When affordable housing starts in a factory

ARTICLE

Eric Jaffe, SideWalkLabs, 18 May 2018

“On the one side, I was building all kinds of hardware and software with the engineering team,” says Holm. “And then in the outside world, looking at how to scale out the physical stores, I was looking at this world that was just completely inefficient.” He was dealing with city bureaucracy, working to obtain the right permits for various parts of the construction, and hitting seemingly unavoidable delays throughout the process. “I was like: ‘This is crazy.’ ”

Nightingale Housing wants you to own a great apartment

ARTICLE

Lucy Feagins, The Design Files, 13 February, 2018

The Nightingale Model empowers architects to develop their own thoughtfully designed medium-density apartment buildings. Profit margins are capped, and savings are passed directly onto homebuyers. For their part, homebuyers have to play by the rules too. They must be owner-occupiers, and they must agree to certain limitations about on-selling their apartment in the future, to ensure affordability is passed on.


For more coverage of Nightingale Housing click here, for Nightingale Housing’s website click here, to watch Jeremy McLeod’s TEDx Talk click here, and for a short film featuring Jeremy and a tenant / soon to be owner, click here.

The secret to building affordable homes

SHORT FILM

Jonna Dreiman, Monocle, 9 November 2017

Even if this project is quite cost efficient we have tried to use high quality materials with nice finishes. The modules are built in a factory in Sweden on an assembly line with nine stations. The factory can make up to two apartments every day and this modular apartment can be stacked into small buildings and even big buildings.

For more of architect Andreas Martin-Löf’s work with prefabricated and affordable housing, click here.

Pocket Living

SHORT FILM / PROPERTY DEVELOPER WEBSITE

Pocket Living

Pocket Living is a property developer with a difference. We sell well-designed homes to local people so the people who make a city can also make it their home. Our compact Pocket homes are sold outright at a discount of at least 20% to the surrounding market rate. They’re only for first time buyers who live or work locally; we call them city makers.


For more from Pocket Living and their affordable housing developments, click here.

Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats

ARTICLE

The Economist, 6 July 2017

Today there are about 1m HDB apartments, largely clustered in two dozen new towns that extend in a semicircle around the city’s coastal core. Each year the government sells a fresh batch of as-yet-unbuilt flats, predominantly to first-time buyers. They all come with 99-year leases and are sold at lower-than-market prices, though successful applicants must wait three or four years for their blocks to be completed. Alternatively Singaporeans can choose to buy existing HDB apartments directly from their owners, at whatever price buyer and seller can agree. First- and second-time buyers get money through government grants, regardless of whether they buy new or old flats. Quotas ensure that the mix of Chinese, Indians and Malays in each HDB block reflects the ethnic make-up of the country as a whole, a measure designed to preclude the formation of racial enclaves.


For another article about Singapore HDB program, see ‘“But what about Singapore?” Lessons from the best public housing program in the world‘ from the World Bank’s website.

The New Urban Crisis

PODCAST

Andrew Tuck, Monocle, 4 May 2017

Special interview: Richard Florida

Our cities have become small little areas of concentrated wealth and advantage for the global super rich, for knowledge workers, for the members of my own creative class. It’s not just the 1%, it’s about a third of us who can make a go, but then the other two thirds, falling further and further behind and surrounding these areas of concentrated advantage much larger spans of concentrated disadvantage, and those are not only in the city, what’s so interesting about The New Urban Crisis, that’s spread out to what we used to think of as the great affluent suburbs, so it really is a new geographic divide in our society, and that divide is not only causing inequality it’s causing this terrible backlash.


To visit Richard Florida’s website click here, for an article from The Guardian about his previous thesis on The Creative Class and it’s relationship to The New Urban Crisis click here, and for a longer discussion of The New Urban Crisis with the LSE Cities Ricky Burdett click here.

On how to make an attractive city

SHORT FILM

School of Life, 26 Jan 2015

Cities are a big deal. We pretty much all have to live in them. We should try hard to get them right. So few cities are nice, very few out of many thousands are really beautiful; embarrassingly the more appealing ones tend to be old, which is weird because we’re mostly much better at making things now.


For a related articles and short films by The School of Life on Ugliness and the Housing Crisis click here and on Relativism and Urban Planning click here.

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

DOCUMENTARY

Chad Freidrichs, Unicorn Stencil, 2012

Long after the duct settled and the site was cleared this is the Pruitt-Igoe that remained. The mythical Pruitt-Igoe with a fatal flaw, doomed to failure from he start. Little was said about the laws that built and maintained it, the economy that deserted it, the segregation that stripped away opportunity, the radically changing city in which it stood. In the years of Pruitt-Igoe the American city was wrenched apart by devastating forces. They were felt most deeply by a large, but vulnerable housing on the north side of St Louis. It’s a powerful story with a dramatic end and its after shocks are still with us.

The Triumph of the City

BOOK

Edward L. Glaeser, Penguin Press, 2011

Cities, the dense agglomerations that dot the globe, have been engines of innovation since Plato and Socrates bickered in an Athenian marketplace. The streets of Florence gave us the Renaissance, and the streets of Birmingham gave us the Industrial Revolution. The great prosperity of contemporary London and Bangalore and Tokyo comes from their ability to produce new thinking. Wandering these cities—whether down cobblestone sidewalks or grid-cutting cross streets, around roundabouts or under freeways—is to study nothing less than human progress.


For a talk by Edward Glaeser at UC San Diego summarising this book click here. For a discussion of Glaeser’s work on eliminating barriers to innovation for food trucks by The Urbanist, Alan Davies click here.

The downside of having cities that are both productive and fun is that if you don’t build enough housing they become too expensive. There is no repealing the laws of supply and demand.

Edward Glaeser, economist