Tiny Home Community Being Revived In Springfield

June 8, 2017

Breathing new life into Dancy Terrace, a community of historically-significant, tiny homes in Springfield.

Missing Middle Housing. Image Credit: Opticos Design

In the spectrum of modern-day housing styles with single family structures on one end and multifamily, mid-rise and high-rise structures on the other end, lies a hidden range of multi-unit or clustered housing types that once dominated workforce housing needs. Bungalow courts were one of several housing styles, compatible in scale with single-family homes, that were developed to create workforce housing after the turn of the century. With single-family and dense multifamily apartment and condo buildings now dominating today's housing market, the demand for affordable small-footprint or attached housing in the U.S. exceeds supply by up to 35 million units.

A typical bungalow court. Image Credit: Opticos Design.

Bungalow court's were made popular in Pasadena, California, having first appeared in the city in 1909 pioneered by Sylvanus Marston. This style of multi-family housing features a cluster of small, low-rise, single-family or duplex homes centered around a central green space and/or courtyard. Featuring limited amenities, such as no on-site parking, bungalow courts appealed to singles, couples and retirees of more modest means who wanted their own space. The housing style offered the individual privacy of a single residence with the communal benefits of a shared community space. These shared courts, typically aligned perpendicular to the street, take the place of a private rear yard and are an important community-enhancing element.

Image Credit: Carlton Landing, a new urbanism town in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma- roughly 90 miles south of Tulsa.

The bungalow court dominated multi-family housing construction throughout Southern California from their inception in 1909 through 1942. After World War II, bungalow courts gave way to denser garden apartments featuring two-story connected buildings oriented around a courtyard. The influence of these central shared spaces became so great, that Pasadena now requires that all multi-family residential projects outside of Old Pasadena (the Central Business District) be oriented around a landscaped courtyard. At one time, Pasadena had more than 400 bungalow courts, and 112 still stand today.

A bungalow court in Seattle, WA. Image Credit: DownsizeNW.

Bungalow courts are a form of Missing Middle Housing that provide a critical middle solution to affordable housing. Missing Middle Housing refers to various styles of affordable-by-design workforce housing that help meet the demand for walkable neighborhood living. Many believe that critically flawed conventional zoning policies discourage the kinds of Missing Middle Housing that have the ability to relive supply/demand pressures on housing prices in cities and walkable neighborhoods.

Next: Dancy Terrace isn't the only bungalow terrace in Jacksonville. A tour of the remaining examples of this housing style found in Jax's urban core.

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