Vancouver is the first city in North America to approve the large-scale construction of laneway housing, Mayor Gregor Robertson said yesterday.

The initiative, brought forward as an EcoDensity action item by the city’s previous NPA council, was approved Tuesday following several public hearings.

It will allow small, non-strata rental suites to be built in the lanes of 94 per cent of the city’s single-family lots.

“We are the first city in North America to implement laneway housing across the whole city,” Robertson said outside the Union Gospel Mission in the Downtown Eastside.

“We’re looking for more space for families to stay together, more affordable rental housing and making more of a difference on the green side, reducing the footprint on the environment.”

Robertson said it was a big step for Vancouver to take and one that will be watched by other cities. The new zoning applies to more than 60,000 homes.

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