Vancouver, BC’s Price Tags newsletter takes on a nifty subject in Issue 67: the role that lanes have played in the city’s past ("generally housing the messy bits of life") and how they might evolve in the future. Among other things, lanes—which Americans might think of as "alleys"–might "allow a more gradual form of densification, providing access for the granny cottages and secondary suites that accommodate growth without changing the character of the community."
The photos tell much of the story, from the reduced-pavement "country lanes" that are being developed as an urban transportation showcase (similar to a Seattle project) to Mole Hill’s skinny, garden-friendly lane to prototypes of innovative infill housing in lanes.
The numbers are promising: A study of lane development in Toronto indicated it could increase housing stock by 5 percent, with a corresponding increase in the municipal tax base of some $11 billion.
P.S. – For archives of Price Tags, go here.