Micro Housing Barriers Assessment

There are a number of issues in the GTA which make it challenging for individuals and families to find and afford suitable housing, both in the present and moving forward as the City’s population continues to grow. Smaller “micro-sized” housing may help to address many of the issues. The term “micro-housing” broadly refers to different types of dwellings that are unconventionally small according to modern standards. Micro-housing can better utilize existing space, allow for a greater density of dwellings, and also be more affordable. While it’s not for everyone, many are happy to replace ‘space’ with ‘place,’ and the concept has been embraced by singles and couple across different age and income groups looking for affordable housing with easy access to city amenities.

There are already many examples of micro-housing in the GTA, from pockets of century-old micro-sized detached and semi-detached homes to a growing number of micro-suites in new high-rise condominium developments, but Toronto has not embraced or explored the concept to the same level as other jurisdictions. With funding from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) through the National Housing Strategy (NHS), and alongside project partner Services and Housing in the Provinces (SHIP), this desktop study is exploring micro-housing options that are most relevant to the GTA context to evaluate barriers, opportunities, and issues. The study proceeded through a review of planning, policy, code, and legal documents; a literature review and cross-jurisdictional scan, including relevant case studies; and a limited series of consultations with relevant stakeholders.

Photo credit: Zillow.com