Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

HUD announces student winners of 2021 innovation in affordable housing design and planning competition

From HUD User, PD&R Edge, May 2021

“The 2021 Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Student Design and Planning Competition partnered with Fresno Housing Authority (FHA) to challenge teams to create innovative workforce housing solutions for residents of Firebaugh, California.”

An April article about the challenge described the Firebaugh site: “[F]ive properties that are contiguous but currently separated by fencing and other barriers that prevent resident interaction and community living. These barriers not only are physically unappealing but also contribute to the larger disconnectedness of the entire community. The residents who were interviewed indicated that an ideal design plan would remove these barriers, add green space and recreational elements, and improve the infrastructure necessary to support a car-centric, rural community.”

HUD selected four finalist teams: Columbia University; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and two collaborative teams: the University of Michigan with Harvard University and New York University with the Pratt Institute.

“Students engaged with FHA staff, local officials, site managers, employers, health providers, and residents… Michael Duarte, chief real estate officer for FHA, offered students key insights, challenges, and important considerations as they refined their plans for the final presentation and awards ceremony.”

“The Pratt Institute and New York University team’s winning plan, ‘A Breathable Connected Community,’ addresses the intergenerational and agricultural needs of the community. The team’s design included a comprehensive financial package and attention to environmental sustainability.”

“A team of students from the University of Michigan and Harvard University were this year’s runner-up for their understanding of the detailed financing scheme as well as their attention to phasing for onsite relocation.”

Read the full article here. (~5 min.)

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