Missing Middle Housing: Planning’s New Cup of Tea

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More housing choices are needed to bridge affordability gaps and transition between commercial and residential areas Until I was 10 years old, I lived on a block where there were single-family homes, a house split into two apartments and a small quadruplex apartment building. It was a very close-knit neighborhood with frequent visits to the neighbors. My best friend lived – with his mom, dad and baby sister – in one of the apartments in the house and I befriended an elderly couple who lived in one of the quadruplex apartments. In fact, I still have a beautiful china tea cup that they gave me. It used to be that there were housing choices other than what we usually see… Read more »

I’m too Cool for my House

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The Building Museum’s current exhibit, Drawing Toward Home, begins with the spidery lines of a Samuel McIntire plan of a Federal style house to be built in Salem, Massachusetts in the late 1700s. The rooms aren’t labeled, but simply marked with their measurements. The single sheet is a design, a contract, and a builder’s directive. Very quickly, the exhibit’s drawings of houses turn into drawings of home. Along with color and detail, they add emotion. “The architect must keep his client’s enthusiasm alive and active by sending or submitting bright, jaunty little perspective sketches of his contemplate work,” wrote Benjamin Linfoot in Architectural Picture Making (1884). The drawings are partially the ploy of an architect to keep his client engaged and… Read more »