Mississauga Could House Half a Million More Residents by 2041 Without Building Out or Building Up, Report Says

By:  Monica Kucharski

As more and more people settle in Mississauga, affordable housing and residential intensification have become important issues.  A city overtaken by single-family homes and sky-scraping condos and nothing in between, does not make for an optimally designed city.

A few years ago, Mississauga adopted innovative plan called Making Room for the Middle that addresses housing challenges for Mississauga’s middle-class residents.

And recently, the Ryerson City Building Institute used Mississauga as a case study in a report concluding that the city could house 435,000 more residents through to 2041, without spreading out into the already disappearing countryside or up into skyscrapers.

The report, “Finding the Missing Middle in the GTHA”, says that building multi-unit housing such as row-houses, stacked townhomes and mid-rises with five to 11 storeys with access to schools, services and work — could bridge the gap between downtown condos and suburban homes, allowing for more affordable housing, easing intensification and containing the sprawl.

According to the Ryerson City Building Institute, “Our research found huge potential for the ‘Missing Middle’ housing in the GTHA, using Mississauga as a case study to examine opportunities to add Missing Middle housing via intensification. Missing Middle housing includes low to medium density multi-unit housing forms such as row-houses, stacked townhomes and walk-ups.”

By developing medium-density housing, such as townhouses and mid-rises, 174,000 homes could be built in the next couple of decades at relatively affordable prices around transit hubs, existing residential neighbourhoods and “underutilized” lots such as strip malls and plazas.  This is a viable solution for both affordable housing and residential intensification challenges facing growing Mississauga.

The “missing middle” strategy is being embraced by many North American cities with similar housing and intensity issues as Mississauga—such as Minneapolis, Portland and San Francisco.