What Is “Gentle Density” Housing?

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Gentle Density / Missing Middle housing is supposed to help us fight the housing shortage, but why isn’t it happening?

This short video does a great job explaining the challenges. To be successful, Midland needs to embrace the up-zoning concepts, be prepared to help offset development charges, reduce size and setback rules, reduce or eliminate parking requirements and accept the changes to our neighbourhoods that come from this kind of new density in established and primarily single family home neighbourhoods. If we can’t be bold and embrace these changes then we will continue to suffer the lack of growth and little new housing options. What are your thoughts after watching this video?


  1. Interesting dilemma. Issues we face here include options for winter parking and limited number of streets with existing lane ways. Would it work to attract new developments that are focused on multi-unit dwellings and laneway designs? I often think while driving in the Barrie area that we have a pronounced lack of multi-unit dwellings like 4-plexes and low rise buildings. I also see empty buildings and wonder if they could be repurposed for housing similar to the units on Yonge St near the courthouse. Perhaps incentives for some of our local motels to upgrade to suitable permanent housing? Or let’s look at Peterborough and Orillia for low-cost units for our unhoused. We appreciate the focus on trying to find options for increased housing.

  2. I can see three factors to overcome:
    1. Political will
    – This is down to the council, so let’s call it easy to solve
    2. NIMBYism
    – Once the houses are built, this becomes background noise
    3. Parking realities
    – Here we have a problem. Current rules do not meet the needs of the residents. With new houses requiring two spots, this means one in the garage and one on the driveway. Very often, garages become storage, the driveway is used for one car, and the other car parks on the street or illegally (encroaching on sidewalk or street, parking on boulevard, etc).

    If we relax parking rules to allow round-the-clock street parking (rather than the current 12-hour limit), this will help, but we still need to find a solution for winter overnight rules.

    The current problem lies with so many households having multiple vehicles, and planners believing everybody will park in their garages.

    Clearly, if we relax the minimums for parking spots, we need to either reduce the number of cars or provide alternate parking.

    An idea nobody would like is to require developers to build a carpark within a few minutes walk as part of the plan, so not reduce the requirement, but allow it to be separated from the site.

    If we plan to reduce the number of cars, then we need a solution to replace the need. Transit is a little sparse, and would require a major investment to make it meet everybody’s needs. Perhaps we need to think like Innisfil? https://innisfil.ca/en/living-here/using-innisfil-transit.aspx

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