Ezra Lipton: Guide to Secondary Suites


Los Cabos, Mexico is a rapidly expanding city, expected to triple by 2040 to over 600,000. Thoughtful housing solutions are necessary to combat the sprawl that is often associated with rapid growth.

Secondary suites are an excellent opportunity for combating sprawl while increasing housing availability and maintaining Los Cabos’s unique character. 75% of the buildings in the municipality are single story and have small footprints. Secondary suites are built on existing properties, above or adjacent to the current dwellings. They are built and managed by homeowners, offering them an opportunity for additional income. Los Cabos will be able to encourage secondary suite development by providing information to property owners.

Ezra‘s project involved creating informative pamphlets that explain secondary suites and their benefits. The pamphlets included information on their legality, potential architectural designs, financing and business plans.


He also created proposals for the strategic development of empty lots, including concept designs, and evaluated the feasibility through a cost analysis.

vacant lot proposal.PNG

Strategies such as these for higher density housing are included in Instituto Municipal de Planeacion (IMPLAN) vision for 2040 to combat urban sprawl. IMPLAN Los Cabos predicts that by implementing their vision strategy that the city could save 67% of building costs by 2040 compared with a business as usual approach (Estudio de Implicaciones, IMPLAN, 2012).

Ezra Lipton worked as an Urban Development Research Assistant at Instituto Municipal de Planeacion (IMPLAN) in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Read more blog posts about Ezra’s project:

Ezra Lipton’s Guide to Secondary Suites – A Strategy to Promoting Density by Sara Hermida

How to grow and other ponderings by Ezra Lipton