Building

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

Businesses Improving Housing For People Overlooked By Public Policy

In the 1990's, Aileen McDonnell graduated with a Master's Degree in Housing Management and Construction. She was the only woman in her class, but that wasn't the only way...

Modern Methods of Construction: UK & US Not Yet Sold On The Benefits

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) includes modular housing, with homes substantially or even completely built in factories, then transported to a final assembly point and integrated with community services. A...

dezeen: Is Housing That Everyone Can Afford The Solution To A World Housing Crisis?

The architecture magazine dezeen has a bee in its bonnet about social housing, to the point of proposing a world-wide Social Housing Revival. The foundations of dezeen's interest and...

Memphis Pulls Pennies Together To Repair Aging Dwellings

Memphis Tennessee has figured out a nifty way to help their residents with low incomes pay for essential home repairs. All monthly power bills are rounded up to the...

Advice From An Expert On Making Housing Accessible For Canadians

In 2021, Thea Kurdi made a presentation to students at the University of Waterloo’s School of ArchitectureThe presentation was timely then because Canada had passed the Accessible Canada Act...

CMHC Says It’s True – There’s A Mould Issue For People In Core Housing Need

Canada has a standard for adequate housing. It was last revised in 1980! At that time, the focus shifted from whether there was indoor plumbing to structural issues like...

Tomorrow’s Accessible Housing: Priority Problems We Just Can’t See

Helen CastleCastle is the Director of Publishing and Learning Content at the Royal Institute of British Architects. kicks off an article in RIBAJ, the Royal Institute of British Architects'...

Burst A Planning Permission Bubble To Allow A Flood Of New Housing! Really?

'Gentle Densification' is one way (in the United Kingdom at least) to build more housing in a world gone unaffordably mad as housing 'financialization' forces housing prices up and...

Hemp Unhampered – No Hallucinating – Just Cheap Organic Housing

When it comes to so-called drugs, America has had an up and down history of familiarity with them. From 1937 to 2018, growing hemp was banned because regardless of...

Can Recycled Waste Build Dignified Houses For Homeless People?

Affordablehousingaction.org does not claim to be an expert on 3D printed houses by any means, but there are some things about the homes reported in the article linked below...

In A Sea Of Costly Housing, Amsterdam Encourages ‘Paddle Your Own Canoe’

Hard to forget my lawyer-father's most successful DIY (Do It Yourself) project — a wired and lightbulbed flat biscuit tin. Most first time viewers to choked back their laughter....

A Landfill Diversion Project With Multiple Benefits

"Charlie? These windows don't fit!" This situation unfolded recently at a construction site in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The windows the contractor had ordered for a row of new homes weren't...

Saving Housing Stock From The Wrecking Ball

Meet Nathaniel Griffin, the mayor of Wellston, Missouri. One day he woke up and realized he had signed a deal that would see 20% of all of the city's...

A New Home In Nunavut – A Sign Of Something Bigger?

Nunavut Territory is in the far north of Canada. It is home to about 10,000 households, according to the last census. And its housing stock is in need of...

Office Tower —> Housing Solution? Wishful Thinking! . . . How Come?

If you kinda squint in the shaded canyons of downtown high rise commercial buildings, you can easily see how much, on the outside, they can resemble high rise HOUSING...

Hong Kong : World Wide Social Housing Possibilities From An Inspired Past

Needs must. The needs for affordable housing worldwide has triggered a world of different results, much of it inspired by capitalist free enterprise necessity, not as an oft-derided 'entitlement'...

Thermodynamics: An Evaluation Tool For Pie-In-The Sky Energy Futures

Without pretending to be exhaustive in any way, this is a post that offers some assistance to folks looking to understand which way a 'green energy' future lies. Such issues...

Social Housing Architecture Apostles: Why Nix It When You Can Fix It?

Do you remember Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, who in 2021 won what's considered to be the 'Nobel Prize For Architecture' — the 2021 Pritzker PrizeTry: Public Housing, “Reverence...

Tomorrow’s Heating Energy To Save The World? Hot Rocks. . . Sort Of, Maybe?

It's hard to pick a winner in tomorrow's great affordable energy race to avoid overheating the planet. Scotland is sure that the future belongs to Heat Pumps. They are already...

Is Modularity The Future Of Social Housing? New South Wales Goes All In

Over-hyped? Under-Delivered? There's no question that factory-built, road-transported modules delivered to the construction field provide a significant challenge. Conventional builders struggle with the new pressures of just-in-time mega-parts delivery....

The Future Construction Economies Of Home Sweet Social Home

Many technological achievements are apparently ready to revolutionize the construction world. They are to be found soonest as they are touted in media featuring the construction industry. When they...

A Denver Experiment To Improve Access To Food And Generate Electricity

Have you heard of the three sisters? They are the corn, beans and squash plants, which have been grown together in indigenous gardens for centuries. Each one helps the...

UK: Empty Land, Empty Houses, Empty Right To Adequate Housing

There is a major impediment to the United Nations Right to Adequate Housing. It is a common occurrence everywhere, and a familiar sight to a more mobile segment of...

Dealing With Major Housing Disasters: The United Nations Has A Recipe

The 'first world' consists of all those countries which, while pleading poor (don't they all?) consider themselves arrived in the land of advanced civilization. Their self-importance is often iron-clad....

Updated – Architects Design Buildings To Welcome People Shunned By Society

In July this year, we published a story about trauma informed architecture. Now we have another. Why so soon? This time, there is another linked article that adds new information...

UK City To Developer Delivering Flawed New Housing: No Thanks. Knock It Down!

So you want to build an apartment tower and you've borrowed the bucks to cover construction . . . you think. Of course you've been hopeful in your budgeting,...

South Africa: Lessons For The World From A Deadly Fire

This post starts a series about housing and homelessness in South Africa and Canada. South Africa and Canada share a long history. Here are a few sample events: ...

Lessons From An Ambitious Retrofit In A Glasgow Tenement

This writer has never been to Scotland, but 107 Niddrie Road in Glasgow has become a familiar address. The building is over 100 years old and belongs to the...

UK: Keeping Social Tenants Safe While Building Affordable Homes

Should we pick a fight with Octopus Real Estate, a United Kingdom firm eyeing profit from building much needed social housing, which aims to bring free market partners in...

MPHA Leads The Way With ‘Deeply Affordable’ Neighbourhood Housing

The following Youtube video created three years ago explains how Minneapolis became the first major North American city to break the ironclad, almost universal bylaw 'protection' of single-family neighbourhoods....

UK Social Housing & Communities: Time Again For All Hands On Deck?

There is currently some discussion of the idea — nay, even importance — of the value of 'community' within UK housing. This post ultimately targets a discussion about the...

Housing Design With Human Connection In Mind

A journalist in the United Kingdom, David Ramsay, makes the case that community planning needs to give more attention to connections between neighbours. He argues that if we do,...

Taking Another Look At Regenerating Social Housing

In North America, the idea of regenerating 'public housing' is pretty much a dead duckPublic housing is not to be confused with 'social housing' in the United States. Social...

A Precise Prescription For Ending Homelessness — And It’s Not Clearing Encampments

Here is a report about fixing the homelessness crisis. Unlike many articles, this one does not recommend clearing encampments and moving people onIf you haven't come across this sordid...

New Affordable Homes – Not News, But Should Be

The stories that sell news are the disasters and things gone wrong. As someone said elsewhere, "it's not news when a plane lands safely." In the housing business this means...

NYCHA Public Housing 78 Billion Repair Bill: Is “Less Is More” The Only Hope?

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) seems much like the person at the coffee shop counter, endlessly recalculating a handful of small change in hopes that sooner or...

Mushroom Loaf: Cheap Foodstuff. Also Surprise Affordable Housing Construction Brick?!

Consider this: a remote population, limited employment but a willing workforce. Add a desperate need for affordable housing, but an absence of affordable building materials. Any number of situations...

Architects Design Buildings To Welcome People Shunned By Society

Architecture has been used to rebuff groups of people who society considers undesirableTry: Spotting Architecture That Encourages Homeless People To ‘Move On’ and Is There a Difference Between Hostile...

Seattle Neighbourhood Densification: Bring On the Mid-Rises! . . . Hunh?

Here's a meander towards an unexpected quirk in the news. In some countries, the local press tends to be infected by NIMBYNIMBY = Not In My Back Yard hostility....

Rebuilt Shipping Containers Stacked On A Barge: A Temporary Home For Homeless People?

The United Kingdom is currently preoccupied with asylum-seekers. Thousands of them arrive yearly, crossing the channel from Europe to instantly swell the UK's homeless population, already of crisis proportions. The...

Heat Pumps: Political Darlings, Practical Poop-0uts?

Heat pumps. Greener than green? Indeed. Saving the planet one lukewarm sip at a time? Maybe. But heating? You want to know if they keep people warm? Well now, that's...

Looking Beyond Zoning To Change The Shape Of Cities

Zoning is often named as the culprit in shaping cities in North America. There are vast areas of low density, with single detached homes, along with areas of high...

A Deep And Wet Dive Into The Strengths of Passivhaus Technology For Building Social Housing

“PassivhausPassivhaus and Passive House refer to a standard for setting levels of energy use in new buildings. EnerPHit does the same for buildings that are being renovated. We're using...

Transportation And Deeply Affordable Housing — An Ongoing Tension In Urban Life

Our lives depend on transportation. Stuff needs to get shipped into and through the communities where people live. People need transport to get to work, shop for essentials and...

A Prescription For Heat Pump Programs In The United Kingdom

It's no wonder that uptake on heat pumps in the United Kingdom has been so much lower than its close neighbours. In northern climates, houses need to be adequately insulated...

Los Angeles Tenants Speak Up For A Carbon Neutral Future

Tenants in Los Angeles want to reduce emissions and energy consumption. That wish is clouded by two concerns: their rents will go up a lot and/or they will be...

Renovating Public Housing: A Chance To Do Better For Tenants And The Community

Three researchers have done a thorough analysis of renovations to social housing that is owned by the Portuguese city of Porto. The research is significant because the housing forms an...

Heat Pump Heaven? Much Of The United Kingdom Shivers At the Thought

The use of the word 'admits' in a newspaper headline rather suggests that the confessor has hitherto engaged in some kind of coverup. That's an unfortunate meta-message in this...

Regulations That Trip Up Affordable Housing Design

You know, for such a small planet, we can be pretty blind to opportunities. Take housing design for example. For reasons that are explained in the article linked to...

Refurbish Social Housing? How To Find Out If It Is Dollar-Cheap But Carbon-Expensive?

Aging Social Housing: Pull it down and build something better? Or refurbish it? Over the past few decades, some countries influenced by neoliberal political thought have dodged the practicalities of...

How A Needy Family’s Future May Be Assured By Broadband

"Broadband is no longer a luxury that only a few people need; it is a critical service that supports . . . economic opportunity, health, education, recreation, and well-being." We...

Thinking The Unthinkable: Truly Affordable Housing Rescued By Commercial Building Meltdown

COVID has created an unexpected crisis facing the commercial real estate market. Worker flight to the relative safety of the home office has hollowed out the insides of shiny...

So There Was A Fire. Sorry For The Damage & Injuries, But We’re Underfunded. Not Our Fault.

What's the most likely way to prevent public housing fire disasters? Consider the infamous 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London, England, and two fires in January 2022, one in...

Tents, Pods, or Tiny Homes? Portland’s Mega Encampments Change Their Spots

Portland, Oregon shares with the U.S. west coast the brunt of America's homelessness. Other west coast cities have run through cycles of ignoring homeless tent encampments, harassing them, and sweeping...

Tiny Mobile Home or Mobile Tiny Home? Vive La Difference!

Affordablehousingaction.org has done a number of posts about the potential of 'tiny mobile homes.' For example, try this pre-COVID one that celebrates tiny-ness while questioning just where it might...

A Survey In Search of A Human Right To Shelter: Tiny Temporary Homes

While news of yet another collection of 'tiny homes' is becoming more commonplace in North America, they are by no means a standard method of community commitment to housing...

Why North American Public Housing Might Be Too Valuable To Tear Down

Why tear down existing North American public housing? Why, to build mixed income housing to replace it. It can provide ample private enterprise profitability to attract free market enterprise...

Three Tatami Mat Life: Coming Soon To Home Near You? Or Even Your Home?

Over the past decade at least, it's been easy to view housing circumstances in Hong Kong as otherworldly. There, a combination of limited land and total devotion to free...

Empty Office Buildings: High-Rise Caves For People Who Are Homeless?

With a surfeit of downtown empty office high-rises, a lightbulb has winked on the brains of developers who see a way of cashing in by converting office buildings to...

Amid UK Social Housing Energy Efficiency Sticks, There Be Carrots

Legal challenges to the UK government's foot dragging around the issue of the energy efficiency of social housing are increasing — either already in progress, or standing at the...

Ethical Business Runs Headlong Into An Ethical Dilemma – Tenant Wellbeing

Shelby R. King, writing in Shelterforce, asks whether an investment firm that owns residential property and regularly evicts its tenants should be eligible for the coveted B CorpB Corp is a...

The State of the Temporary Affordable Housing Union? Pretty Darn Fragile!

From . . . temporary affordable housing that isn't housing anyone at all while it takes a lengthy snooze. Read more in The Seattle Times: The story of Seattle’s homeless...

Notes From The Heat Pump Battlefront Lines

Forgetful as always, it's time to quiz our readers on what we've been reporting. We need all the help we can get. Heat pumps? Yes, we know we've been there,...

Homes Built With Mushrooms? For Real? Or Just A Happy Hallucination?

Move over tempeh, truffles and psilocybin! A business in the United States is planning to build a 300 unit housing project with mushrooms. Of course it's not quite that...

Can the Human Right To Adequate Housing Include Bits Of ‘Unhousing?’

"Adequate" can be a vague term when not supported by a more detailed explanation of what what it actually means. 'Has a roof?' Well of course, in that particular...

Social Housing Mould Killed Awaab Ishak. Will Institutional Apathy Kill Others?

In the wake of a two-year-old boy's mould-related death, what most struck the Manchester Evening News and the UK Charity Shelter, which shared a now internationally known investigation, was...

The Role Of Tea When Facing Up To Renovations In Social Rent Housing

Does anyone brew tea in a pot any longer? And what about tea cozies, the padded and fitted covers that go over the pot to keep tea warm? With...

Glasgow’s Changing World, Zeal To Knock Down Existing Social Housing Continues

In spite of clear evidence that some or all knocked down social housing is never replaced in redevelopments...Try: The Life And Death Cabrini-Green Public Housing Projects, 25 Years On In...

To Need Is To Plead: America’s Flirtation With Heat Pumps Gets Serious

Heat Pumps: just who is pleading for this trendy technology in America? Public Housing is who, and not just some potty little local Housing Authority with a handful of...

Does Australian Accounting End A ‘Kick Public Housing Down’ Era?

In North America these days, the commitment to public housing still tends to be drowning underwater, or perhaps buried meters-deep in the primordial mud at the bottom of the...

How Can A Right To Housing Advance Without Preserving What We Have?

Both the United Kingdom and the USA soured on public/social housing coincident with the rise of Reaganism/thatcherism/neoliberalism and its emphasis on small government. In place of government incompetence, free...

From Carefree Bathing to Accusations of Murder: It Could Happen To You

Are you a carefree, and perhaps careless, bather? Maybe you own a large dog that enjoys mucky walks, but not a washdown in the tub? Hard to imagine that...

An Internet Light Illuminates The Dark Art Of Ignoring Public Housing Tenants

Ignoring deplorable conditions in housing for low and no income citizens has become a worldwide technique for trimming local government budgets. In North America, it goes hand in hand...

A Kingdom For The Broken Housing Promises That India Must . . . Suffer???

In June of 2018, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi announced an extravagantly ambitious national housing scheme  — a home for every Indian by 2022. India is a populous country....

Local Public Housing Climate Changes: Delivering Distress Or Support?

In societies where social/public housing tenants are treated more or less like dirt,  governments have a low bar of behaviour to meet when change threatens to upend the status...

Lived Experience Tenants Say: ‘One Size Fits All’ Is A Public Housing Bad Idea

Ask movers and shakers among North American public housing activists about their thinking on the grandest scale: what's new? The top of the pops these days is a 'retro'...

Moulds Don’t Bother Many But For Some In Social Housing They Are Deadly

Check out the science and you will discover that the renewal of life on earth requires decay. By and large there can be nothing new without the breakdown of...

Post-Covid, Can Vital Internet Access Continue to Support Low Income Folks?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, home internet connectivity became not just desirable, but essential to allow safe distancing from infection. At the heart of this essential connectivity was education, which...

Santa Barbara Architecture Gives Life to US ‘Social’ Housing Ambitions

Over the last couple of years, there have been whispers of hope for a reboot of government built, deeply affordable housing in America. Nobody will miss the face of American...

Refurbishing Derelict Housing: UK Gov? Or Blokes (Him/Her) With Hammers?

The UK is currently celebrating/bemoaning a sky-is-falling introduction to the new Prime Minister's Trussonomics.  That would be 'small government' neoliberalism shrunk to a squabbling anti-intellectual dot. Under Liz Truss, government...

Designing Tomorrow’s Social Housing. Will Humans Be Out Of A Job?

A picture is often worth a thousand words of fun and fancy. When it comes to truly affordable housing we know this because, over the past few years, one...

England ‘Business As Usual’ Housing Bangs Head-On Into Climate Change

'Business as Usual?' The YIMBY movement  — Yes in MY. . . OK, YOUR Back Yard? Or maybe best to use those generally politically desirable (for builders) terms: kill the by-laws,...

Trailer Park Folks Been Loving That Living Forever. Academics Just Caught Up

Many more U.S. folks live in mobile homes ("manufactured homes" if you want to be snobbish about them) than receive federal housing assistance (e.g. public housing and housing choice...

Housing Community Design: ‘Right To Contribute’ Beyond ‘Right To Be Heard’

Victor Body-Lawson heads an architecture studio that designs affordable housing in the United States and Africa. He describes a recent moment of pleasure when he read a housing proposal...

Can 3D Printers Economize Everybody’s Essential 3D Space — The Home?

Truly, deeply affordable housing using traditional building methods is the housing development industry's way of throwing up a 'road closed' sign. Government subsidies would seem to be the preferred...

Men’s Nipples Visible Through Shirt? Time For New Housing Standards!

This post is hardly good news for citizens of the United Kingdom. Other nationalities may view it with a sigh of relief together with head-scratching curiosity. As far as...

Non-Profit Chicken Little Concern: Public Housing Sky Is Falling

For some reason we humans are initially inclined to think the best of each other as individuals. It seems a reasonable and understandable 'human' reaction. However, there are reasons to...

Windsor, Ontario Takes On ‘Green’ Public Housing Refurbishment

In North America, providing housing for the most vulnerable has been achieving limited success in 'mixed' income housing projects. Decaying public housing is torn down and replaced with new,...

Scoping The Challenge Of Reducing Energy Emissions In Our Homes

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University annually issues a 'State of the Nation's Housing' report. A release 'event' is convened where the results are reported and...

‘Go Green’ Bleeds Life Into Public Housing ‘Demolition By Neglect’

Why should New York City, and a lot of other cities for that matter, refurbish existing public housing when knocking it down and building anew would be cheaper? Because it's...

Carbon Emissions: A Death Knell For On-Site Public Housing Construction?

When it comes to housing construction these days, it's more than a challenge to keep up with the Green Revolution and its requirements to prevent climate change. That's to...

Energy Retrofits In Older Homes: A Case Study

Climate change is a compelling argument for doing things differently. In northern climates at least, our homes contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and rising global temperatures. Researchers have...

An Affordable Housing Odd Couple Worth Monitoring?

Still early days for a pair of city newly-weds, but . . . Should we remark on the potential of  a "V for Victory" link-up between the two cities, Vancouver,...

Bard Architecture Course Rattles The Cage Of ‘Style’

In an attempt to discover some useful architectural designs to enhance the quality of new-build social housing, the writer of this post encountered the following sentence: "The size of the...

All Social Housing Badly Needs Fast Internet

Why does all social housing badly need fast internet (a.k.a broadband)? Social housing needs it for the same reason it needs to be connected to roads. America, like the rest...

Fourth ‘New Bauhaus’ Piggy Builds House of Dirt

The original Bauhaus MovementRead more at My Modern MET: Bauhaus: How the Avant-Garde Movement Transformed Modern Art in the early twentieth century explored ways 'to bring art back into...

You Can’t Get There From Here – Learning From The UK’S Retrofit Journey

Four years ago a UK report advocated public housing as the optimal launch pad for a campaign to meet the committments to achieve decarbonization of homesBuilding decarbonization is a...

US, UK: Public Housing Fire Disasters, How Do They Happen?

The world woke up to the horror of high rise building fires in 2017, when substandard cladding on London's Grenfell social housing tower turned it into a flaming torch...

Placing Tiny Homes In The Housing And Homelessness Response

Tiny Homes? Hug 'em and Love 'em! The Media seems to, including us. They're forever popping up as cozy little bandaid stories about the housing and homelessness crisis in...

I Spy With My Video Eye — Social Landlord Dirty Deeds

Turns out, it's not just the police who get caught out by public exposure. That embarrassment is down to half the population having a video capability in their smart...
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