Missing Middle Housing is a range of house-scale buildings with multiple units—compatible in scale and form with detached single-family homes—located in a walkable neighborhood.

Thinking Big and Building Small to Respond to Today's Housing Crisis

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“Few causes of planning reform from recent history have succeeded so thoroughly at adoption into the law of the land as Missing Middle Housing has in recent years, and it is only right that Parolek, who coined the term, has written this definitive guide to the subject.”
– Josh Stephens + James Brasuell, Planetizen

The Types

The Missing Middle Housing types provide diverse housing options, such as duplexes, fourplexes, cottage courts, and multiplexes. These house-scale buildings fit seamlessly into existing residential neighborhoods and support walkability, locally-serving retail, and public transportation options. They provide solutions along a spectrum of affordability to address the mismatch between the available U.S. housing stock and shifting demographics combined with the growing demand for walkability.

“Well-designed ‘Missing Middle’ buildings unify the walkable streetscape as they greatly diversify the choices available for households of different age, size, and income. Smaller households tend to eat out more, helping our neighborhood attract wonderful restaurants. Diverse households keep diverse hours meaning we have more people out walking our streets at more varied hours—keeping them safer.”

Ellen Dunham-Jones
Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and co‑author of Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs

Learn More About Missing Middle Housing

About Missing Middle Housing

This transformative concept highlights a time-proven and beloved way to provide more housing and housing choices in sustainable, walkable places.

What does the market want?

Singles demand more amenities, and women and older persons who live alone generally seek housing options that offer better security.

Missing Middle Housing in Practice


Missing Middle Housing is not a new type of building. It is a range of building types building types exist in cities and towns across the country, and were a fundamental building block in pre-1940s neighborhoods.


With a footprint typically not larger than a large single-family home, Missing Middle buildings are easy to integrate into existing neighborhoods, and serve as a way to transition to higher-density and main street contexts.

How to Regulate

Form-Based Coding has proven to be an alternative to conventional zoning that effectively regulates Missing Middle Housing. Form-Based Codes (FBCs) remove barriers and incentivize housing types in appropriate locations.