October 13, 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.

Better Housing Coalition Buys A Quality Inn? One Nonprofit Developer’s Shift in Strategy

(RECAP: Best known for investing in rundown, vacant properties with the goal of neighborhood revitalization and drawing investors, the Better Housing Coalition in Richmond is trying a new tactic. In “their largest investment to date,” the nonprofit recently acquired a former Quality Inn in the neighborhood called Scott’s Addition through a competitive bidding process, with plans of creating an entire block of mixed-income apartments.)

The First Principles of Urbanism: Part I

(RECAP: if we have any hope of guessing how technology will change cities  —  and of shaping that change with good policy and planning  —  we need to strip away our historical understandings, our focus on existing technology, and our personal preferences. In short, we need to get to first principles. And that requires looking first at the essential elements of a city: people and space.)

Better Plans for Better Places

(RECAP: How the Sustainable Communities Initiative — the most comprehensive federal support for community and regional planning in recent history — changed the way the country plans for a prosperous and sustainable future.)

How HUD and public housing authorities can support students

(RECAP: Public schools and public housing authorities share the work of serving the nation’s poorest children. Given their shared population, it is not surprising that some school districts and housing authorities are finding ways to work together. And HUD’s Moving To Work designation allows housing authorities policy and funding flexibility to pursue non-housing initiatives.)

Are solar roadways on the road to reality?

(RECAP: Beyond turning highways into green energy generators, the panels would also heat themselves, eliminating the need for salt and snow plows, and contain lights that could replace street signs or deliver warnings to motorists. Most importantly, the solar roads would pay for themselves.)

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