Building

Explores issues and events concerning the physical structure of affordable housing, its planning, creation, upkeep and preservation.

Squeaky Wheel/Diplomat: What Is Needed For A Public Housing Voice

A sprinkling of encouraging notes from several countries might signal a sea change in the treatment of public/social housing tenants. The trend continues for fixing up more of the...

Updated: New Life For 100 Year Old Buildings?

In June 2020, affordablehousingaction.org reported about a renovation project at an eight unit tenement in Glasgow. Now, the BBC is providing an update on how it's coming along. The...

Up In Smoke: Current Fate of UK Proposals For Cannabis Construction

Insulation? It doesn't have to be a manufactured product. It can be grown. Seaweed insulation made from shallow water eel grass once provided an excellent quality of insulation, gathered...

Want To Lower Crime Rates? Fix Up Housing

The City of Philadelphia began providing funding for low income homeowners to make basic system repairs to their housing in 1995. Now, research from the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates...

Bunkabins: What Idiot Let That Idea Fly Unchanged?

Sure, we get it. "Bunk" and "Cabin." Put them together and you've got cute little Bunkabins, small, private, inexpensive shelters for people who are homeless. But we're talking the United...

HUD To Choose Safety Of Investors Over Public Housing Tenants

Not all that long ago, private landlords were to be the new caretakers of America's low and no income residents who could not survive in the free rental housing...

The Green Challenge For Social Housing Apartments (And Others)

What do you think of the changes that will need to happen to your apartment by 2030, whether social housing or free market housing? If you are roughly 79,999th on...

Modern Marie Antoinette’s Poor Housing Tenants: Let Them Eat E-Bikes!

People should only get what they deserve. This "survival of the fittest" mantra has dominated neo-liberal thinking for several decades. It pervades the policies of America's Department of Housing...

What Do London, UK & Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada Have In Common?

Besides a rather large number of things the two locations do not share, one they do is local councils prepared to risk human lives by tinkering with building codes...

Housing For All: Have We Abandoned The Will To Plan Utopia?

In a dog eat dog housing world, those who can afford housing compete in a low-choice social universe that offers the suburban dream home sprawl versus gentrified shoe box...

Province Ensuring Greater Accessibility In Public Housing

The Canadian Province of British Columbia is evaluating all of BC Housing's homes built since 2019 to determine which units deserve certification as both liveable and accessible. One indication of...

What Might The Butterfly Effect Do For U.S. Public Housing?

This year, 2021, the prestigious international Pritzker prize was awarded to a pair of French architects who specialize in retrofitting old buildings, especially public housing. It has inevitably re-focused interest...

NYC Grapples With Low-Income Internet: A Community Necessity?

Do you live in a community or region short-changed on broadband internet accessThe terms "high-speed" and "broadband" are pretty much interchangeable. Use the term "high-speed" if you'd like to...

Los Angeles Looks For Middle Between NIMBY And YIMBY

NIMBY — Not In My Back Yard. Keep current by-laws. The neighbourhood is perfect just as it is. No more housing development, even though the city needs houses. YIMBY — Yes...

A New Facade For Grim North American Public Housing?

America's public housing, born in the 1930's, looks refreshing to the eye even today. . . What's wrong with the above sentence? By and large, the average eye sees and...

At Sea In A Pandemic, Poorer Oakland Students Thrown A Rescue Line

Not all that long ago, a school teacher could assign research projects to students based only upon books and resources available in the school library. Those days vanished in...

Here’s The Dope On Green Public Housing In Paris

Vegetation, it seems, has a history as effective housing insulation. Straw bale houses were not uncommon as first residences during the settlement of the American WestStraw bale houses are...

Cabrini-Green: The Frankenstein Monster of American Public Housing . . .Revisited

Ten years ago, the last building of Chicago's Cabrini-Green public housing project was torn down. During its lifetime, the 23 buildings housing more than 15,000 mostly black residents became a...

Australia Ponders How Community Housing Benefits All, Not Just The Poorest

A recent article in Australia's Fifth Estate explores two important benefits that may accrue in the future from a more active program of building community housing.There's literally a whole world...

New York City Requires Housing Broadband: Spirit Willing, But Flesh is Weak

Recent good news for rural America: billions of federal dollars have been promised to provide high speed broadband internet access that is currently as spotty as the rural housing...

Making Private Market Housing Sustainable For Tenants With Low Incomes

The Wellesley Institute is a champion for the social determinants of health in Canada. The Institute has focused considerable attention on the link between housing and health. One example...

Public Housing, “Reverence For Pre-Existing Structures” Captures Architecture’s Top Prize

World-wide, it might seem that there are few opportunities to bring meaningful architectural design to the budget constraints of public housing construction. Certainly this lament can often be found...

Benefits And Challenges of Green Social Housing As Low Income Security For UK

With housing firmly established as suitable gambling chip in the world's stock markets, it is becoming increasingly difficult for those with lower incomes to even rent it, let alone...

U.K. Olympian Cyclist Raises Money For Transitional Tiny Village

How do tiny homes fit into a country's affordable housing scheme? The attraction of tiny homes is undeniable to certain kinds of imagination, impractical as they might seem to...

Why Acquire Existing Rental Housing As Part Of An Affordable Housing Strategy?

This post considers the potential of a program to acquire existing rental units as part of an affordable housing strategy. The context is Canada, but the thinking could be...

Does Architecture Deliberately Support Racism? MoMA Examines How And Why

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is currently exploring the "bad and ugly" aspects of racist architecture as a prelude to a celebration of the "good"...

City of Toronto Helps Homeless-Loving Carpenter Follow in Famous Footsteps

In an age where social media allows everyone to preach the gospel of certainty for every possible lifestyle, social behaviour and religious belief under the sun, we wondered how...

Social/Public Housing An Aboriginal Disaster? Why Not Papakāinga?

There would seem to be nothing quite as catastrophic as Inuit housing in Canada's far north, where much of the population was forcibly resettled much less than a century...

Public Housing As Architectural Activism: A Sydney Working Example

From Sydney, Australia to Ontario, Canada: celebrating a new Ontario Association of Architects president with a Down Under query about the role of architects in public Housing. Are we...

Does “Right To Housing” Also Mean “Right To Internet”?

Slowly but surely, communities are looking towards internet access as a key infrastructure component of housing. Expressed as a part of the United Nations right to adequate housing, infrastructure...

Affordablility: 3D House Printing Vs Modular Construction. The Winner Is?

Can high-tech imagination-tickling 3-D house-printing out-wrestle factory-based cookie-cutter modular homes and solve international housing affordable housing crises? Straight from the 3-D horse's mouth (a 3-D printing mag), the answer is...

Still Standing? A Lick Of Paint And Bob’s Your Uncle: Good As New Public Housing!

Refurbish decrepit empty housing, including dead-but-hasn't-fallen down public/social housing? Maybe it's a good idea. A growing number of nations worldwide, from those who think public housing is or was a...

Lost In Translation: Warm & Comfortable Tenants After Green Energy Retrofit

Imagine! Spring, in all its greenest finery! Giddy goats gamble on grassy hillsides, the fresh scent of new-mown hay wafts in through the kitchen window between billowing curtains. All the...

What Future For Truly Affordable Do-It-Yourself Housing?

Is there anyone in the world not familiar with what has become known as "flat-pack" technology, thanks to its international masters, IKEA. Build your own day-bed complete with blanket drawers...

Green New Deal For Housing Part 2: Getting To Yes

The Tyee has published a five-part series about a green new deal for housing. The Tyee is based in Vancouver, where housing prices are pricing out more and more...

Green New Deal For Housing Part 1: Connecting Housing Prices And Climate Change

The Tyee has published a five part series about a green new deal for housing. The Tyee is based in Vancouver, where housing prices are beyond the reach of...

Updated – From Tents Without Rents To Sheds With Beds: “No Thanks” Either Way, Say Neighbours

Just over two years ago, we reported on tiny home communities that were being built in Seattle and other cities across the United States. Today, we're checking in again,...

Tiny Transitional Homes. Some Assembly Requir— What? Done Already?

How to explain what seems to be a middle class romance with the idea of getting away from it all by hiding in your own closet — one transported...

Tempest In An Unoccupied Teapot: Homeless-Ravaged UK Has Too Many Homes

Prior to and during the pandemic, United Kingdom builders have had the same attitude as North American Builders — "Build, Build, Build!" That attitude in the United States has...

A Drop-In Centre With A Housing Mission

Here's an article about the sale of a heritage rooming house building in a Toronto neighbourhood. The new owner is bucking the trend to gentrification and will continue to...

NYCHA: 175,000+ Units Need $45 Billion Repairs + Energy Efficiency? Impossible?

With the kinds of New York City Housing Authority numbers in the headline above, it's not surprising that even large governments (think cities, states, feds) can't be seen for...

Customer Sometimes Right? Social Housing Landlords Might Need To Check

In the United Kingdom, the Grenfell Tower disasterSee: “Nobody Listened to Us!” Grenfell Tower Fire Survivors Demand A Legal Voice For All Social Housing Tenants and its aftermath shows...

Tenants Call For Green Kitchens In NYCHA Buildings

Tenants living in housing owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) have come up with a great idea to get the ball rolling on a Green New...

Can Existing Social Housing Go ‘Green’ One Baby Step At A Time?

A local article from a Welsh newspaper paints in one corner of an enormous issue: 'decarbonization' of United Kingdom's social housing. Viewed from America, decarbonization or greening, or energy efficiency,...

Equality In Education Takes a Surprise Turn Towards Internet Access

COVID-19's focus on home has brought a lot of issues to light. Our homes are one of the reasons some of us are more likely to contract the virus...

Internet Connections Broaden The Definition of Housing Infrastructure

New housing salesperson to prospective buyer, "Wait a minute! Now you say you want electricity brought right into your home! That will be special order, and cost extra." Not a...

Who Might Jesus Look Like In A Modern Canadian Winter?

The face of a Second Coming in today's modern world might be that of a man more effectively able to preach by what he practices, rather then practice his...

Aussie Power Project Turns Social Housing Tenants Into Sun Worshipers

Dismissing a useful future for social housing these days works most dramatically when raising the spectre of high rise projects. President Trump, as part of his 2020 campaign, has...

Whatever Happened To Eel Grass Insulation? The Story So Far

How does removing an existing and undeniably "green" insulating product fit with a commitment to climate-friendly solutions? A recent article about climate-change-sensitive refurbishment of public housing in Nova Scotia contained...

23 Walls: Different Brutalist Strokes For Different Low Budget Folks

Can flexibility added to brutalism be enough to make concrete walls into cozy homes? When the contest is fictional architecture,See: FICTIONAL ARCHITECTURE a real-life answer is not as important...

Cherished Steel Houses?

Just when you think you've heard the last word about shipping containers, along comes a new story. Iron panels have worked very well as exterior cladding on houses in Iceland....

Green Matters: No Single Colour Of Paint Covers AU Tenant Energy Hardship

Energy hardship is a natural outcome of treating rental housing as a commodity, rather than sheltering it under a human rights umbrella. In many modern countries, the owner of...

Czech Housing Good Enough For Yesterday’s Commies, Today’s Middle Classes

Imagine: worried housing academics, historians, designers and activists agonizing and shaking their heads over the "new chic" — privately purchased and refurbished social housing apartments — unadorned brick towers...

Green Social Housing: Impossible Dream Or Old News?

One way or another, many feel that social housing is too expensive for America, even as many other nations find ways to utilize this truly affordable form of housing....

Moab Prof Proves It Can Be Done — Energy Efficiency AND Affordability

Climate change is a new reality facing housing. But with heartfelt cries for housing affordability ringing in government ears everywhere, are costly climate-friendly houses forever to be at odds...

Dallas Highrise Residential Parking: An Affordable Housing Burden?

At affordablehousingaction.org we've not been overly impressed by the blanket condemnation of zoning bylaws by the housing industry. NIMBY neighbourhood attitudes, perfectly understandable, have become a convenient 'fall guy'...

A View Of Social Housing in Countries Where “Social” Is Not Repugnant

These days, not everyone in the world except Americans (the odd progressive aside), believe that social housing deserves to go belly up in a hand basket, or be otherwise...

Myth-Busting: What Makes You Think Tiny Homes Will Be Affordable?

North America is a land of large housing lots. Not surprising therefore that their potential for doubling density causes affordable housing activists to pump their fists in the air...

Landlords Vs. Climate Change: How Will Renters Weather The Clash?

Australia already appears to be suffering from the dramatic and devastating effects of climate change while being led, like America, by a government that refuses to see any sign...

Tiny Houses: A Figment Fit For The Imagination, But No Big Affordable Solution?

In a lengthy, entertaining and informative article, Miles Howard explores the past, present and future of one form of dinky living. He focuses particularly on high tech gingerbread cottages...

‘Don’t Stop The Financial Music’ And Other Conservative Affordability Fixes

Free market devotees are getting rather boxed into a corner these days when it comes to proposing solutions for affordable housing crises. There are still hopeful cries everywhere from the...

Calling All American Housing ‘Entities:’ Affordable Housing Challenge With Important Payoff

Entites? Whether you belong to a for-profit, non-profit, or a TDHETDHE — Tribally Designated Housing Entity entity, two other corporate 'entities' have an affordable housing challenge for your consideration. Wells...

Protective Knights or Obstructionist Villains? City Councils Attack Affordability Crises

These days, city governments must work to balance the demands of residents of all stripes, from the comfortable and complacent to the needy and struggling. They are forced to...

Trickle Up: A Watery Metaphor for Housing Price Change That Defies Gravity

'Trickle-down' is the process that is touted to solve affordable housing crisis. It is the favourite viewpoint of the American housing industry and supported by the YIMBY (Yes in...

Rooftop Modular Affordable Housing Horrifies Top Floor Renter

As a resident of a solidly-built, flat-roofed 1928 apartment building, a good-news modular housing story from the UK positively sends shivers up my spine. Oh no! We'll no longer be...

Beijing Rains On The Affordable Public Housing Parade

For the past few decades, governments and businesses alike have made forceful claims that private enterprise can manipulate the free housing market to better house the world, from the richest...

Ventura County Swims Against Zoning Tide To Protect Trailer Parks

From California comes word of more, not less, zoning restriction. That's rare good news for existing affordable housing in America's rapidly-declining stock of trailer parks. Governments from the feds (think...

Portland Prepares For Care And Breeding Of Affordable Grannie Flats

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), grannie flats, garden suites, call them what you will, can be highly affordable. Better still, in a crowded urban landscape they have a residential footprint...

The Oversized American Dream: Is The World Witnessing Its Passing?

Spacious countries not lacking in wealth — the United States, Canada, Australia and other roomy elsewheres — dreamed big in the twentieth century. For many successful individuals, those lifestyle...

Guardian Public Service Awards: Good Housing News From A Great Paper

Before getting into The Guardian Housing and Public Service Awards, an affordablehousingaction.org Top Affordable Housing Newspaper award to The Guardian itself. The Guardian is right up there in quality with the top handful...

“Taking The UK By Storm,” Modular Housing Flexes Its Affordable Muscles

"Taking the UK by storm?" Well, we're introducing an industry magazine article today, and it's perhaps understandable that this particular piece of their prose is a little hypersonic, particularly...

Building Giant Thinks Tower Construction Outside The ‘Module Box’ Box

P1030355.1 (factory) photo by lkajsdfl is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 So. You have a local or regional need for affordable housing modules? Where should the manufacturing be sited? Let's take...

Can’t Do Affordable Housing Modules In California? No Matter, China Can

Believe you can and you're halfway there — Teddy Roosevelt Whatever happened to 'can-do?' A recent UK story raises the issue, one that arguably applies on both sides of the...

Philadephia Wants Affordable Housing ‘No Sale’ Except For Non-Profits

Housing investors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who've been taking the slow boat to free market profits may soon find themselves diverted onto an unwanted around-the-world cruise by city council. The slow...

Sydney, AU: Is There A Happy Medium For Affordable Housing Density?

So, how long before a first rate city that can attract only second rate talent diminishes to a second rate city? Sydney Australia hovers close to the top of many...

DIY Broadband Levels Essential Internet Playing Field For Have-Nots

Here's a good news story emerging from the shadows of those giant, hard-nosed internet providers determined to soak everybody to the max for their internet access. If that characterization...

Affordable Housing Needs Builders Even Before Designers. Wha . . ?

It seems that pre-construction planning is a 'thing'. As opposed to planning before (in other words — pre) construction. That's just planning. Who knew? Not only that, pre-construction planning is...

UK Council Housing: Beginning Of The End? Or End Of The Beginning?

The future of council housing in England has changed considerably since 1981, when 32% of all of the country's households lived in it. At that time, the government had provided...

Is An April Fool’s Joke A Warning Of Micro-House Reality?

A Ketchum, Idaho April Fool's Joke this past April 1, 2019 saw a number of local dumpsters dressed up overnight as tiny homes, making a pointed statement about the...

US Affordable Housing Supply — Sabotaged!

A recent study by two U.S. economists demonstrates how national homebuilders can effectively sabotage the free market, building fewer homes to their great convenience and profit. In response to cries...

Time To Recognize The Need For A ‘Green New Deal For Housing?’

At affordablehousingaction.org we've expressed some concern that climate change activists may find themselves competing for limited funding with affordable housing activistsTry: Saving The World One Tree? Affordable House? At...

Chicago Housing Pride: Both Beautiful And Affordable

Here's a peek at a new affordable housing development in Chicago.

Survey: Parking Your Shelter Overnight On The U.S. West Coast

When a car is your shelter, parking is critical. It has become a particular problem on the US west coast, where the high cost of housing is forcing more...

Do Simple Housing Toolkits Beat One Grandiose Smart City Of Tomorrow?

Dare we suggest that Google, or at least its sibling, is lumbering? Based on its proposal to revolutionize housing by wiring everything to everyone in a Toronto Smart City...

Live In A ‘Parasitic’ Home? Don’t Say ‘Ick’ Or ‘Euuw,’ It Might Well Be Affordable

In the market for a 'parasitic' home? It might be a tough sell with such a name. People tend to think of parasites as bad, even though everyone is...

Thinking Big About Small Spaces

Do you want to help out the Extinction Rebellion by reducing your fooptrint on our planet? Have you no ambition to live in a multi-thousand square foot home...

Will Award Make UK Social Housing Tenants House Proud?

Some council house tenants in Norwich, UK, recently woke to discover they are living in homes with award-winning style. We're not talking about "top of this year's public housing,"...

High Rise Fires: Rethinking ‘Stay Put.’ Can There Be An Escape Route?

Two years after the Grenfell Tower disaster, the London Fire Commissioner ultimately responsible for how the fire was fought is advocating a serious review of 'Stay Put' advice to...

UK Builders See Brownfields, Self-Build, High Rise Affordable Opportunities

Influenced perhaps by its physical location in North America, affordablehousingaction.org finds itself in constant pushback against a simple-minded housing industry view: if governments would only eliminate regulations, builders would...

Can An Affordable Housing Crisis Be Viewed As A Slow-Rolling Disaster?

When it comes to affordable housing crises, there are are some potential benefits to be gained from viewing the crisis from a disaster perspective. This is particularly true where...

Wellington, NZ Modular Housing: Still Taxiing Towards The Takeoff Runway?

On one hand, modular housing offers building techniques that can result in more affordable housing construction. On the other, homebuilders prefer to keep using construction techniques they understand which allow...

Tory Solution For UK Housing Sickness: Take Two Storeys And Call Us In The Morning

What might those most concerned about affordable housing have expected from the recent Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, held in the shadow of a crash-out Brexit powered by a...

Community Land Bank + Community Land Trust = Affordable Housing

Community Land Banks, under one name or another, have been around pretty much since the dawn of cities. They are the result of communities, through one means or another, acquiring...

Computer Aided Affordable Housing: Why Modularize When You Can Prefabricate?

What's in a word?  'Modules' (or modular construction) seems to mean pretty much the same thing as 'prefabrication.' Aren't they both ways of describing some element of a building,...

Twain Not Meeting? Conventional Industry Technique Vs Modular Economy

Everyone is happier working with the known, not the unknown, and the housing industry is no exception. For those building houses for the free market, construction know-how includes an...

Toronto Smart City: So Far Google-Linked Proposal Has Folks Over-Worried, Under-Impressed

Sidewalk Labs' wordy, glossy, fluffy proposal for a neighbourhood development project in partnership with Waterfront Toronto

If At First You Don’t Succeed . . .NY Affordable Mega-Project 70 Years In The Making

The saga of Essex Crossing began in the 1950's with the demolition of some of New York's historic gateway slums — the squalid welcome to America for waves of...

Cozy And Bearable: Is There A Just-Right Tiny Home For You, Goldilocks?

Okay, so you don't want to live in a maxi-cupboard on a parking space foorprint, a.k.a  a Hong Kong apartment. But on the other hand you don't need a...

United Kingdom “BBB” Housing: Boxy But Beautiful, Green But Affordable

A United Kingdom housing project has achieved the unlikely: PassivhausPassivhaus, a tough but voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building. Read more: What Is A Passive House? standards generally...

Affordable Housing Crisis Spin-Doctors Deliver A Faulty Prescription

Let's take the following media declaration at face value: "4 Out Of 5 Americans say there is a housing affordability crisis." Based on a sample of 20,000 people that's...
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