New urbanists have been talking about granny flats and accessory dwellings for years. It looks like more homeowners (and cities) are embracing this concept as a way to add rental housing for family members or to offset mortgage costs. The above video is part of a story on backyard cottages from USA Today. In the article, Greg Nickels, a fellow at Harvard University, comments about the role of backyard cottages in increasing the supply of affordable housing:
Backyard cottages are a promising way to address the need for affordable housing without diminishing the character of urban neighborhoods, and they're creating more options for families who want to live near an elderly parent or adult child. "It's harder and harder for working people to live in the city," says former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels, now a fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics.I have always liked the idea of accessory dwelling units. Renaming them as 'backyard cottages' makes it all the more appealing. However, I don't think the cottage idea should be limited to urban neighborhoods. Suburban owners have lots of green space. Changing zoning rules to allow backyard cottages could bring about more affordable housing and increased density - two things that are often missing from suburban communities.