A recent episode of the Strong Towns podcast was a panel session from the Congress for the New Urbanism. Chuck Marohn interviews four conference attendees under the age of 30.
One of the panelists, Dan Baisden, described something that was a new idea to me: the notion of Rust Belt cities becoming intake locations for those displaced by climate change. As a result of significant population loss many of these cities and towns have more infrastructure than they currently require. As the impact of climate change is felt they could become spaces for people relocating.
So this two-story garden apartment scenario I’m going to talk about for a few minutes… it’s part of an idea from the last few years called “missing middle”. If we think of housing on a spectrum, from detached single family housing you see in cities everywhere to mid-rise housing, like four to six stories you might see in the central area. You’ve also got duplexes triplexes, fourplexes, courtyard apartments, townhomes, a whole array of things that have been common historically in cities everywhere, but aren’t really provided for in very many locations in modern zoning.
That’s from a presentation Michael Anderson gave in Tualatin earlier this month. The idea of “missing middle” housing wasn’t new to me, but the term itself was. It’s such a clear summation of many issues facing urban development. Another good read on a similar subject is Strong Towns’ article on developers and luxury housing. It’s all relevant here in Portland where by at least one measure rents are finally down 3% year-over-year.