This chapter introduces reasons why understanding and utilizing Missing Middle Housing is so important. Reasons range from shifting market and household demographics to ineffective zoning. The chapter relies on statistics from various sources to make the point that Missing Middle Housing needs to be part of the discussion in every community across the country.
Defining "Missing Middle"
This chapter introduces and defines Missing Middle housing, using the Missing Middle diagram, and presents photo examples from across the country to illustrate the broad range of places where these housing types exist or were built in the past.
Missing Middle Types
This chapter is a photographic overview of the broad range of housing types that fit under the Missing Middle classification. It also shows tables with typical lot sizes and densities for each type to show the increased densities some of these types can generate even though they are no larger than the scale of a house.
This chapter uses three-dimensional block diagrams to illustrate how Missing Middle housing typically integrates into blocks and blends with single family homes. That blending is possible because Missing Middle housing types are never larger in scale than a single family house.
This chapter surveys the shared characteristics of all of the Missing Middle housing types, including their location in walkable urban places, lower off-street parking provisions, smaller units, and lower perceived densities.
This chapter shows two strategies to more effectively regulate and remove barriers in zoning for Missing Middle Housing: 1) Using an Average Unit Density system overlaid upon a conventional zoning system like that used in Santa Barbara and 2) Using form-based zones to directly regulate the physical forms of buildings, leading to predictable results.
How should a Comprehensive Plan/General Plan effort ensure that a community is encouraging Missing Middle types in the right locations? This chapter introduces a few strategies for doing just that, including defining different contexts, utilizing place types, and bridging Comprehensive Plan and Form-Based Coding efforts.
The Missing Middle concept is used in many different ways across the country, including by the state of Michigan and by entities like AARP to discuss how these housing choices are important to their constituents.
This chapter gives a brief overview of a free online resource for Missing Middle Housing created by Opticos Design.
Daniel Parolek is a nationally recognized thought leader in architecture, design, and urban planning, specifically in terms of creating livable, sustainable communities and buildings that reinforce them.