Missing Middle Housing Walkability News

Missing Middle Housing Takes Off in Michigan with First-Ever Design Competition

The first-ever 2015 Michigan Missing Middle Housing Design Competition challenges architects, designers, and urban planners nationwide to come up with innovative solutions for affordable housing options that offer a walkable lifestyle. The goal of the competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects Michigan, is to bring awareness to the mismatch that exists between the current American housing stock and the growing demand for walkable urban living. The competition is part of Michigan’s statewide placemaking strategy called MIplace.

The term “Missing Middle Housing” refers to multi-unit housing types, such as duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts, and mansion apartments, which are integrated throughout most pre-1940s neighborhoods, but became much less common after World War II. These housing types are often found mixed in with single-family homes. They provide diverse housing choices and help to generate enough density to support transit and locally serving commercial amenities.

Cottage Court in Kirkland, Washington
The Cottage Company designed this cottage court development in Kirkland, WA.

The competition will be judged by an elite group of jurors, including Douglas Farr, architect, urban planner, author, and president and CEO of Farr Associates in Chicago; James Tischler, director of community development for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority; Mark Wyckoff, professor and senior associate director with the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute; and Daniel Parolek of Opticos Design.

“As the demand for living in urban environments continues to strengthen across Michigan and throughout the nation, the need to accommodate the growing contemporary housing market has become much more apparent,” said AIAMI Public Policy Director Dennis King in a news release.

“Missing Middle housing types are a critical part of the solution and should be an integral part of every architect’s, planner’s, real estate agent’s and developer’s arsenal. Our hope is that the ‘Missing Middle’ contest will spark a dialog, provoke thought and drive innovation to support new development of ‘Missing Middle’ housing stock,” King said.

“It’s time for our industry to rethink and evolve, reinvent, and renew,” said Parolek. “We need a paradigm shift in the way that we design, locate, regulate and develop homes. Missing Middle Housing is designed to meet the specific needs of shifting demographics and the new market demand.”

The competition offers a grand prize of $10,000 and two additional prizes of $5,000 each. Registrations and application fees should be submitted by 4PM Monday, March 16 (late applications will be accepted for an additional fee). The award ceremony is tentatively scheduled for June 25. View the Michigan Missing Middle Housing Design Competition for more information and to register.

This contest is also being sponsored by several Michigan agencies, including the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Michigan State University Land Policy Institute, Michigan Municipal League, and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.

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