Building a Strong Town: Chuck Marohn Talk in Claremont, April 2019
Advice from Strong Towns’ President and Founder, Chuck Marohn:
Lower the bar of entry and allow the next increment by right.
How can this be applied to our housing shortage? Build smaller homes. And then allow homeowners – by right – to grow their home as their family (and wealth) grows. Imagine a young couple buys a small starter home. They have a child or two and need more space, so they build an addition, or an aging parent needs to move in, so they build an accessory dwelling unit.
Allow density to be gradually “leveled up” by right and a single-family home becomes a duplex, a duplex becomes a triplex, and so on.
I was reminded during Chuck’s presentation of a podcast by 99 Invisible, “Half a House”. The half house concept was in response to a natural disaster, but the concept is the same. The houses were simple, two-story homes, each with a wall running down the middle, splitting the house in two. One side of the house is ready to be moved into. The other side is just a frame around empty space, waiting to be built out by the occupant.
It was a way to provide an opportunity for homeownership to people who couldn’t afford a home while leaving room to grow.
This event was generously sponsored by New Hampshire Housing, and co-hosted by the City of Claremont, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, and Vital Communities.