Single-family housing in residential neighbourhoods is an unsustainable, but prevalent, urban land use. Planner and policymaker attempts to intensify housing forms within established neighbourhoods are often met with opposition – even to relatively low-density options such as laneway housing. Public participation practices at times amplify anti-densification views when the voices of the most motivated residents predominate. An examination of the attitudes of residents in the Dunbar neighbourhood toward laneway housing reveals the dominance of an anti-densification view, led and nurtured by the local residents association. However, several hidden narratives also exist suggesting a community that is cautiously supportive of laneway housing. This finding points to the importance of public participation processes that capture the views of a broad range of residents. However it also reveals the challenges of planning with communities when the views of residents may be decidedly different than the planning orientations of the city.
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