1st Edition

Effective Urban Densification A Guide for Professionals and the Housing Industry

By Barry Johns Copyright 2025
    300 Pages 154 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    300 Pages 154 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The housing crisis confronts two of North America’s contemporary urban challenges: affordability and the need to curtail urban sprawl through densification of existing communities. Advancing a novel formula labelled BAAKFIL, this book introduces a new way of thinking about affordability and revitalization of mature neighbourhoods and communities. Beginning with an exploration of the monoculture of homogenous, average quality suburban housing stock in North America, subsequent chapters explore the serious issue of land cost; infill, zoning and Nimbyism in the context of the mass housing industry. Then, bridging the gap between theory and practice, the author introduces a novel theoretical design approach (BAAKFIL) as a practical formula for adding affordable residential units in established single-family neighbourhoods while respecting their defining features. The final chapters evaluate the efficacy of BAAKFIL as a conceptual model by exploring various ‘test bed’ sites where the framework is applied. This book will be a valuable resource for practicing architects in the housing domain, as well as for planners working in municipalities. It will also appeal to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students of urban design and architecture.

    1. Introduction  2. The Problem  3. BAAKFIL  4. BAAKFIL Business Model  5. BAAKFIL Design Tool-kit  6. Demonstration Projects  7. Conclusion  Author's Notes and Index


    Barry Johns is a Canadian Architect who began his career with Arthur Erickson in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a former Chancellor of the College of Fellows, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. His award-winning design practice in Edmonton, Alberta was founded in 1981.

    "This book offers valuable ideas and practices to support contemporary residential sustainable planning challenges: affordability and lowering carbon footprint. Barry’s vast professional experience is instrumental in translating theories into practice. It is an excellent tool for rethinking suburban communities and inner city neighbourhoods."

    Avi Friedman, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

    "Finally, a contribution to the Discipline of Design that offers a specific, scalable model for urban densification.  Barry Johns shares with us his deep understanding of the socio-economics of affordable housing and offers a clear path toward multigenerational adaptability and organic community growth."

    Brenda Webster Tweel, Stantec, Toronto, Canada

    "BAAKFIL offers a practical and beautiful architectural blueprint. The business model offers an innovative approach to affordability throughout urban and suburban communities. Barry Johns contributes a fresh, hopeful missing middle pathway–a much needed solution to our housing affordability crisis"

    Cherise Burda, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, Canada