Site

‘Site’ explores the geography which affordable housing occupies, on the street, in the neighbourhood and the broader community. This geography gives rise to problems as well as solutions for successfully integrating affordable housing into communities

California Unhoused? Vanlords Can Find You Wheel Cheap Housing

Have you found yourself studying a sleek motor home that has appeared in your field of view? Are you tantalized, imagining yourself in the cozy comfort of a home...

Residents Invited To Join Amsterdam’s Affordable Housing Team

Amsterdam's current housing plan literally gives residents a hands-on role in solving the city's crisis of housing affordability. Literally. While most cities are consulting with residents, 13 sites in...

Rents And Homelessness In The US: Are They Connected?

There is a debate about why people become homeless in the United States. Some people see the rental market as the issue. Others think that personal factors, such as...

Zoning Reform – Is It Really That Important?

We've heard it all before. Zoning is blocking the path to building new housing. But when you read this article from National Public Radio (NPR), you begin to get...

Should We Build More Suburban Housing To End The Housing Crisis?

While there is general agreement that there is a housing crisis, there are longstanding debates about how to fix it. One of those debates is about where new housing...

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...

Is Housing A Fore Gone Conclusion In Hong Kong? Here’s A Battle Report

Hat's off and sunscreen on for members of Hong Kong's Fanling Golf Club, the oldest in the region. They've just managed to win a prestigious UNESCO (United Nations Educational,...

Receivership: A Tool That Could Serve Communities Better?

In Chicago, property owners are responsible to maintain their properties in liveable condition. When a building develops a leaky roof or its foundation is damaged, or the plumbing backs...

Why Are Housing Starts Falling Short Of Public Targets?

Continuing with the theme of cross-subsidy funding for affordable housing, here is another article from the United Kingdom. This one is about greenfield development, which refers to building new...

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...

London Maps Show Brownfields

There certainly exists evidence that 'cross-subsidy' is an affordable housing liability rather than a benefit. Architect Anna Minton and others have gone so far as to suggest that cross-subsidy...

Vancouver, BC’s LGBTQ Community Scores Major Affordable Housing And Social Support

Like everyone else, those from social and cultural minorities can be attracted to both the anonymity and opportunity of large cities. A voyage of discovery to such a place...

Rights to Housing: Truth-Shaping in India, Rights For Whom and Who By?

The author of the following article, Mukta Naik, describes a basic human rights dilemma this way: "We live in a world where the truth has turned into a chimera. It...

Emergency Responses Miss Opportunities To Build Up Communities

This is part of a series that looks at housing and homelessness in South Africa and Canada. It might be a source of inspiration/direction for housing efforts in either...

Tycoons Beware: The Housing Crisis May Eat Your Golf Course!

Look to business capitals of the world for what's coming down the pike towards the uber-wealthy. In a couple of bellweather cities, famous for pandering to the gods of...

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....

Gentrification In Roxbury, Boston: If You Can’t Join Them, Beat Them

Six years ago Roxbury a neighbourhood in Boston, Massachusetts, was being eaten alive by the local tech industry. Roxbury residents were losing housing to well-paid tech employees who moved...

Employer-Provided Housing Sustains Elder Care Homes

The issue of workforce housing has been getting more attention. When local public servants (fire fighters, paramedics and police officers) can't afford housing, governments pay attention. The same is...

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,...

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...

Affordable Homes For The Neurodivergent: A Profound Challenge Everywhere

People who are 'physically divergent' — different from the current physical norms — are often easy to spot. The person who carries out normal day-to-day activities in a wheelchair...

Tiny Home Retrospective: When Portland Enticed Landowners To Welcome Aboard The Homeless

When affordablehousingaction.org was just starting to blog, we began searching (as we still are) for ideas that seemed to promise easing national homelessness crises. Five years ago there was...

YIMBY Triumphs! But Will More YIMBY Housing Add Up To More AFFORDABLE Housing?

The YIMBY breakthrough that everybody is buzzed about has delivered results to the City of Aukland, New Zealand. Unlike other major New Zealand cities, Aukland bit the YIMBY bullet...

New Zealand Housing Adventures: From Kiwibuild Disaster To De-Zoning Heaven?

At the height of New Zealand's 2017 fever dream of 100,000 new housing units, we were perplexed. Us Canadians had duly noted that New Zealand lacked the resources to...

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...

Medieval Housing Could Be The Secret To Longer Life

A contemporary study of almshouses in the United Kingdom has found evidence that they may stretch an individual life expectancy by 2.5 years. How long have we known about...

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...

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...

Churches Roll Out The Housing Carpet

Churches have a history of speaking up for people who are oppressed in society. Faith based organizations have charitable arms that provide services and supports. Religious instruction also directs...

Housing And Health – The Problem Of Investigating A Cause-Effect Relationship

Do housing conditions cause health conditions? In individual cases, the answer has proven (after many meetings with coroners) to be yes. There is Awaab Ishak, who died from exposure...

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...

The Irony Of Killing New York Green Space To Support A Green Revolution

The architect Le Corbusier had a dream so dramatic and forceful that it influenced far too many people, including those responsible for constructing a wave of North American public...

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...

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...

Green With Envy: Futuristic Benefits To Cities Elevate Citizens Unequally

Modernizing cities! Out with the obviously dirty, depressingly ugly, cough-inducing, environmentally-damaging old. In with the sylvan new: vegetative proliferation, babbling brooks, micro-forest canopies, peddle-mobility, awardable aesthetic standards, puffed and...

Yesterday’s U.S. Business High Rises: Tomorrow’s Affordable Housing?

The City of Toronto's name for a needed subway extension framed yesterday's problems for many cities.  It was called the downtown relief line. Relief from congested commuting to a crowded...

The Potential Charm Of a Portland, Oregon Homeless Campus

Seniors, wearing scarfs in campus colours, stroll across the front lawn of one of Portland's giant homeless campuses. They have spent their undergraduate years waiting for a minuscule new...

Corruption And The Homeless Industrial Complex: Does It Exist?

We know there are overwhelming problems where people who are homeless gather together in unofficial tent camps. Celebrity Dr. Drew Pinsky warns us of "tent encampments with 'multiple rodent-borne,...

Psst! Wanna Become A Legit Homeless Tenter In The Land Of Somewhere Else?

Update: the Region of Waterloo is pressing on with its plan to open supported tent encampments for people who are homeless. The location has yet to be determined. Read...

Garden Allotment Wars: Something Public Housing Needs To Support?

Potty: United Kingdom slang for someone who is a little bit daft. (Daft, in turn, is slang for someone who is somewhat potty) Its origins are not generally agreed...

Footloose And Fancy Free: Can RV Living Make Homelessness A Dream Come True?

The answer to the question posed in the headline above is a qualified and rapidly eroding 'maybe' heading towards the spectre of a probably soon-to-become universal 'no.' Up until a...

Dispatches From The Front Lines Of The NIMBY Vs. YIMBY Wars

Affordablehousingaction.org generally considers NIMBY and YIMBY to be two entirely different animals. The first of these — Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) is a pop-up defensive castle guarded...

Gentrification: It’s A Pleasure To See You, But Have You Outstayed Your Welcome?

Yesterday . . . a determination that lower class housing might confidently be labelled an eyesore. Meanwhile, those who occupied that housing might be viewed to be of little...

London, Ontario City Council Pulls Rank on Church Homeless Welfare Staffing

Consider a spat between a London, Ontario church on one hand and that city's council on the other. It brings to mind a recent spat between a historic English...

Will LA Citizens Vote For Homeless Boinking In Their Adjacent Hotel Room?

Homeless Boinking? We're trying to imagine the worst here. What could be the result of Los Angeles voting to allow the homeless to overnight in unused hotel rooms? With...

Commercial Buildings Reborn As Affordable Homes?: Türkiye’s New Challenge

An article linked below offers a number of insights, large and small, about the global nature of 'financialized' housing. One immediate small insight: a preferred spelling — Türkiye —...

Rental Deserts – What Are They And Do They Matter?

Researchers at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies have picked up the idea of food desertsFood deserts are areas that lack access to affordable and nutritious food. Read more...

Is There Such A Thing As Mindless Urban Development? Apparently

We were hiking industriously along a country dirt road a good hour's drive outside of 5th most populated urban conglomerate in North America (or 4th or 6th, no matter)....

Warning About Social Housing ‘Separate-But-Equal’ Plans That Aren’t

Public Private Partnership 'mixed income' construction projects have been generally considered a success. Their biggest drawback is often that they lack enough units of truly affordable social housing in...

Knight-Errant Error: Rootless Royalty Plagued By Missing Rent-A-Serfs

Pity the poor upper classes. The merchant classes (which run government) scurry to clear parade routes in all directions, hounding the serfs from pillar to post. But when royalty...

Housing Speculators May Run But Can’t Hide From Canada’s New Taxes

In 2018, Canada began taking the gloves off to deal with speculators who are buying and selling housing as casino chips, rather than homes. With some of the highest...

Garden Cities/Suburbs At The End Of A Rainbow? Alas, No ‘There’ There.

Once upon a time, the utopian dream of a 'garden city' was held up as the pinnacle of human community. Homes with pocket-sized personal green space were idealized as...

Reparations In Evanston, Illinois Start With Housing

For 50 years, from 1919 to 1969, Evanston, Illinois turned its back on its Black residents. It withheld opportunities that were offered white residents. Today, residents living in the...

Free Public Transport? North America Yet To Really Benefit

A number of American cities have been looking hopefully towards free public transport as a cure for a whole collection of urban evils. Not the least of these are...

Unmasking The Barriers To Accessory Dwelling Units

Shelterforce's "Under The Lens" series do deep dives on urban issues. The latest one is about ADUs — accessory dwelling units. ADUs are sometimes presented as a solution to...

Lisbon, Portugal Searches For Ways To Benefit From 48,000 Empty Homes

One of the most distressing features of the financialization of housing is the disdain that investors hold for housing as anything other than a potential investment bonanza. How do...

Affordable Housing Brings Down Nearby Property Values, Doesn’t It?

Does living near affordable housing boost property values or lower them? Christina Stacy and Christopher Davis, who are based at the Urban Institute in the United States, reviewed existing...

What Happens If NIMBY Takes Aim At Net Zero?

Net ZeroSee the United Nations Net Zero Coalition for more on this term: Climate Action , Social Housing and NIMBY: what lies at the intersection of these murky futures?...

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...

Mississauga Housing Planners Put Boots To YIMBY Fantasy

'Naturally affordable' housing is the the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker of urban housing. (Not quite as likely to be extinct, true enough. The last recorded Ivory-Bill sighting in its Louisiana swamp...

Help Save An Unsung Homeless And Poverty Hub: The Library

Bye Bye, Public Library. Something much better, more modern has crept up the inside rail and is already well past in a race to the finish of the 'Font...

Convenience Of Irish Town Centres Are A New Residential Focus

Suburban wealth and automobile culture have produced three-quarters of a century of downtown commercial erosion. Pedestrian convenience gave way to suburban/exurban shopping centres and box stores more easily accessed...

The ‘Magnet Effect’: Breaking The Heart Of Homelessness

". . .you in your small corner, and I in mine," is an evocative phrase from a children's hymn, proposing that individuals might shine in the light of a...

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,...

Atlanta’s East Lake Experiment — Mixed Housing. Success Or Failure?

Mixed income communities have been the clarion call of progressive city planners trying to harness the income and influence of wealthier neighbours in the downtown 'hood, without driving out...

Is Minneapolis Now Reaping The Fruits Of Anti-NIMBY Bylaw Change?

Minneapolis shocked America, as well as some other westernized nations, when its city council decided unanimously in 2018 to allow multifamily dwellings in any residential neighbourhood. The increased density...

Urban Golf Courses A Tasty Target For Public Parks, Public Housing

Urban golf courses have long been a target of class resentment. Often built on the outskirts of towns and cities that have expanded to engulf them, they can be...

Israel Fiddles While Housing Tenants/Owners Get Burnt

Israel is suffering from the same rampant financialization of housing afflicting capitalist societies around the world. And, like other suffering nations, it has taken what seems to be the...

Gentrification – What We Know And What We Don’t

AJ Golio, a PhD candidate at Tulane University, has penned a thoughtful article in Shelterforce about gentrificationFor an explanation of gentrification, try: Gentrification: What is it? How Does It...

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...

Tiny Home Communities – A Step From Homelessness To Housing

Over the last few years, fascination with tiny homes has grown beyond cutesy love-ins for a lifestyle akin to living in a clothes closet. (And along with our own...

Union-Built Housing? Vancouver Baby-Steps Towards A Nordic Solution

In North America, particularly the U.S., unions have suffered badly as "small" governments, no longer neutral arbiters, have promoted excessively friendly partnerships with business to achieve social objectives. At the...

Internet Inequality: Ugly Redlining Defines American Have-Nots

In America during the last century, bank lending practices discriminated against poor neighbourhoods, often predominantly black. The process became known as "redlining." The term comes from insurance maps where...

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...

Mi Barrio! How To Exercise The Reverse NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard)

New home builders are extraordinarily powerful. It is not uncommon to hear the industry described as the engine that drives the city, state, even country. That's certainly the case...

Cork, Ireland Activists Skewer Council For Passing Empty-Home Buck

A story follows, which is dear to affordablehousingaction.org hearts, because we made a wrong call on a similar problem that played out in Oakland, California. That was a year...

A Vancouver Housing Example: How Government “Hands Off” Doesn’t Work

There is persistent advocacy in many countries that is fuelled by housing development interests. It can be summed up by the idea of "just build more." In The U.S. there...

Halfway Houslets For Homeless: A Mashup of Housing First + Support First?

A recent article from London, Ontario expresses a problem made more acute in the pandemic. That city is home to a successful program based on getting housed immediately (Housing...

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...

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...

Empty Housing Not Just A Waste Of Shelter But Also A Community Disease

Empty houses plague not only cities, but the countryside. Some are empty because speculators are holding them for a quick turnover in a hot housing market.Try: City Of Vancouver...

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...

Niagara Region Libraries Bring A Piece Of The Internet Into Low Income Homes

Kindness to strangers has given birth to a means of sharing library internet services for those with low and no incomes in Ontario's Regional Municipality of Niagara. Familiar to most,...

Truly Affordable Housing Infrastructure: A Tale Of Two Internets

Infrastructure? Two Internets? This post is premised on the idea that the events of the current pandemic have decisively demonstrated the internet as basic infrastructure for housing, as defined in...

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...

Gary, Indiana Turns Out Public Housing Lights, Prays For Landlord Candles

U.S. President George H.W. Bush's description of charities as "a thousand tiny points of light" has taken a rightful place in history and literature as a truly hopeful and...

Stop OZ Fantasies. Replace Yellow Brick Road With Equitable Housing Infrastructure

The Wizard of Oz musical was short on housing details, but long on vital housing infrastructure. The yellow brick road carried everyone from their dwelling (admittedly not highly featured in...

10,000 L.A. Public Housing Units That Didn’t Get Built

A recent article in Mother Jones recounts a story from Los Angeles about 10,000 units of public housing that were never built. The article is about Frank Wilkinson, who worked...

The Human Right to Adequate Housing: A Changing Definition Of “Adequate”

Adequate housing as a basic human right? Many countries have formally accepted this United Nations-promoted vision.Here's a discussion of adequate housing in UN Terms: Fact Sheet No.21, The Human...

King County, Washington Faces Up To The Real Cost Of Truly Affordable Housing

Two years ago, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company delivered a controversial report to King County, Washington. It called for spending a quarter of a billion dollars a year...

Dallas Provides A Megacity View From The ‘Burbs: Past, Present And Future

A report from Dallas Texas enumerates some of the pros, cons, and one-day-hopeful pros again in a city that is a giant festival of sprawl. The report focuses on the...

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...

Habitat for Humanity Middle Class Follies: None Too Impressive?

Housing For Humanity: a world-beating affordable housing charity now approaching middle age, which is no longer able capable of keeping up with the changing times? We certainly hope not. But...

Columbus, OH, Teeters, Then Topples: Housing For The Poorest . . . Or Federal Funding?

That there is a 'need' for housing across the American nation is largely self-evident. Housing developers would be heading out of business otherwise, and the largest of them at...

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...

Welcome To A Magical Orlando Experience: For You, But Not Theme Park Workers

The tourist industry is vital to the economies of many countries. Orlando, Florida is one of those places in the U.S. However delightful it can be for visitors, working...

Vancouver, BC: ‘Hiving’ As A Resilient Affordable Housing Strategy

Vancouver, BC is the least affordable city in North America, with a high proportion of households with low incomes compared to Canada as a whole. As well, it's a...

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...
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