Ottawa has 80,000 more suburban houses in its future. Here's what that could look like

By Kate Porter, CBC News Ottawa, May 1, 2020

Rachelle Lecours relaxes in her sunny, tidy bungalow in Orléans, reflecting on how much the Ottawa suburb has spread over four decades.

"I sort of feel guilty for being part of this growth," Lecours said. As her family grew over the years, they moved from one new development to another, seeking new home features and upgrading their garage. It was a "bad habit," she now says.

Homes on the fringes of the city are as popular as ever. People line up when a builder releases a new block of housing to lay money on a unit.

(...)Coun. Jeff Leiper was shocked city staff would recommend adding so much land — the 1,281 hectares designated for new urban areas is bigger than his entire ward of Kitchissippi.

(...)"If we're going to be sustainable, if we are going to have 15-minute neighbourhoods, if we're going to have affordable public transit, if we're going to keep our taxes as low as possible, then we can't just give in to market demand for single-family homes," Leiper said. His ward in the core is the epicentre for new highrise towers and pricey infill developments.

(...)The city can't risk supplying insufficient space for the expected homes. The Ontario government requires Ottawa show it has enough.

Staff have even worked with a local architectural firm on a new kind of structure that might help meet the needs of Ottawa families while building a city that's more dense: the "613 flat."

The '613 flat,' a three-bedroom housing concept designed to fit into older neighbourhoods. The design on the left could fit three family units. The one on the right could fit four families plus a couple of smaller units. (City of Ottawa)
That is, six-rooms and three bedrooms per unit in short buildings that blend in with their neighbours. It offers the elusive "missing middle" style of housing — neither a house, nor a highrise apartment.

The problem, staff write, is it takes time to create policies, and more time yet to get the building industry and housing market to shift to building a new kind of lifestyle, and at the right price people can afford.

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