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The Future of Housing
STRATEGY #3: Facilitate Partnerships for Cottage Courts

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Why Cottage Courts?
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Cottage courts are characterized by a series of relatively small, detached houses arranged around a courtyard or greenspace. Like Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), cottage courts are a traditional form
of housing in many parts of the country. Like ADUs, cottage courts were excluded when municipalities adopted regulations that began to erode the "missing middle" of housing.
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Cottage courts is a housing strategy that is both budget conscious and land conscience. In high-demand urban areas, cottage courts help fill the "missing middle" of housing for renters and for first-time homebuyers. In rural areas, cottage courts help fill that "missing middle" of housing with minimal impact on agricultural land and natural areas.
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Missing Middle Cottage Courts

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Why Facilitate Partnerships for Cottage Courts?
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In some cases, each house in a cottage court is individually owned. In other cases, the entire cottage court is owned by a landlord and each house is rented. The "courtyard" of the cottage court can be designed as a playground, a social gathering space, or gardens. Some cottage courts include a larger building with communal spaces on the ground floor and apartments above. The characteristic layout of cottage courts can accommodate household members with special needs, and it is attractive to people interested in small-scale versions of cohousing.
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This flexibility makes cottage courts an attractive housing choice across the spectrum of households most impacted by the "missing middle" of housing. However, there are multiple barriers to cottage courts. For example, the characteristic layout of cottage courts is not included in most municipal codes, they are too small in scope for large housing developers, and, because they are rare, the potential for profit is not as predictable as other types of housing, so it is harder to attract investors. For these reasons, there is a need to facilitate partnerships between municipalities, builders, homeowners, and investors for cottages courts.
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Our Wisconsin team is looking forward to facilitating a partnership for a pilot "cottage court" project in Madison. Contact Susan@DesignCoalition.org
Aerial View Cottage Court


Third Street Cottages, Langley, WA

8 houses arranged around a garden courtyard on 4 city lots.

Credit: Ross Chapin


COTTAGE


Cottages on the Green, East Greenwich, RI

Credit: Douglas Kallfelz


COTTAGE


A five unit cottage court, Berkeley, CA

Credit: Optico Design


COTTAGE


Historic Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA

Credit: The Eastsider



COTTAGE


Danielson Grove, Kirkland, WA

Credit: The Cottage Company



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