|3. Get ahead of the curve by proactively planning for the future|
In developing and implementing a strategic housing plan, it's critical to stay ahead of the curve. In particular, it's important to understand where future growth is likely to take place as it will generally be easier and less expensive to intervene in the market before a neighborhood has "taken off" rather than afterwards. Planning for future growth also involves coordinating housing, transportation and economic development plans so that working families can afford to live near (or with good transportation access to) employment centers.
For example, some communities have taken steps to make sure housing affordable to working families is available in neighborhoods adjacent to proposed mass transit stations. These areas can accommodate greater residential density and allow development with
Centennial Place, Atlanta GA -- Photo courtesy of McCormack Baron Salazar
Bungalow Court, Minneapolis MN -- Photo courtesy of LHB Inc.
|7. Insist on excellent design|
Like any other form of housing, affordable homes can be designed well or designed poorly. Governments should insist that any affordable homes they support be well-designed – both to ensure that they remain durable assets for the residents and the community and to minimize public opposition.
The City of Boston has taken design recommendations a step further; the City's housing strategy not only promotes good design that fits with the surrounding neighborhood, but indicates that design standards will be modified to incorporate construction practices that help reduce the incidence of asthma. In addition, authors of the report note that the Mayor's Green Building Taskforce will recommend greater use of green building techniques and high energy performance technology in new construction and major renovation projects.
|Public opposition to new development is one of the biggest obstacles to expanding the supply of homes affordable to working families. State and local leaders can help expand public support for new or rehabilitated homes by working to educate the public about their benefits for the community, as well as the importance of providing homes for essential workers. |
Encouraging public involvement throughout the planning process is a powerful way to build a strong base of support, but efforts should not end once the plan has been officially accepted. Fairfax County’s affordable housing plan includes a recommendation for the establishment of an ongoing advocacy and public education campaign to promote the need for affordable and workforce housing and advocate for full funding of related programs.
Among other things, members of the committee that developed the plan will serve as "ambassadors," speaking to civic organizations and the media about housing. Similarly, as part of the development of its housing strategy, Provincetown, Massachusetts created a Community Support Work Group,
Crawford Square, Pittsburgh PA -- Photo courtesy of McCormack Baron Salazar