Affordable Housing Now

AR4736/630 Urban Policy 1, Fall 2016

This course surveyed affordable housing programs and projects around Southern California, as a means of illustrating how certain urban policies and financing tools can result in very specific architectural outcomes.

In years after World War Two, affordable housing was largely built and managed by government agencies, giving rise to “public housing” or “the projects.” Although dismissed today as a failed social experiment, with Pruitt Igoe serving as the most infamous example, a significant number of such “projects” still exist in the Los Angeles area. In the 80s, the Federal government instituted the HOPE VI program, which began to remake the Corbusier-inspired “towers in the park” projects with a New Urbanist influenced traditional neighborhood template. Today, the government creates affordable housing by subsidizing private development in varying degrees and through a multitude of zoning and financing strategies, identified by an alphabet and numerical soup of acronyms: HOME, SB1818, Section 8, CDBG, CTCAC and so forth. The nature of this funding and the competition for these funds has a significant influence on how, where and in what format affordable housing is developed today.

This course will investigate the architectural intentions and consequences of affordable housing policies. We will survey the history of affordable housing policies since World War Two to understand the evolution of these policies to the present day. We will visit affordable housing projects throughout the region to see the built and lived-in result of these policies. Students will meet with architects, developers and service providers who build affordable housing today, and tour their projects to assess contemporary policies and programs. We will review the affordable housing financing landscape to see it how delivers particular types of architecture. We will ask why does it seem that every affordable housing project is always painted in bold, primary colors?

Students will prepare a series of case studies documenting both historic and contemporary affordable housing projects.

Texts and Reading Material:

Participating Agencies, Architects, Developers, and Consultants:

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One response to “Affordable Housing Now

  1. Pingback: 2016 in Review | Delirious LA·

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