Image source: Opticos Design
“Missing middle” is a commonly-used term that refers to the range of housing types that fit between single-family detached homes and mid-to-high-rise apartment buildings. Examples include duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and more. Used in this context, “middle” references the size and type of a home, relative to its location – in the middle – on a housing scale spectrum. The cost of these homes vary based on style, size, location, and market forces, therefore missing middle housing types do not correlate with a specific income bracket.
There are many benefits to this style of housing. Missing middle homes can:
- Bridge between low- and high-density areas
- Support walkable neighborhoods and locate enough residents nearby needed to support neighborhood retail and transit options
- Appeal to a broader range of residents and meet the needs of a more diverse and inclusive cross-section of our community, such as:
- Young adults, who are just starting their careers
- Growing families who may need an additional bedroom for a child, or, an on-site dwelling unit for a grandparent
- Older adults who wish to age in their same community, near family and friends
- Empty nesters who wish to downsize
- Public servants in search of mid-scale homes, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters
Missing middle forms exist in Arlington neighborhoods as shown in the examples below, however today’s zoning and land use policy restrict them from being built in most areas of the County. In fact, 75% of land zoned residential in Arlington is exclusively for single-family, detached homes.
As part of the pre-planning phase, Missing Middle Housing Study staff are researching various elements of missing middle housing including typologies, where they exist in the County, real estate market forces, a history of zoning and land use policies, and more. A compendium of this research will be shared in Spring 2020.