“Unexpected approaches for the future of our urban spaces.” Publisher Gestalten has a new book out that you can pre-order called, Vertical Living: Compact Architecture for Urban Spaces. The book is not about tall buildings, despite what the title might suggest, but rather about “impossibly slender homes” in narrow and tight urban spaces. As many of you know, I have long been a fan of compact and creative homes. One, they force creativity. It’s like designing a boat (not that I have done that before). Every inch matters. And two, it is about seeing opportunity where others don’t.
Sometimes we miss these opportunities because of cultural biases. We believe that a home should look and behave a certain way. But these viewpoints are not necessarily universal. They vary across cities and they can even vary within cities. As Toronto and many other cities around the world try and figure out how to deliver the so-called “missing middle,” we are going to need to open ourselves up to some of what’s in this book — namely the unexpected. New housing solutions that don’t fit within certain neat and tidy definitions.
We’ve done this before with laneway suites. Formerly an illegal housing type, Toronto is now in the midst of what feels like a laneway housing boom. I don’t know exactly how many are under construction or have been completed under the city’s new policies, but I would wager that the uptake has been strong. And over time, this new housing typology is going to reshape how we think about our laneways. They will evolve along with the new uses that are now beginning to flank them. The unexpected will become the expected.
Shall we try this again?