May 31, 2013

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Beyond Bricks & Sticks. A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Apple Puts Spotlight On Disability Offerings In App Store

(RECAP: Titled “Special Education,” the section includes 72 applications for the iPhone and 13 applications for the iPad in 10 categories.)

What's Missing from City Plans? Everything That Matters, Says Economist

(RECAP: Economist Carl Schramm argues that "the practice of city planning has escaped reality." He indicts planners, and the plans that cities produce, for ignoring the economic imperatives that constitute a successful city.)

Capacity Building Grants

(RECAP: The Community Foundation’s (CTF) Capacity Building grants support opportunities to build infrastructure for a strong and sustainable community of nonprofit organizations. Requests may be submitted at any time and are reviewed quarterly (at the end of February, May, August and November) by TCF’s Distributions Committee.)

Successional Urbanism: An Interview with Andrés Duany

(RECAP: Architect and town planner Galina Tachieva sits down with New Urbanism innovator Andrés Duany to discuss lean urbanism, successional urbanism and the Transect, the orthodoxy of the small block.)

Geography and personality…Ties that bind?

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One of the refrains of real estate is “location, location, location,” but how much is the appeal of location also driven by personality? This post on the Sustainable Cities Collective website discusses “the significance of geography and location to the personality of various people in the United States of America” and how research seems to indicate that birds of a feather do indeed flock together. The State Personality Map is interactive, letting you click through five different types of personalities (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism) and view how states rank in each of these categories. Take a look and see if you agree or disagree with the map’s assertions.

One takeaway from this for neighborhood planners is that they can map out development concepts and layouts that appeal to the predominant personality types in a state (or an even more localized area, if the data drills down enough). It adds another layer of analysis to the “Well, they loved this in Reston” historical context, and can save developers from trying to push the wrong types of developments in areas that may not support them.

If nothing else, we can have a grand old time comparing state ratings and arguing over the results. Would you base a move on the State Personality Map, or are there other factors that outweigh a community’s personality on your choice of where to live?

Geography and Personality - Are they related? Sustainable Cities Collective
The United States of Mind, WSJ

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May 22, 2013

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Beyond Bricks & Sticks. A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Learning from success

(RECAP: Now is the opportunity for planners to respond to market/value shifts and plan the region, city, neighborhoods, blocks and lots with place-proven urban tools, which are NOT the same tools that have been building suburbia over the past 50 plus years.)

Creative Housing for Seniors

(RECAP: In cohousing communities, like Takoma Village in Washington, D.C., residents own their units but share a common house to socialize and enjoy meals.)

Quantifying the Value of Trees in Urban Areas

(RECAP: Quantifying the value of trees draws attention to and emphasizes how much better they make our cities. Evolving software called the i-Tree tool can place a dollar amount on the trees in a city to decipher their economic value.)

Habitat for Humanity Charlottesville’s redevelopment of Sunrise Park models mixed-income, intergenerational housing

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In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is a need to address affordable housing opportunities for communities and neighborhoods. Also, there is a need to create homes where people can age in place. Intergenerational housing is a useful strategy that is intended to transform both these existing conditions into sustainable communities that are walkable and transit oriented.

One current example of this model can be found in Charlottesville, Virginia. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville set out to transform a trailer park community named Sunrise Park into single family homes, duplexes and condominiums.

In 2004, Habitat purchased the 16-unit trailer park and made a promise to existing residents that they would have guaranteed housing. Nine of the 16 families elected to stay. Sunrise Park occupies one full city block and when completed in 2013, it will contain up to 66 housing units, including 20 duplex houses, 20 single family homes and a condo building with 15 apartments.

The design was modeled as a community hub to bring existing and aspiring residents together and enable them to share common amenities, such as a communal backyard space. Watch Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville's video, Saving Sunrise, to learn more about the development process of this community.

If you cannot view the video directly from the blog post or by clicking on the link above, copy and paste the url into your internet browser.

May 16, 2013

Are you ready to become a non-profit organization? (Part 1)

Virginia's non-profits meet many housing needs. Monica Jefferson shares insight from experience in helping organizations blossom from thought to reality. 

Many of us have a desire or passion to make a difference in our community. We see needs or major issues that need to be resolved. We discuss it with colleagues, family and friends. Then the suggestion is made by your center of influence to start a non-profit organization.  Many of us have informal non-profit groups based on personal and professional networks. But is starting a new non-profit necessary to serve the community?

Consider the following questions before you begin filing your articles of incorporation with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission (SCC).

May 15, 2013

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Beyond Bricks & Sticks. A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Ask Your CDBG/108 Questions Using OneCPD Ask A Question

(RECAP: HUD now has a centralized Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)/ Section 108 portal tool to enable customers to ask Community Planning and Development (CPD) policy and program questions online and receive timely and consistent answers by email.)

Are Affordable Housing with Services Strategies Effective?

(RECAP: There is no one right way of choosing services delivery strategies. There are, however, lessons learned from the experiences of housing and services providers about the value to each of providing health and preventative services in affordable senior housing communities.)

Leaders for Communities

(RECAP: This social networking site, sponsored by NeighborWorks America, connects current and future leaders at community development organizations across the country and lets them share ideas and experiences.)

May 10, 2013

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Beyond Bricks & Sticks. A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Housing with Services

AARP: Seniors Need Better Internet Access to Support Aging in Place

(RECAP: Seniors need to have better access to high-speed Internet to benefit from Web-based technologies that support aging in place such as telehealth and “smart home” systems.)

Neighborhood Transformation

Don't get mixed-up on mixed-use

(RECAP: The most common misunderstanding about mixed-use is that most people think it equates, on any street or in any context, to a shop front with housing above.)

New Habitat for Humanity projects put environment at front and center
(RECAP: Habitat's Shala Carlson shares two projects that expand the concept — and possibilities — of green living in affordable housing.)

The Games of Government

(RECAP: Some local governments have pioneered the use of gaming for citizen engagement. Manor, Texas, for example, has used an online-game approach to let citizens submit ideas for improving city services.)

Strengthening Capacity

Evaluation of Capacity Building: Lessons from the Field

(RECAP: Tools, tips and lessons learned to strengthen capacity building through evaluation and to seed the field for new possibilities.)

May 2, 2013

AHOME Housing Hall of Fame Awards Celebration!

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Michael Scheurer is the Community Housing Officer spearheading our NOVA outreach efforts. If anyone knows what's going on with affordable housing in Northern Virginia, it's Michael. We asked him to report from the field and share upcoming events in case you're interested. This edition focuses on the AHOME Hall of Fame Awards. 

The AHOME Hall of Fame Awards celebration is May 8 at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Conference Center in Arlington. This annual event honors those who have significantly advocated and enhanced the production of affordable housing opportunities in Northern Virginia, and Fairfax County specifically.

For those who may not know, AHOME is a non-profit coalition of community businesses, developers, financial organizations, unions, resident organizations and other non-profit public service groups helping meet community needs for affordable housing in Northern Virginia. 

2013 Award Winners

May 1, 2013

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Beyond Bricks & Sticks. A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Housing Event

Mapping RVA: A Fair Housing Multimedia Exhibition

(RECAP: Didn't get a chance to stop by during Fair Housing Month? HOME's multimedia fair housing exhibition is still on display!)

General Housing

De Blasio: City Is In Dire Need Of More Affordable Housing

(RECAP: New York Public Advocate's Plan Would Preserve 200,000 Units Over 10 Years)

Housing with Services

Shelly Perkins of Lite98 Talks About "Walking in Their Shoes"

(RECAP: "One thousand people, homeless children, single adults and families are right around Richmond at any given time,"said Bill Bevins in an on-air discussion about Affordable Housing Week.)

Community Investment

E*TRADE Bank Grants $150,000 to Habitat for Humanity NOVA

(RECAP:  Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia announces with gratitude a $150,000 grant by E*TRADE Bank.)