The Missing Middle Mixtape – Pattern Book Homes II

Posted on January 24, 2024 by Jennifer Rigterink

Volume II of Pattern Book Homes Now Available

Housing is an important priority for the Michigan Municipal League. Our State and Federal Affairs team follows a variety of programs from organizations like MSHDA and MEDC and housing legislation coming from Lansing and beyond. On the last Live with the League show of 2023, the team was joined by Melissa Milton-Pung, Program Manager in the League’s Policy Research Labs. While on the show, Melissa talked about the new Michigan Housing Data Portal and teased the expansion of the Pattern Book Homes project. She has spearheaded these housing tools and resources for League members, including the second volume of Pattern Book Homes for the 21st Century: The Missing Middle Mixtape. 

The Pattern Book Homes project aims to provide more housing resources to our communities and aid in reducing the cost of building. This is accomplished by offering copyright-free plans for both single- and multi-family homes that are already permit ready. The designs are meant to be easily added to existing neighborhoods and blend in with the established character.

Attainable housing is a hot topic across the state. Following the release of Volume I: This Used to Be Normal, the League has led conversations with communities about the project, and how they can update their zoning and regulations to fit these homes into their planning. These conversations have led the League to expand upon and release a second volume of homes.

What’s Included?

Volume II: The Missing Middle Mixtape includes four additional construction documents. They offer differing finish options to promote stylistic variation and choice, and options for Universal Design elements to make ground floor units barrier free, which increases accessibility. Additionally, many models have been designed for increased efficiency in speed of construction and energy usage. These options play into the volume’s name—a remix of the themes in the first volume of Pattern Book Homes.

Melissa created this remix with key insights from the project’s advisory group: “One of the things that we have really relied upon throughout this entire project—to help gut check us with what’s happening in the developer world—is to have a group of advisors who are practitioners in the field of real estate development or who are working in a field that is adjacent to that.”

The group consists of individuals from all over the state in a variety of industries, including academia, nonprofit organizations, state agencies, and real estate developers. Their knowledge, experience, and connections have allowed the project to create plans and designs that communities and developers are excited about.

“What defines success for us is if people are using these plans or [if] are they are emulating this model with something that is adapted for what works in their market and community,” Melissa said.

Melissa explained that these new plans are “more flexible modules,” and that there are components pulled from different architecture styles: “We’re allowing people to be able to remix them in a way that works best for their site, circumstances, and target demographic that they’re trying to serve.”

This flexibility has contributed to the project’s success. She was informed in late December 2023 that the City of Bay City had asked for permission to use the project’s imagery in their Master Plan to showcase the type of development they want to see in their neighborhoods. The City of Grand Rapids recently announced that they set aside 19 vacant land bank parcels for multi-family Pattern Book Homes. Other communities are working to implement the project, including Dearborn, Kalamazoo, and Cassopolis.

Your Chance to Learn More with Melissa 

Join the League March 12–13 in Lansing for this year’s CapCon, where Melissa will lead the session Hitting Home on Housing: Tools for Knowledge and Action, which addresses the urgent housing needs in our communities using the pattern book approach. Learn more at


Both volumes’ guides, individual construction documents, and more are available to view and download on the League website here. Additional Volume II details are available in our press release here.


Jennifer Rigterink is the League’s assistant director of state and federal affairs handling economic development, land use, and municipal services issues. She can be reached at [email protected]

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