A few weeks ago I had a chat with Ralph Segal, a former senior urban designer (retired) with the City of Vancouver (and someone who I deeply respect). Ralph shared with me his take on densifying RS-1 (Vancouver’s primary ‘single family’ residential zoning classification, which of course has long allowed for more a single dwelling on a single lot though the permitting of secondary suites and laneway houses).

Ralph’s take would increase the density of RS-1 (0.65 FSR but of course can be higher with laneway housing) to about 1.5 FSR (FSR is floor space ratio, the ratio of building to land area, for the uninitiated). This would allow nicely sized family-oriented units (1500 – 2100 square feet or larger) with the potential for a small (~400 square feet) basement suite in two 3-storey (plus basement) buildings (one in front, one in rear). Similar to Bryn Davidson’s version, this model does not require lot assembly and fits on a 33 foot wide lot.

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As I’ve posted before, I believe that Vancouver needs more small-scale infill residential options to help our neighbourhoods evolve. From my perspective, anything that can deliver 1000 square foot (or more) units in denser configurations, while maintaining the intricate and interesting fine-grain quality of our traditional neighbourhoods, needs to be considered. Ralph’s sketch shows another way that’s possible and its worth considering.