Thoughtful Dialogues on Housing in Harvard White Paper

Published: Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 by Lenora

Source: Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Source: Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

I’m honored that my note on “Business and Investment Innovation to Achieve Housing for All” was included in the white paper on housing innovation that came out of the 2016 Strategic Innovation Summit on Affordable Communities Everywhere held by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Check out the white paper here. My earlier wrap of this stimulating weekend is here.

The case studies, nicely presented and summarized in the white paper, feature all the case studies I didn’t get to summarize and two excellent interactive dialogues: one on design, construction, and materials and a second on community.

Among the case studies, I’d highlight:

  • A case study of Slum Dwellers International and NGO Red de Accion Comunitaria in Cochabamba that mobilizes microloans for women alongside skills building for housing improvement
  • A pilot partnership in Albania between the central and local governments to build new affordable rental housing
  • Two new EU funds to streamline local communities’ ability to apply, receive and manage community development funds
  • Conversion of a historic mill into a mixed use development with affordable units leveraging state and federal credits and programs
  • A housing fund in Beijing to increase the supply of mixed income, subsidized and also transit-oriented housing
  • A low cost, modular and flexible intermediate housing solution in the wake of Ecuador’s earthquake

In the thoughtful and nuanced colloquies, you’ll hear housing innovation leaders openly discuss the tensions that are embedded in but often not explicitly acknowledged across different disciplines.

Among my favorite conversations:

  • Concrete good or bad?
  • Progress with alternative materials
  • Market acceptance (or often not) of alternative building technologies and materials
  • The intangible value, definitions and benefits of “community”
  • The interaction of design and infrastructure with community building
  • Trust, decision-making, capacity building and community development

Please do reach out with comments and follow up. We’d love to continue the discussion.