Laneway housing is becoming an incredibly popular topic here in Toronto. Lots of people seem to be interested in building, or least living in a compact ground-related laneway dwelling.
A big part of this, I think, has to do with affordability (or the perception of affordability). A lot of people want to live in a central urban neighborhood, but it has simply gotten both expensive and difficult to secure low-rise housing. Here’s an example of a young couple in Toronto who went door-to-door in their desperation to find a house.
I believe that laneway housing has the potential to be a more affordable low-rise housing solution in this city, as well as in many other cities around the world who have a similar urban condition. But today, at least here, it’s not that way.
Since the City of Toronto does not officially support laneway housing, it would be an uphill to get one approved and you need to be willing to put a significant amount of money at-risk in order to try. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality today.
I’m certain that will change. But it will take a bit more pioneering. The Laneway Project, which I advise, is working to change the way Toronto thinks about its laneways and I know that there are many other small entrepreneurs working on doing the same.
One of the first things that will need to happen is that we’re going to need to name our laneways. Some of them are already named, but many of them are not. And while this may not seem like a big deal, it is. For laneway housing to become a reality, they will need to have addresses and we will need to think of our laneways as legitimate streets.
Recently The Laneway Project published a how-to guide called: How to Name Your Laneway. So if you’re interested in laneways and laneway housing here in Toronto, I would encourage you to give it a read and then try and get your local laneway named.