Doctor of Design – BAAKFIL


This Doctor of Design thesis introduces BAAKFIL, a new paradigm to address the housing crisis in Canada with a focus in Edmonton, Alberta. My research objective is to explore a practice-based solution through a new business model and an architectural design tool-kit to illustrate how this model can be applied.

BAAKFIL demonstrates how it is possible to address land cost to increase affordability. It promotes gentle densification of mature neighborhoods, in response to socio-cultural needs, demographics and sustainable community revitalization.

A new business model about equity leveraging unlocks underutilized land; where an owner partners with a developer by putting up backyard space for development while retaining tenure in the original house and property. The developer builds new housing without purchasing or financing land. Land cost is removed from the project proforma, substantially reducing development costs and instantly increasing affordability for the consumer.

This is a scalable solution across Canada. The BAAKFIL Design Tool-kit gives agency to the landowner (who continues to live in place) in promoting the design of sustainable and respectful architecture, responsive to neighborhood context.

Broader conclusions are included about density, the micro-community and sustainable, resilient cities. BAAKFIL improves the ecology of urban neighborhoods by advocating the revitalization of city alleys.

BAAKFIL is an acronym for Back Alley Advantage, Kinship, Family & Integrated Living. It is a densification model that supports the preservation of existing housing and population growth at the same time. BAAKFIL integrates innovation within the housing industry at a societal scale. It positions the architect inside the housing question. With gentle densification of mature neighborhoods over time, BAAKFIL increases affordability with redeeming socio-cultural value.

Watch the Design Fiction Narrative
View the BAAKFIL Design Tool-Kit
For visitors interested in reading the thesis in its entirety, please contact Barry via the Connect page.