Skip to main content

Unlocking the Potential of Missing Middle Housing

Cover image of Unlocking the Potential of Missing Middle Housing brief


Read the full paper here.



David Garcia, Policy Director

Muhammad Alameldin, Policy Associate

Ben Metcalf, Managing Director

William Fulton, Terner Fellow


Despite recent zoning reform successes, regulatory, financing, and construction barriers still pose challenges to making missing middle housing, with its benefits for affordability and sustainability, a more widespread form of housing development. This brief examines the barriers that developers of missing middle housing are facing. The brief examines the history of missing middle housing as well as why facilitating this type of development has benefits. The brief then shares findings from two roundtable conversations we hosted in March of 2022 with missing middle developers from throughout California, as well as from places around the country such as Portland, Oregon, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Boston, Massachusetts, South Bend, Indiana, as well as Texas and Oklahoma. These developers specialize in small-scale development, ranging from ADUs and duplexes up to twelve-unit multifamily projects.


Cottage cluster proejct photo courtesy of Brian Foulkes.

Related Articles

New Pathways to Encourage Housing Production: A Review of California’s Recent Housing Legislation

In this brief, we interview planners and land use lawyers to gain an early understanding about the extent to which…

Regulations and Land Use

2023 Legislative Preview: Will New Faces and Budget Constraints Change Housing Focus in Sacramento?

UPDATE: Since the legislative bill deadline, a number of additional housing ideas have been put forth by legislators by amending…

Photo of California capitol building in Sacramento
Regulations and Land Use

Incentivizing Housing Production: State Laws from Across the Country to Encourage or Require Municipal Action

Authors: Shazia Manji, Truman Braslaw, Chae Kim, Elizabeth Kneebone*, Carolina Reid | TERNER CENTER Yonah Freemark | URBAN INSTITUTE This…

Map of the United States showing number of laws analyzed per state. California, Oregon, Washington are 10+. Utah, Connecticut, and Maryland are 5-10. Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are 2-4. Hawaii, South Dakota, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey are 1. Remaining states are 0.
Regulations and Land Use

San Diego’s Success in Spurring Missing Middle Housing: The Accessory Dwelling Unit Bonus Program

Over the last several years, the State of California has undertaken several policy initiatives to spur the creation of missing…

Rendering of residential neighborhood with small 3-story apartment building behind single-family home.
Regulations and Land Use