Terms and Definitions

Many terms are used to describe residential development and guidelines. Below are a number of key terms that will be used in this study.

    1. Density and intensification

Density can have several different meanings. In this study it means:

  • Unit density (number of units per hectare)
  • Population density (number of people per hectare)

Intensification occurs when there is an increase in density. In this study, intensification refers to the increase in the number of residential units or population density in a given area. Unit or population intensification is critical to ensuring that the City manages growth in a way that reduces sprawl, uses resources more efficiently, and provides access to amenities, jobs and services for more people. This may occur by:

  • Building a residential dwelling on a vacant lot
  • Adding a secondary suite in an existing or new residential dwelling
  • Lot division which results in one house being replaced by two
  • Replacement of single family homes with townhouses

Design Regina: The Official Community Plan defines intensification as, “Construction of new buildings or addition to existing buildings on serviced land within existing built areas through practices of building conversion, infill or redevelopment.”


2. Infill Development

For the purpose of these studies, Infill Development refers to the addition of new residential dwellings in existing established neighbourhoods. Infill Development can include 1) development of a new residential dwelling on vacant land, 2) additions and structural alterations to existing dwellings, or 3) the redevelopment of existing dwellings.

3. Laneway and Garden Housing

Laneway and Garden Housing refers to Secondary Suites which are detached from the primary dwelling, and located near the rear or side of the property.  These suites are also commonly referred to as garage suites, granny flats, carriage or coach houses. They may be accessed by a laneway (where one exists) or a pathway.

4. Residential Intensification

Residential intensification refers to the introduction of additional residential units beyond that which currently exists on a given property. Residential Intensification may occur either through 1) development of a previously vacant lot, 2) internal retrofits and renovations to existing dwellings to accommodate secondary suites, 3) integral or separate / detached additions to existing dwellings to accommodate secondary suites, or 4) redevelopment of an existing single family dwelling to accommodate multiple units, either through the combination of primary and secondary suites on a single lot or multiple suites on smaller sub-divided lots.

5. Context-Sensitive or Compatible Development

For the purpose of these studies, the terms “Context-Sensitive” and “Compatible Development” refer to development which considers the character and design of other buildings on the street or neighbourhood. Within the context of these studies, these terms refer to building forms that are mutually tolerant and can exist together without negatively impacting each other. It does not necessarily mean that new buildings must be ‘the same as’ existing buildings, but that they should share some key characteristics. Such characteristics may include, but are not limited to, building height, ground floor height, massing, depth, proportions, setbacks, etc.

6. Primary Dwelling

The primary dwelling is the main residential unit on a site.

7. Secondary Suite

A secondary suite, sometimes called an accessory suite, is a second, separate unit on a property. It is a self-contained living space, with its own kitchen, bathroom and living area. Currently, the City of Regina permits one secondary suite per Primary Dwelling, but it must be built within the Primary Dwelling – as a basement, main floor or upper floor suite.

8. Lot Coverage

Lot coverage is the portion of a lot that is covered by any building or structure. There is usually a maximum percentage permitted.

9. Form

Form is the shape or configuration of a building. Two buildings of the same size or massing may have very different forms, making them look very different.

10. Massing

Massing refers to the physical bulk or size of a building. The massing may be organized in many different ways, depending on the form.

11. Scale

Scale refers to the relative size of a building as perceived by a viewer. It refers to the relationship between the elements of the building (like doors, floor heights, etc.) or the relationship between a building and its neighbours.

12. Angular Plane

Angular planes are often used to identify the allowable height, shape and/or size of a building. The advantage of an angular plane, rather than strictly defined limits, is that they create a building that is proportional to the lot size, meaning that a larger building may be built on a larger lot. Angular planes can identify maximum building height or massing that ensures that shadows are not cast on neighbouring properties or that privacy is not impacted.

13. Setback

A setback is the required distance between a property line and the building (or two buildings), usually a maximum and/or minimum. Guidelines can identify front, rear and side setbacks, or the setback between the Primary Residence and the garage or secondary suite.

14. Amenity Space

This refers to outdoor space on the property, including a backyard, a terrace, a patio or a front porch.