Urban Intensification & Affordable Homes

Many cities across North America are adopting new city plans with targets for intensification. This is one way to increase home ownership.

Changing neighbourhoods

For many of us living in cities, our neighbourhoods are changing. Intensification has already been happening on many fronts, and is accelerating in many cities as new official plans are adopted.

In our own home patch, Ottawa, Canada, a new plan was ushered in two years ago that will allow for much greater housing intensification across urban and suburban neighbourhoods.

We know from talking to folks, planning to tear down the old, inefficient, single family home on their lot and replacing it with another just isn’t financially feasible. Renovation or retrofitting is equally prohibitive in many cases.

In this case, the new guidelines will make it possible for these homeowners and many others to introduce a duplex or other semi-detached housing on their lot. This scenario will support the city’s intensification, while also making the project financially viable for more people.

An exterior render of a duplex called the Two Rivers.
A render of the Two Rivers semi-detached passive plan from EkoBuilt.

New floorplans

At EkoBuilt, our passive home floorplans often come about through conversations and specific projects. One plan offers some desirable features but not everything that’s needed, and a new plan is formed.

Our Two Rivers duplex, shown above, offers an interesting way to fit two homes into a particular lot where staggering the units was required. This could easily be modified for a different scenario.

Our townhome plan, shown here, was originally designed with five adjacent units in mind, but this can easily be reduced or modified for a two-home configuration.

We love the chance to review the challenges of a particular lot or set of circumstances and to come up with the right plan.

An artist's render of a series of attached townhomes.
A render of a passive townhome plan from EkoBuilt that could easily be reduced to a duplex.

New home ownership models

We hope to help our customers think outside the box when it comes to realizing their dreams.

Replacing a large single family home with a semi-detached model will provide the opportunity to sell the second home. It also provides the opportunity to look at sharing the development cost with another buyer upfront, if circumstances allow.

Replacing an outmoded single home with a design that incorporates a separate rental unit is another way to make a new home financially viable.

There are more and more variations on home ownership, including shared living arrangements that we’ve detailed in other blog posts. We welcome being a part of that process, and coming up with the plan that answers your needs.

An exterior render of the Frontenac with one-bedroom suite.
A render of the Frontenac, a passive bungalow with a designed one-bedroom unit stacked at one end of the building.

What will your sustainable home look like?

If you own an aging home in a mature neighbourhood and you’re struggling with the cost of retrofitting or replacing, we hope this post will give you some ideas.

Check out the official plan where you live and find out what intensification options might mean for your property before you assume that your hands are tied.

Take a look at our very smart and creative passive home designs and floorplans to get ideas on what a new configuration might mean for you.

And then give us a shout! We’d love to talk.

An interior render of a small, open plan living, dining room, and kitchen.
The emerging focus on “just enough” house is a good starting point.

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