The Cape housing market does not adequately meet the needs of our residents and workforce at varied incomes and life stages. The region is dominated by single-family detached housing, which comprise more than 80% of all units on Cape Cod. That’s higher than the national average of 63.5% and a third higher than the rest of Massachusetts, 52%. The cost of single-family homes, combined with the lack of variety and choice in our region limits mobility, economic growth, impairs natural areas and costs more to serve than appropriately sited compact housing.
The Cape Cod Commission and partner towns of Eastham, Orleans and Falmouth are looking at acceptable alternatives to this traditional development pattern in each community. In support of broad community engagement, which started with town-based meetings held in June, the Commission created an online visual preference survey to gauge local preferences for building forms, scale, height and styles. Preference and interests are expected to vary based on setting and community context.
This survey is part of the Commission’s Community Resiliency by Design Project, which looks at how to meet market demand for smaller, more affordable housing units in areas supported by infrastructure and neighborhood services. The Commission contracted with the award-winning design team of Union Studio to develop model residential designs to meet regional housing needs that are sensitive to community character and natural resources.
The three towns were selected as representative of common development patterns across the Cape, from rural to more urban areas. Each area is addressed separately in the survey.
Along with identifying preferred housing types, scale and arrangements for each of the study areas, the survey also seeks detail on the respondents’ current housing circumstances and future needs. Determining if there is a desire for additional housing types will inform the model designs in each of the study areas.
The survey is live at www.capecodcommission.org/survey. Responses submitted by Oct. 3 will be used to inform the next round of community meetings. Workshops are scheduled for Oct. 23 in Falmouth and Oct. 25 in Orleans.