This city, like many other cities, is characterized by having with some exaggeration only two housing forms detached buildings, look like single-family homes or high-rise towers, its what’s in the imagination of most people as your choices in the city.
Toronto has an affordable housing crisis. But while the city needs more density, neighbours fear the intrusion of big projects. That’s where the “missing middle” comes in.
The term ‘missing middle’ was coined by the architect Daniel Parolek to describe “a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types compatible in scale with single-family homes that help meet the growing demand for walkable urban living. These housing types include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, rowhouses, and townhouses.
Toronto’s housing supply has become increasingly reliant on high-rise buildings. From 2013 to 2017, more than 64,000 new residential units were constructed in the City of Toronto in development projects for which the tallest building was more than 12 storeys. Of these, more than half were located in the Downtown and Central Waterfront area. The result has been growing polarization between tall, high-density development (characterized by smaller units) and dispersed low-density housing. Everything in the middle is increasingly ‘missing’ from Toronto’s urban fabric.
Toronto lags behind other large Canadian cities in building second suites. Toronto has the lowest share (14%) of duplexes with the number of single-detached homes in comparison to other large Canadian cities such as Vancouver (55%) and Montreal (46%). Toronto could add 300,000 to 400,000 secondary/additional suites to its current single- and semi-detached house stock to reach Vancouver and Montreal 2016 levels.
Its recommended that Toronto City Council establish and monitor targets for the production of missing middle types of housing in Toronto. These targets will demonstrate that Toronto is genuinely committed to providing a great deal of more affordable, family-friendly forms of the house as represented by missing middle housing types.