Livable Places

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What is Livable Places?

The Livable Places initiative is a continuation of the Planning Department’s effort to update portions of Houston’s development codes to enhance walkability, affordability and equity.

Following City Council's approval of the Walkable Places and Transit-Oriented Development ordinance amendments in August 2020, the Livable Places Action Committee will focus on updating the City’s development codes to encourage the development and preservation of affordable, quality housing for all.

The committee aims to create opportunities to:

  • build housing on existing vacant lots within neighborhoods that are largely developed
  • increase housing options with access to alternative transportation, such as bicycling and mass transit
  • improve safety
  • preserve great neighborhoods

This effort draws from community preferences identified through several previous planning initiatives including Plan Houston, Resilient Houston and others.

Use this page to provide input and feedback to the committee. Visit here often to find out about meetings, ask questions, participate in discussions and surveys, and to learn more. Your participation is important to help guide how Houston develops.

Livable Places Action Committee Meeting

January 11th, 2021, 3 - 5 p.m.

  • Online Meeting link: https://bit.ly/3ePBVZy
  • Agenda: Coming soon
  • PowerPoint: Coming soon
  • Call-In Option: +1 936-755-1521 Conference ID: 712 377 538#


Learn More

In the Articles Tab, you will find various reading material that can provide context and definitions to support and provide meaning to the work the Livable Places Action Committee will discuss during its monthly meetings.

In the Proposed Amendments Tab, you will find information on various amendments proposed through the Committee's work. You can send us your comments or questions if any or start a forum discussion.

Thank you for your participation!

What is Livable Places?

The Livable Places initiative is a continuation of the Planning Department’s effort to update portions of Houston’s development codes to enhance walkability, affordability and equity.

Following City Council's approval of the Walkable Places and Transit-Oriented Development ordinance amendments in August 2020, the Livable Places Action Committee will focus on updating the City’s development codes to encourage the development and preservation of affordable, quality housing for all.

The committee aims to create opportunities to:

  • build housing on existing vacant lots within neighborhoods that are largely developed
  • increase housing options with access to alternative transportation, such as bicycling and mass transit
  • improve safety
  • preserve great neighborhoods

This effort draws from community preferences identified through several previous planning initiatives including Plan Houston, Resilient Houston and others.

Use this page to provide input and feedback to the committee. Visit here often to find out about meetings, ask questions, participate in discussions and surveys, and to learn more. Your participation is important to help guide how Houston develops.

Livable Places Action Committee Meeting

January 11th, 2021, 3 - 5 p.m.

  • Online Meeting link: https://bit.ly/3ePBVZy
  • Agenda: Coming soon
  • PowerPoint: Coming soon
  • Call-In Option: +1 936-755-1521 Conference ID: 712 377 538#


Learn More

In the Articles Tab, you will find various reading material that can provide context and definitions to support and provide meaning to the work the Livable Places Action Committee will discuss during its monthly meetings.

In the Proposed Amendments Tab, you will find information on various amendments proposed through the Committee's work. You can send us your comments or questions if any or start a forum discussion.

Thank you for your participation!

  • Kinder Institute Urban Edge: Houston hopes more homeowners will embrace housing literally in their backyard

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    The Kinder Institute Urban Edge blog took a thorough look at Accessory Dwelling Units in Houston and our recent ADU design competition.

    For more information on ADUs in Houston, visit https://www.letstalkhouston.org/adu.

  • Diversifying Housing Options with Smaller Lots and Smaller Homes

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    The National Association of Home Builders produced a report prepared by Opticos Design, Inc. The objective of Diversifying Housing Options with Smaller Lots and Smaller Homes is to explore "issues involved in building a greater mix of housing types that bring discreet density to neighborhoods using a palette that ranges from smaller homes, to accessory dwelling units, to Missing Middle Housing types."

    The report also examines regulatory and design options as well as the barriers that prevent these housing types. The analysis provides examples of "codes and built results that were developed at the market rate without the expectation of subsidies so that we could understand how successful a code can be in influencing diversity and affordability of housing options."

  • My Home is Here: Harris County’s Housing Needs Assessment And 10-Year Strategy

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    Harris County commissioned a county wide survey and study to examine the types and prices of homes needed in our communities. The survey, conducted by Kinder Institute for Urban Research, analyzed pertinent data and gauged the public’s perception of housing opportunities. The survey results and listening sessions were formulated into My Home is Here: Harris County’s Housing Needs Assessment And 10-Year Strategy. Released in October 2021, the document serves to guide local decision makers in creating housing policies and strategies that reflect the wants and needs of Harris County.

  • The Cottages on Vaughan

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    This is a case study of a cottage community in Clarkston, Georgia, a suburb northeast of Atlanta. This case study is produced by MicroLife Institute that promotes micro-living and its benefits. They support homes of “all shapes and sizes” that bring communities together, among other goals. They speak to filling the missing middle housing gap with projects like the Cottages on Vaughan.

    This housing project provides a great example of common green space design and has a unique approach to separate parking. It is also climate-conscious, utilizes solar panels, room sized porches, and edible landscaping features.

    Read The Cottages on Vaughan.

  • We Ran the Rent Numbers

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    WE RAN THE RENT NUMBERS ON PORTLAND’S 7 NEWLY LEGAL HOME OPTIONS

    The original article is posted on Sightline.org and is written by Michael Andersen.

    Portland recently lifted a ban on 7 housing types. They include: a duplex, a triplex, a fourplex, a mixed-income or below-market sixplex, a large group co-living home, a double ADU, and a tiny backyard home on wheels.

    Working with Portland-based consultant Neil Heller, a faculty member at the Incremental Development Alliance, the study sought to answer the question - Will any of them actually be built? The study estimates the cost for each new housing type weighed against any proposed rent based on current market conditions.

    Read the article to learn what was discovered about each housing type.


  • "Best practices for ending exclusive single-family zoning" by CNU/Dan Parolek

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    Image: Opticos

    Although the title speaks to cities with zoning ordinances, this article lists six tips for successful implementation of Missing Middle housing. The article highlights cities that have changed their policies to allow certain missing middle types that may parallel recent discussions by the Livable Places Action Committee.

    One of the major points is that increasing the number of units does not have to equate to larger buildings. House scale buildings/Missing Middle Housing can accommodate more units, more choices, and higher densities. And, it can often match the character of existing communities.

    Read the full article.

  • The ABCs of ADUs

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    The ABCs of ADUs is a guide that explains how ADUs expand housing options for people of all ages. It provides results and statistics from the 2018 AARP Home and Community Preferences Survey, has examples of different ADUs, covers many benefits of ADUs and more. The guide, produced by AARP.org, explains how ADUs expand housing options for people of all ages.

    Read the ABCs of ADUs.

  • ADU Photos

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    Would you like to look at examples of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)? Visit https://www.BuildingAnADU.com to see pictures of ADUs in various stages of construction and examine creative design elements. The photos are arranged by category including construction, conversion, interior, exteriors, and much more.


  • Attainable Housing and Family Renter Housing

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    ATTAINABLE HOUSING

    The Urban Land Institute's report entitled Attainable Housing: Challenges, Perceptions, and Solutions(External link), highlights best practices and ideas on developing attainable housing. Attainable housing is defined as for-sale housing serving moderate-income working families. Units are affordable to households with incomes between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income (AMI) without subsidy.

    Houston's Housing and Community Development Department identified the 2020 AMI(External link) for a family of four as $63,050 and $94,550, respectively.

    Read the study to learn more about what has influenced the change in demand developers and builders are seeing "as a result of the rise of the small household, which has implications for denser, smaller homes at attainable price points."

    For more information, visit ULI's Attainable Housing(External link) website.

    FAMILY RENTER HOUSING

    Declining homeowner rates, rising housing costs, the expected increase in millennials starting families and an increase in multigenerational households are spurring a need for "new and interesting forms of rental housing that target a broader range of households, including many families." The new family-oriented rental housing is discussed in ULI's report, Family Renter Housing: A Response to the Changing Growth Dynamics of the Next Decade(External link). What is family-oriented rental housing? It is defined as housing of any density with two or three bedrooms.

    For more information, visit ULI's Family Rental Housing(External link) website.

  • Accessory Dwelling Units - Take the First Step

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Page last updated: 13 January 2022, 13:44