May 6, 2016

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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

Mixed-use density in a suburban center: Clarendon Center, Arlington 

(RECAP: Building density that supports walkable urban centers is a key strategy of new urbanists—but this goal is challenging in already built-out suburbs. Existing conditions, space constraints, zoning restrictions and long approval processes often present obstacles. Despite those barriers, Arlington’s two-block Clarendon Center combines historic buildings, 244 residences, 181,000 square feet of office space and a neighborhood grocery store.)

Out of institutions and into independent living

(RECAP: Volunteers of America Chesapeake’s Northern Virginia Community Living Centers is a program that coordinates housing and supportive services for local adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.)

Workforce Shortages and Creative Partnerships

(RECAP: The shortage of skilled construction workers is one of the key factors in rapidly rising construction costs that have a significant impact on the industry’s ability to provide affordable housing. HomeAid Northern Virginia is undertaking a unique approach to address this situation: they are proactively convening seemingly disparate partners — homebuilder construction trades and nonprofit homelessness service providers — and building a pathway to skilled construction jobs for some of our community’s most vulnerable residents.)

What does it take to forge strong partnerships between cities and anchor institutions?

(RECAP: As cities look to leverage their assets and find their footing in a post-recession, postindustrial era, many are forging partnerships with anchor institutions—colleges, universities, hospitals and medical centers—to address the challenges facing urban communities.)

Final ‘Housing Matters’ program looks at village model for aging in place 

(RECAP: In the 1990s, we heard often “It takes a village to raise a child.” These days more and more towns across the country are adopting the idea that it takes a village to age seniors in place. On April 11, the Council on Aging, Friends of the Council on Aging, and the League of Women Voters presented the last program in their Housing Matters series — a look at how the village concept allows older people to remain in their homes with supportive services.)

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