Cities offer access to so much of what people want: jobs, transportation, healthcare, safety, education, variety, mobility. But cities also have limited spatial and geographical dimensions. And so, the land on which the physical infrastructure of cities is constructed - the space for buildings, parks, streets, utilities - has a price tag. WHO? has the right to this valuable space, and HOW? its value should be regulated, are core questions to the complicated topic of affordable housing. It is a subject central to the studies and pursuits of urbanists, architects, engineers, and designers, as well as sociologists, economists, and politicians.
As history has shown, affordable housing relies only in part on design. Its success or failure is dependent on a number of complex factors including trends in the housing market, local and regional incomes, transportation, zoning, and land use policies. The construction or re-purposing of existing infrastructure for affordable housing requires the support of politicians, city planners, and residents.
WHAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
Community co-living facilities. 3D-printed homes. Shared home-ownership contracts. Government-subsidized apartments. Prefabricated homes, delivered assembled or shipped in flat-pack boxes. Tax credits. Transit-oriented development. Funding programs for teachers to afford housing down-payments within their school districts. Stackable modular housing units for growing families. Inclusionary zoning ordinances incentivizing below-market-rate units within new housing developments. Second homes designed to fit within rear lots. Intergenerational house-share programs for sheltering the elderly at below-market rent. Softwares for tracking affordable properties. Online marketplaces for cheap student homes...
There is no one solution to making housing affordable. Traditional government-subsidized properties have been complemented by a host of new ideas and platforms enabling people to own or purchase homes. Startups, investors, entrepreneurs, and both for- and non-profit organizations are tackling global affordable housing crises, inventing new means for driving down housing prices. All of these ideas fall within the wide-ranging topic of Affordable Housing.
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