Building

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

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,...

United Kingdom Energy Security Strategy – What’s Missing?

To mark Earth Day this year, the National Housing Federation (NHF) summarized developments in energy saving activities among social housing providers. We've chosen to pair the first subject covered: "Electric...

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...

UK ‘Small’ Government As A Deliberate Death Machine

15 years before the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire, neoliberalism had firmly gripped the imagination of politicians. The message had not necessarily filtered down to UK bureaucrats who laboured on,...

Toronto Area: Local Studies Support Calls For Housing Rights

As we are learning in Canada, adopting the Human Right to Adequate Housing marked an ending and a beginning. It's an ending because after decades of work, Canada's government...

Is EnerPHit the Future of Affordable Housing?

Can affordable housing high rises serve the needs of low-income people and cut carbon dioxide emissions at the same time — all at a competitive cost? Let's look at...

Finding Cost Savings In Conventional Construction Methods

A builder in the U.S. northwest argues that it is possible to lower construction costs, using conventional methods, without sacrificing quality. In the article below Mike Steffan, the builder,...

Montréal Mini-Shelter Donation? Nope. Just Come As You Are

A recent winter offer to buy and donate mini-shelters to the City of Montréal for protection of the homeless has been turned down. There was no joy in being...

Public Housing As A Monument Of Achievement For Future Generations

In North America, the idea of preserving public housing as a model of national achievement is absurd. It began and existed for a few heartbeats as a form of...

After Suitable Caution, We’re Pumping Our Fists For Norwegian Heat Pumps

Are there reasons to be cheerful about heat pumps? That's the story from Norway. Being apartment renters all, the staff of affordablehousingaction.org's own cheeriness about heat pumps is entirely...

Disconnecting Housing Policy From Racism And Discrimination

Sophie House and Krystle Okafor are both based at New York University. Building on the work of contemporary abolitionistsAbolitionism is often understood to be about the abolition of slavery...

Singapore: The Millionaires Row Of Public Housing For All

Most of us interested in the future of public housing have heard (possibly even ad nauseum) how a couple of cities — Vienna and Singapore — manage to provide...

Manchester UK Breaks New Ground In Building Social Housing To Green Specs

Social housing activists on both sides of the Atlantic from USA across to the UK and Europe, fight an uphill battle against persistent remnants of neoliberal thought. By now, everyone...

The Predictable Failure Of The Public Housing “Fantasy Fix”

Here's a mashup of the public/social housing "Fantasy Fix." In the United Kingdom, so poorly have local councils and housing authorities been responding to tenant problems that the national...

Wheelchair Bound, Public Housing 15th Floor, Alarm Ringing, Elevator Dead . . .

There are sound arguments to be made that "The Internet of ThingsFrom Wikipedia: The Internet of Things (IoT) describes physical objects (or groups of such objects), that are embedded...

Appreciating What’s Good About Public Housing — It’s Physical Structure

Reaganism and Thatcherism (a.k.a neoliberalism) touted the theory that small government was essential to free enterprise. Within this mindset, social/public housing was an example of all that was wrong...

A Rhode Island Public Housing Collective Becomes An Electricity Farm

The earliest forms of energy conversion for human use were granular — many small conversions using wood or peat or coal in a fireplace for warmth or a stove...

A Fix For Illegal Housing? Wanted: Politicians Who Lead

The City of New York recently declared an emergency following Hurricane Ida, which flooded homes and apartment buildings in low lying areas. Eleven of the 13 people who died...

Progress On The UK 2020 Social Housing White . . . Paper? . . . Wash?

In 2020, the UK Government was moved to take action on the poor, and still deteriorating, conditions in the country's social housing. A further cause for distress was what...

Aging UK: The Chickens Have Come Home To Roost – And The Coop Is Broken

More than 4.3 million homes in England do not meet basic standards of decency. It is more prevalent in the private sector, and among residents with lower incomes. Although it's...

Modern Housing Dentistry: Squeeze, Extrude, Slump, Spit, Rinse

For the one in a million among you who lies abed before sleeping, mouth tingling from mentholated toothbrushing, and wonders whether the world's housing crisis can be solved by...

A Tour Of Social Housing Revival In North America

The demolitions of Cabrini Green in Chicago and Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, two very large public housing projects, reflect decisions made by people who had never lived there. Some...

France Plans Targets For Using Natural Materials In Public Buildings

A 15 unit public housing project in Paris's 18th arrondissement is catching the attention of architectural magazines. The building, which is built with hempcrete insulation, rises no higher than...

A Tug Of War Between The Affordable Housing Crisis And The Climate Crisis

The demolition of Cabrini Green — public housing units in that were home to 15,000 people in Chicago — is the starting point of this article in Salon about...

Green Building Materials: Not 1 But 3 Little Pigs Can Be Winners

Remember the three little pigs and their variously constructed houses, only one of which survived the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolf? Well, modern, eco-aware societies need pigs...

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...
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