In 2018, the Province of Ontario introduced legislation to allow municipalities to zone for Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) as a way of increasing the number of housing units within single-detached dwelling zoning districts. This change in legislation, and similar moves by other provinces, has the potential to contribute to increasing Canada’s housing supply. A number of municipalities, including the City of Windsor, have amended zoning bylaws to allow ADUs. However, data tools to support the design, approval and building of ADus are still limited.
Last April, Family Services Windsor-Essex received a grant of $200,000 from CMHC’s Housing Supply Challenge to develop a proof of concept on an ADU data tool. The result is ADUSearch.ca. This solution to the Data-Driven Round of the HSC is an online interactive mapping tool that allows users to see if it is possible to build a detached Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) in compliance with the local zoning bylaws on an individual property.
CMHC has announced that the ADUSearch.ca project has received $2.2 million in Round 2 funding, to allow the tool to be scaled to provide data on the 100 largest municipalities across Canada. Join us to learn more about the project and additional dwelling units, watch a demonstration of the proof of concept, and see the results for the City of Windsor!
About the ADUSearch.ca tool
Using the City of Windsor as an example, our team developed a model to calculate the total buildable area of a residential property based on the setbacks, the lot coverage requirements, and other factors (such as parking and flood plain areas) using parcel files, building footprint files, and street centerline files from the City of Windsor’s Open Data Portal. Furthermore, we developed a categorization system for these requirements in order to determine the feasibility on both a lot by lot basis, and then at an aggregate level. We then developed 3 other layers of analysis using Statistics Canada data to determine proximity to amenities, as well as 2016 census data to determine financial feasibility for both homeowners and renters at an aggregate level.
About the project team
The project is led by Sarah Cipkar, a consultant and PhD student in Planning at the University of Toronto and Frazier Fathers, a local consultant and researcher through Family Services Windsor-Essex. The Proof of Concept was developed with a working group that includes Dr. Anneke Smit, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Cities (C4C)at Windsor Law, and Dr. Hannah Moah, Professor of Engineering and Associate Director of the University of Windsor’s Cross Border Institute. An Advisory Committee made up of community members and stakeholder organizations with expertise in housing and related policy provided oversight and feedback to the project. Several UWindsor law and engineering students provided research support for the project. The website was built by local tech company Parallel 42 Systems.