About the 2019 Summit

The Build Small Live Large Summit returns on November 7, 2019. This biennial event is where innovators share what’s working in their cities, and promote the best strategies to regulate, design, build, and finance smaller homes and the “Missing Middle” of housing options.

To better understand the current housing environment — and highlight for the need for the Summit — Keynote Richard Rothstein will offer a national perspective on the history of race and residential segregation. Other presentations explore recent legislative innovations that are making it easier to build small, and strategies to help your community adopt similar rules. 

Overall, the Summit will be a gathering place for visionary leaders and policymakers to explore smaller homes as a promising local response to housing shortages and climate change. Smaller homes:

  • use less energy and materials,
  • add to the supply of housing options in walkable, high-opportunity neighborhoods,
  • offer flexibility as households change over time,
  • and provide homeowners with a way to offset their mortgages with rental income.

About the Summit Organizers

The Build Small Coalition convenes the 2019 Build Small Live Large Summit with Metro, the elected regional government for the Portland metropolitan area. Metro is committed to working with partners across the region to find opportunities for innovative approaches and policies that result in more people being able to find a home that meets their needs and income levels.

The Summit receives additional support from the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). DLCD is a small state agency working in partnership with local governments, and state and federal agencies. It addresses the land use needs of the public, communities, regions, and the state.

The Summit is also funded by Oregon TGM. The Transportation and Growth Management program (TGM) is a partnership of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and Oregon Department of Transportation. The program helps governments across Oregon with skills and resources to plan long-term, sustainable growth in their transportation systems in line with other planning for changing demographics and land uses.

About the Coalition

The Build Small Coalition is a group of public, private and nonprofit partners. Working together, they promote the small-house movement — from creating awareness about smaller homes, including ADUs — to helping advance policies, regulations, and financing tools that will make it easier to build and pay for them. Metro convenes the Coalition as part of its Equitable Housing Initiative.


Heating and cooling our homes makes up about 80 percent of our homes’ total greenhouse gas emissions over their 70-year lifespans. This staggering figure from research by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality inspired the Build Small Coalition. With its partners, the coalition has expanded its focus to research and promote the role smaller homes could play in addressing issues of housing affordability and housing choice. It sees a strong potential in smaller housing as a tool to create more modestly-priced housing choices in high-demand neighborhoods.

The first Build Small Live Large Summit in 2012 focused on promoting small single-family homes, while the second in 2015 explored different types of smaller housing, including tiny homes on wheels and pocket communities. 2017’s summit promoted the small-house movement with its theme focused on accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Building a Movement

The Summit brings together policymakers, planners, builders, developers, and real estate and banking institutions to move the housing industry toward smaller footprint living.

Cities across North America face housing shortages and skyrocketing rents. These conditions have ignited a need in the housing market for small residences and flexible zoning. The Summit builds on this growing demand to promote a small housing movement where design, cost and care for the environment intersect with the needs of today’s families and urban neighborhoods.