Vancouver’s Laneway Homes By Lanefab Design/Build

Vancouver, BC is not only the most expensive place to live in Canada, but also the least affordable city in North America.

This is, in part, due to the city's geographical limitations which is wrapped by the Pacific ocean and Coast Mountain range.

In 2009, Vancouver passed legislation under the Eco-Density bylaw to permit laneway homes, as a means to increase density and provide more housing opportunities.

Since then, new 'as-of-right' laneway homes are being constructed all over the city.



Photo Courtesy of Lanefab Design/Build, Photographer Marina Dodis


In Vancouver, a laneway house is defined in the City Of Vancouver's Laneway Housing 'How To Guide' as "a small house at the rear of a lot near the lane and includes both a dwelling unit and parking/accessory uses. Laneway housing is allowed in all RS single family zones, RT-11/11N, and RM-7/7N. A laneway house can be permitted in addition to a secondary suite in the main house. A laneway house can be for family use or rental, but strata-titling is not permitted."


Photo Courtesy of Lanefab Design/Build, Photographer Marina Dodis


One firm meeting this growing niche market is Lanefab Design/Build. Lanefab Design/Build describes itself as "an integrated design/build company that crafts custom homes and laneway houses with design quality and energy efficiency as its core values." The above photo by Lanefab is of a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom laneway home located in East Vancouver. This design uses light interior colours to make the space feel as large as possible, while multiple windows flood the space with natural light.



Photo Courtesy of Lanefab Design/Build, Photographer Colin Perry

Photo Courtesy of Lanefab Design/Build, Photographer Colin Perry


Located in Vancouver's Dunbar neighbourhood, the above images showcase a 2 bedroom, 1 bath laneway infill by Lanefab Design/Build,



Photo Courtesy of Lanefab Design/Build, Photographer Colin Perry


According to green energy futures, laneway homes are a sustainable alternative to urban densification. They explain that density is key to vibrant cities - by increasing density you get less urban sprawl onto natural areas, a more effective transit system, increased housing options, and a more walkable city. Overall, the denser the city the lower the energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. 



Photo Courtesy of Colin Perry


At the time of this post, there are over 500 laneway homes in Vancouver. Will this trend will pick up in other Canadian cities? Toronto is making the process of building laneway homes a difficult one. According to Architect this City,  obstacles that disrupt the process in Toronto include: not having a through laneway, not having an existing laneway structure, and the fact that laneways are not considered legitimate streets. Calgary on the other hand is running pilot projects to see if laneway homes are suitable for their city. The CBC article, Laneway homes pilot project set for Calgary discusses more about this possibility.

Let's wait and see, but I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed!


Visit Lanefab Design/Build to view more of their incredible projects.


Researched and Written by Brennan Guse, Environment and Sustainability, The University of British Columbia

Posted In: British Columbia

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