Our Work

New in our Toolbox: Looking to Traditional Neighborhoods to Create Housing Options

Town leaders around Vermont struggle with how to provide people with safe, decent housing that is affordable in their communities. They are working on how to provide options for people with different lifestyles – empty nesters, young people just out of college, single parents, retirees as well as growing families – while at the same time ensuring that these new homes fit the community’s character. When Planning Commissions start talking density, set backs and building envelopes, meetings can become strained as citizens struggle with what these numbers mean for their neighborhood.

To help communities visualize what these dimensions look like on the ground, we have added a new tool, Vermont Traditional Neighborhoods, that outlines key features of Vermont town centers that are designed with a focus on people, not cars. We have also evaluated several blocks in four case study towns – Bristol, Burlington, Orwell and Vergennes. These case studies provide a list of the uses, average and net densities, square footage and lot dimensions. We have provided photos and maps to help you translate these numbers into how it works on the ground in real neighborhoods.

To learn more, check out these new tools and case studies in our Community Planning Toolbox. Thanks to volunteer Chris Robbins for researching these case studies and to Chittenden Bank and TD Bank for their support of these tools that help communities address Vermont’s housing needs.