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Community Resiliency by Design

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Date 2019
Client Cape Cod Commission

Union worked in collaboration with the Cape Cod Commission and several towns in Barnstable County to undertake a yearlong effort known as Community Resiliency by Design.

As part of a larger effort to help address the growing housing crisis on the Cape, the objective of this effort was to develop a series of context-appropriate housing prototypes. These could deliver needed housing options at densities somewhere between the typical single-family, detached house, and the large, multi-family buildings that are the dominant forms of residential development today. In many cases, these prototypes were based on existing building typologies that can be found on the Cape, albeit in very limited numbers.

This process included various community engagement opportunities to both garner feedback on the strategies proposed while also helping demystify and alleviate concerns around the notion of increased density. The effort culminated in a form-based code framework intended to help start the conversation around this strategy. It is meant to be a means of delivering context-appropriate densities in forms that are sympathetic to the historic development patterns of locations where they are likely to be implemented.

The Framework for Form-Based Codes on Cape Cod outlines how context-appropriate “missing middle” housing types can deliver needed housing at a range of densities. Included in the process were conceptual vision plans (below an example for Falmouth) that relate to the placetypes developed by the Cape Cod Commission.


An illustrative vision for a parcel in Falmouth, Massachusetts
Missing middle housing types graphic excerpt from the Form-Based Code report.