Finding the Missing Middle

The Tampa Bay housing market is currently underserved in providing affordable housing options for residents, and that trend is expected to grow. One solution may be to provide a greater variety of housing types that can accommodate more people without changing the character of existing neighborhoods. The term Missing Middle, developed in 2012 by architect Daniel Parolek, is used to describe this type of compact multi-unit, low-rise housing, which falls in between lower-density single-family neighborhoods and denser multifamily buildings, and is designed to encourage walking, biking, and transit use.

Missing Middle housing helps create urban, walkable communities with smaller residences located close to goods and services. It serves a broad audience: first-time home buyers, smaller families, couples, retirees looking to age in place, adults with disabilities, car-free households, and many others. Several local communities have identified Missing Middle housing as a viable option to provide a wider selection of housing choices across income levels because of its land cost savings and appeal to varied audiences.

For interested local governments, we have compiled a number of resources:

  • The Finding the Missing Middle fact sheet, containing a toolkit and review of case studies that can be used to assist in modifying local codes and development standards
  • A PowerPoint with a discussion of Missing Middle planning approaches and incentives
  • A video of local government staff and developers describing the planning and building of Missing Middle developments
  • A blog post with a summary of our study findings

Next steps will include working with our local government partners to help implement Missing Middle housing in the communities of Pinellas County.

Knowledge Exchange Series - Website Icon In an effort to better serve the local communities in Pinellas County, Forward Pinellas is pleased to provide the Knowledge Exchange Series. We are conducting research and providing technical assistance on topics that shape the way Pinellas County redevelops. Please visit for future projects in the Knowledge Exchange Series.

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