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I saw this odd, futuristic-looking dwelling on Leonard Place, a glorified alleyway in Kensington Market

Dear Urban Decoder: I saw this odd, futuristic-looking dwelling on Leonard Place, a glorified alleyway in Kensington Market. Who lives there, and what’s the story?

That’s the home of Jeffery Stinson, an architecture prof at U of T and a local laneway-housing pioneer. For those not familiar with the laneway housing dream, advocates want to create a new category of downtown infill by replacing back-alley garages and empty spaces with cheap, compact homes. Built back in 1989, Stinson’s 2,200-square-foot domicile was conceived as something of a demonstration project for the idea. Since then, other local architects and urban radicals have come on board with similar developments. But whereas studies indicate that laneway dwellings could increase downtown housing densities by at least five per cent, the idea is still struggling to take hold. Unfavourable zoning laws and problems with such essential services as garbage removal and mail delivery, among other issues, are stalling wider adoption of this charming alternative to the common condo.

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