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The AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community (HCD) is a network of architects and allied stakeholders that promotes equity in housing, excellence in residential design, and sustainable, vibrant communities for all, through education, research, awards, and advocacy.

How to Overcome "Not in my Neighborhood" and Increase Affordable Housing

  • 1.  How to Overcome "Not in my Neighborhood" and Increase Affordable Housing

    Posted 05-11-2021 03:20 PM


    Different perceptions
    The pandemic has deepened the split in how Americans see their homes: The homeowners who were able to work from home and were stuck there for endless periods doubled down on my home is my castle: Home improvements are at an all time high, so is the demand for homes. Low income renters have a different take: Often stuck in multifamily complexes without sufficient open space nearby, they couldn't expand or improve their tenements. Substandard and unhealthy housing conditions such as mold, leaky windows and roofs, high heating and cooling cost from poor insulation had during COVID an even more acute impact on their health and their housing cost. Thus COVID highlighted housing inequities.
    Meanwhile the country continues to build way too many expensive luxury dwelling units and not nearly enough affordable ones, especially for the lowest income levels.
    Not enough housing for low income families 

    This could change soon: The federal government is set to throw unprecedented resources at US housing,  from supporting ownership to construction of more affordable housing to upgrades of existing public housing. Some of the proposed funding efforts are "place based" such as building or renovating units, some are tenant-based such as vouchers. (For a list of the specific actions see below). But even with the right resources and the political will at hand, housing for the poor is deeply controversial and the "Not in My Neighborhood" (a seminal book by Antero Pietala, describing exclusionary tactics in his -and my- adopted hometown of Baltimore) are alive and well, even after redlining, blockbusting, restrictive covenants and zoning are officially banned. 
    Little progress since 1968

    "Fair Housing" is federal law since 1968. Yet, housing is far from fair today, 53 years or more than half a century later. For example, the racial gap in homeownership is as wide as then, and if black and brown people own homes, their homes are worth far less  and their share on property taxes is ...READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
    AIA Awards Housing 2021. the book is now available on Amazon! Buy now >