With Boomer and Millennial populations already straining the capacity of existing housing stock, and Generation Z’s needs on the horizon, these demographics, increasing construction costs, and decreasing land availability, mean rising costs and decreased opportunities for homeownership. The economic problem is clear, but the solution remains elusive. Many of the post-war American ¬social housing efforts exacerbated socio-economic divides, and subsidized/affordable housing initiatives remain controversial.
Since the current housing market took shape after WWII, the idealized American home has been self-sufficient, with both the necessities of shelter and auxiliary amenities (garage, storage, guest rooms, office, etc.) located within the individual unit, resulting in a market full of undifferentiated, inefficient and expensive homes. New collectivized housing models often struggle with the “tragedy of the commons’ and stigma against shared amenities, while subsidized housing doesn’t address the root causes of the housing shortage.
We propose to the de-couple shelter, that has the ability to aggregate based upon user needs, programmatically from ancillary functions in order to address issues of supply and demand vs physiological need, ownership vs access, market-based affordable housing, and aging in place and/or expansions and contraction of the family unit.
This is achieved by creating the following framework for a community model that can be repeated as part of a larger network.
Epiphytic Construction Model
The appropriation of existing building stock addresses the rising cost of construction and limited land availability, especially near urban cores where affordable housing is often most difficult to find.
Safe shelter is a human right, and we propose that the Housing Units be 100% subsidized. A 20% volumetric “inefficiency” built into the expansion framework, ensuring permeability as more units are added. Units aggregate as a means of addressing shifting family sizes, allowing groups to up – or down-size in place.
The Central Core provides all social services and public community utilities while establishing a framework for the insertion of programs that are determined by free-market needs but governed by zoning algorithms and dimensional requirements that address sustainability, resiliency, energy, inclusivity, and social well-being. This creates equality among the outward-facing “Housing Suites” while the expression of individual means in the form of paid access to private amenities is also relocated to the central core that sits atop a public garden.
Ring City as Urban Strategy
Zoning requirements night also apply to a broader framework creating opportunities to link communities’ economies, hearkening back to E.Howard’s Garden City model. However, in this proposal, the rural in-between becomes part of the city.
Each resident takes ownership of a housing unit, which contains living, dining, kitchen, and sleeping quarters, providing a lower-cost entry point to the “property ladder,” with the added flexibility to add it remove amenities over time, sell your parcel, leverage proximities, or provide services within the central core or to the larger community network.