February 3, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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

Strongest Town Contest | A March Madness-Style Competition

RECAP : We know that no one's town is perfect. StrongTown.org inviting readers and residents to nominate towns based on Strong Towns principles. This contest is about showcasing towns that are doing their best to be strong, that have the building blocks in place to be strong towns today and in the future. Strong Town believes a strong town naturally blends housing styles at many different price points. The deadline for submissions is February 17 at 11pm CT.

The Case for Small Home Design as a Component of Sustainability Efforts

(RECAP: At the 2016 convention of the American Institute of Architects, Michael Fifield, director of the Housing Specialization Program at the University of Oregon, held a session titled “Smaller Residential Unit Design Principles as a Key to Sustainability.” His session made a case for including small home design within larger efforts to reform land use patterns for achieving sustainability. According to Fifield, small homes could not only help meet current housing demand generated by demographic shifts but also reduce energy use.)

Celebrating placemaking: The role of arts and culture in community development

(RECA: Placemaking, wielded skillfully, is a powerful tool to preserve, respect, lift up, and celebrate the culture of a community in ways that go far beyond aesthetics. Giving placemaking and, within that, arts and culture, a seat at the table when community development decisions are made can help to support more equitable outcomes. This can be especially critical in neighborhoods grappling with significant vacancy and abandonment challenges.)

This Jacket Designed For Homeless People Takes Wireless Donations Electronically

(RECAP: With fewer and fewer people carrying cash, this makes it much easier to give—and gives the homeless a bank account to help build savings.)

Placing housing costs in context

(RECAP: National data on an issue like housing affordability is important to informing the creation of good federal policy. However, as with most things, the national perspective can miss the multitudes of experiences for different communities. Part of this comes from the relationship between housing costs and the other costs that households have to negotiate.)

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