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The Future of Housing
in Wisconsin and beyond...

Three Strategies to fill the "Missing Middle" of Housing

The shortage of housing is at crisis levels in communities across the country, fuelled by a combination of outdated municipal codes, unresponsive housing finance policies, and a residential construction industry with investors who prefer low-risk, large-scale, high-end, projects. The result is the "missing middle" of housing. One answer is more innovative and flexible use of land in high-demand areas, where land costs are highest, such that the cost of each unit of housing is lower.
Design Coalition Institute is spearheading a multi-state, multi-sector partnership to update state, local, and national policies to help fill the "missing middle" of housing. Scroll down to see quick introductions to our three "missing middle" housing strategies, links to more information, and example projects.
The term "missing-middle" was coined by the team of community development professionals at Opticos Design Inc. The illustration below and on the following pages were adapted from that team's report.
Three Strategies to fill "The Missing Middle" of Housing


Hiding in plain sight ADUs

Incentivize Investment in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
Be they granny cottages, basement apartments, in-law suites, or any of the other creative ways homeowners add a small "accessory dwelling unit" or ADU, there are multiple social, economic, and ecological benefits to this traditional housing strategy.

Cohousing Book cropped

Provide Technical Assistance for Cohousing

Our colleagues at Design Coalition Architects brought the idea of cohousing to Madison Wisconsin in the 1990s. Madison is now home to four cohouing communities, out of over 160 across the US.

Cottage Court

Facilitate Partnerships for Cottage Courts

"Cottage Courts" consist of a series of small cottages, usually arranged around a greenspace. This housing strategy is easily adaptable to multiple locations and multiple ownership models.

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Design Coalition Institute, Inc. 2088 Atwood Ave. Madison WI. 53704