September 3, 2014

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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

2014 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference

(RECAP: In addition to keynote speaker David Steven, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the conference features educational concurrent sessions and a variety of thought-provoking plenary sessions in housing, finance and community development. Slated for October 29 – 31 in Norfolk.)

Coalition Urges Congress to Expand Access to RAD

(RECAP: As affordable housing programs face budget cuts year after year, public housing authorities (PHAs) are increasingly asked to do more with less. Out of these difficult circumstances came the idea of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which allows PHAs to place targeted public housing properties on more stable financial footing for the long term.)

Fee-Simple Small Lots Yield Urbane Density

(RECAP: The choice of fee-simple lots rather than what could have been apartments or condos changes a broad spectrum of development considerations. The market for fee-simple ownership is broader, and the home values are higher than those for communal ownership.)

London Joins The List Of Cities Trying To Build Swimming Pools In Their Rivers

(RECAP: When it comes to inventive urbanism, big cities tend to copy one another. Bike sharing, riverside beaches and High Line-type initiatives--were all good ideas that started in one location before being widely imitated. The latest trend: swimming pools carved out of rivers. New York’s project, called +Pool, is set for a 2016 launch. Now London wants in.)

Overall, Americans in the Suburbs Are Still the Happiest

(RECAP: The State of the City Poll, which surveyed a representative sample of over 1,600 U.S. adults on a wide-ranging set of topics related to quality of life and local government policies, found that all things considered, Americans who live in suburban areas are the most satisfied with the places where they live.)

HUD Improves Project-Based Voucher Program But More Remains to Be Done

(RECAP: HUD has recently made some important changes to the rules for its Project-Based Voucher PBV program, which helps families live in affordable rental housing. While the changes were an improvement, unfortunately, HUD’s final rule did not incorporate many suggestions made by CBPP and other groups that would further strengthen the program.)

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