School of Cities / Event

How to Put Affordable in the Missing Middle: A four-part webinar series

Banner for the Missing Middle webinar series

A four-part webinar series presented by the School of Cities, City Building TMU and ULI Toronto, February 6 to 9, 2023.

The Ontario government is changing exclusionary zoning, and many municipalities, including Toronto, are rolling out programs specific to adding units to single-family properties such as multiplexes and backyard or laneway suites. But will these programs lead to significant housing supply? Will any of these homes be affordable?

The four-part webinar “how-to” brought together the industry experts who will trailblaze a renovation revolution across our neighbourhoods and ensure Missing Middle housing gains are affordable and equitable, starting at the smallest scale – single-family properties – the “Missing Little.”

Our campaign

This event is presented in conjunction with A Charter for Affordable and Equitable Gentle Urban Density, a project of University of Toronto’s School of Cities and City Building at Toronto Metropolitan University. Learn more about this campaign to target affordability and equity in Missing Middle housing supply at

Webinar sessions

Monday, February 6, | 12:00 PM to 1:45 PM

Part One: The “Missing Little” — A Renovation Revolution! Plus Introduction to the Series

Creating the blueprint for simple, replicable designs that are cost effective and easy to deploy

Introducing the “Missing Little” – the opportunity to cost-effectively renovate the smaller-scale segment of the Missing Middle spectrum. How can we design and deliver units quickly and affordably to live in? Can we reduce construction costs by using less construction and simplified replicable plans? How do the numbers pencil out? With an opening introduction to the webinar series by Karen Chapple (School of Cities) and Cherise Burda (City Building TMU), and pre-panel presentation by Michael Piper.

Moderated by Michael Piper, Assistant Professor, John H. Daniels Faculty, University of Toronto

Participating Speakers: 

  • Janna Levitt – LGA Architectural Partners;
  • Kfir Gluzberg – Kilogram Studio;
  • Jacob Sofer – Metrosuite;
  • Rohan Walters – Spaces by Rohan Inc.

Tuesday, February 7 | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Part Two: Busting through the Barriers to the “Missing Little”

The blueprint for the Missing Little is here; now let’s make way for the Renovation Revolution! 

In this session, we examine what needs to change, from bylaws to building code, to adopt replicable, simplified, cost-effective designs for “Missing Little” housing supply. What can we learn from leaders in other cities? How can a municipal one-stop shop make the whole process easy and cost effective, from financing to construction?

Moderated by Karen Chapple, Director, School of Cities, University of Toronto

Participating Speakers: 

  • Leith Moore – R-Hauz Solutions
  • Denise Pinkston – President, The Casita Coalition, and Partner, TMG Partners;
  • Bindu Shah – Town of Caledon;
  • Eli Spevak – Orange Splot LLC

Wednesday, February 8 | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Part Three: Uptake versus Affordability: What’s in it for the Homeowner?

Finding the balance between homeowner profits and affordable units

Why would any homeowner want to go through a disruptive renovation and not charge as much market rent/sale price as possible? Can we create new innovations in financing and incentives to strike a balance between homeowner revenue and affordable units? And what is the potential role of the National Housing Strategy?

Moderated by Cherise Burda, Executive Director, City Building at Toronto Metropolitan University

Participating Speakers: 

  • Kira Gerwing – Sacha Investments Ltd.;
  • Marcel Greaux – Ownablii;
  • Stewart Dutfield – City of Toronto;
  • Gracen Johnson – Canadian Mortgage and Housing.

Thursday, February 9 | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Part Four: This Renovation Revolution Includes Equity

Ensuring up-zoned neighbourhoods don’t become exclusive

How do we up-zone and gently increase the density of our neighbourhoods while promoting more inclusivity? How can Missing Middle policies and regulatory changes by municipalities and civic leaders facilitate equity and inclusion? Are there best practices and successful case studies that we can learn from?

Moderated by Cheryll Case, Founder and Director, CP Planning

Participating Speakers: 

  • Chazandra Kern – Office of Office;
  • Paul Lewkowicz – Region of Peel;
  • Sherry Taylor – Durham Community Land Trustees.