should be much more courageous in allowing change to its neighbourhoods.
Toronto has a large supply of laneways behind many of our city streets, and an even larger demand for affordable housing. Simple math would suggest that this is an easy match and solution. Urban planning, however, is never that simple.