Why small houses are a big deal

BC Business Magazine - - Front Page - By Felic­ity Stone

“You could pretty much go to any cock­tail party, any con­ver­sa­tion, any Tim Hor­tons or cof­fee shop, and you’re go­ing to have the same dis­course hap­pen­ing around hous­ing,” says Jake Fry, best known for his Van­cou­ver firm Small­works, which builds laneway homes. “And the chal­lenges are uni­form,” Fry con­tin­ues. “The dol­lar value may change, and driv­ers may be dif­fer­ent be­tween Pen­tic­ton and Ver­non and Ter­race and Ker­ris­dale, but the chal­lenge is there.”

Fry has found that peo­ple are in­creas­ingly look­ing for hous­ing that meets but doesn’t sur­pass their needs and ac­com­mo­dates their bud­gets. In re­sponse, in 2012 he and Bob Rans­ford, now VP de­vel­op­ment at real es­tate firm Cen­tury Group in Van­cou­ver, founded Small Hous­ing BC ( SHBC), a not­for-profit so­ci­ety to study and ad­vo­cate for homes be­tween 100 and 1,500 square feet. Re­cently SHBC be­gan shar­ing its re­search. This year Fry and SHBC project man­agers Anas­ta­sia Koutal­ianos and Saman­tha Gam­bling vis­ited or video-con­fer­enced with some 20 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the prov­ince, out­lin­ing the ad­van­tages of con­struct­ing fewer apart­ment build­ings and more small in­fills or larger struc­tures that might look like a house but con­tain mul­ti­ple res­i­dences. Not only can this ap­proach add house­holds to neigh­bour­hoods with­out chang­ing their char­ac­ter, but in­fill homes might also be quicker for plan­ners to ap­prove while suit­ing res­i­dents’ re­quire­ments bet­ter than more tra­di­tional de­vel­op­ments, Fry ex­plains.

“Most neigh­bour­hoods

LESS IS MORE Home builder Jake Fry sees room for smaller houses in B.C.

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