Microhousing Victoria – Bridging the gap in affordable housing

As a neighbourhood (volunteer) representative, I participate in the Victoria Community Associations Network (VCAN). VCAN meetings are held bi-monthly, at Victoria City Hall. Last night’s VCAN meeting included a short presentation about Microhousing Victoria. They are a recently formed nonprofit society, intent on providing an “intermediate” affordable housing option. The presentation was given by Board Member (and architect) Kristina Leach. I am impressed with Microhousing Victoria’s game plan. Here is a 4 minute video they created, about their goals:

(video not displaying? click here to watch on YouTube)

Microhousing Victoria

To-date, the Microhousing Victoria approach appears timely, collaborative, creative, and fair.

Evolving out of numerous focus groups and (design) charettes, the Microhousing Victoria model features:

  • net new, transitional, affordable housing for low-income renters
  • “intermediate” housing; 1-5 year tenancy; filling the affordable housing gap
  • each house is based on pre-fabricated, modular design, with common living areas and private, attached suites (typically 6)
  • houses are design to be quickly assembled, adapted (e.g., more/less units, tenancy makeup), and removed (see below)
  • houses are built on property owned by developers; who lease their land, ideally for 3-5 years, as a Community Ammenity Contribution (thereby fulfilling their community obligations, should they choose to build on that site, in the future)
  • after the lease expires, the microhouse would be dismantled, and possibly moved to another site
  • Microhousing Victoria facilitates an appropriate community/developer match and partnership
  • Microhousing Victoria serves as property managers, during the lease period.
  • Hard construction costs, for each house (of 6 units), is $150,000; a fraction of market rate
  • A single property site may have more than one microhouse; further leveraging property value

Microhousing Victoria wants to have their first microhouse up, and inhabited, by fall 2016.

A housing continuum – bridging the gaps

Even in relatively well-off place such as Victoria, there is a lack of affordable housing options; hence Microhousing Victoria.

Housing choices, especially affordable choices, challenge many societies, around the world.

The 2016 Pritzker Prize went to Chilean architect, Alejandro Aravena. Architecture’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize, Aravena won for his brilliant “half a good house” approach, and development.

On another level, responding to the demand for walkable urban living, Missing Middle Housing envisions a housing continuum:

missing middle housing

As a mediator, I’m a fan of offering people choices. Laying out those choices, as a continuum of options, ideally in a visual format, can enhance communication and constructive collaboration; dramatically.

Offering a Continuum of Choices is a Trusted Collaborative Problem Solving Technique.

Microhouse design feedback

Microhouse Victoria is looking for feedback on their home design. Got any?

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