Expanding Housing Choice: Missing Middle Housing Study Phase 1 Report

Phase 1 Overview

During Phase 1 (Oct. 2020 – Fall 2021) of the Missing Middle Housing Study, the study team has relied on community engagement to identify priorities and concerns related to expanding housing supply and choice in Arlington and to determine housing types to study in Phase 2. Community engagement has taken the forms of an online kick-off event, a virtual dialogue on the study’s Research Compendium, a virtual listening tour, and two online feedback opportunities.

Phase 1 Report 

Expanding Housing Choice: The Missing Middle Housing Study Phase 1 Report(PDF, 38MB)

The study team shared the Phase 1 report with County commissions and the broader community during September and October 2021 before finalizing the report in November.

View the comment-response matrix from the commission review.(PDF, 210KB)

Watch a five-minute summary of the report:

Report Highlights

Clarity about the meaning of “Missing Middle”

  • Refers to the range of housing types that fit between single-family detached homes and mid- to high-rise apartment buildings
  • Commonly house-scaled buildings, but with more than one dwelling unit
  • Cost varies based on style, size, location, and market forces
  • Not correlated with a specific income bracket

Community priorities related to enabling more housing choice and supply

  • Reducing housing costs, adding supply, and adding housing options for the whole community (e.g., accessible housing, starter homes, senior housing)
  • Conserving tree canopy and maintaining connections to nature
  • Achieving sustainable land use, both via diversifying housing types to sustain a diverse community and limiting sprawl to reduce degradation of the natural environment
  • Ensuring that public investment (in schools, infrastructure, etc.) keeps pace with growth
  • Maintaining and fostering valued aspects of neighborhoods (e.g., transit, walkability, opportunities to get to know neighbors and build community)

Concerns related to enabling more housing choice and supply

  • Impacts of growth (stormwater, schools, loss of tree canopy)
  • Loss of existing housing stock and diversity
  • Suitability of Missing Middle housing in the context of existing neighborhoods

Housing types to study in Phase 2

  • Small lot single detached
  • Duplexes (side-by-side and stacked)
  • Triplexes, fourplexes, and other small multiplexes (buildings with 3-8 housing units)
  • Townhouses (side-by-side and stacked)

Scope of analysis in Phase 2

  • Housing type design analysis and recommendations
  • Locational analysis and recommendations, which will consider:
    • Equity
    • Environment
    • Transportation
  • Impact analysis
  • Economic feasibility analysis
  • Detailed methodology to be refined with consultant team

Schedule for Phase 2

  • Timeframe: 4th quarter of 2021 – 2nd quarter of 2022


Phase 3 of the study will examine how to implement the recommendations adopted in Phase 2.