GOOD

Sustainable Development Makes Housing Affordable

Rent isn’t the only variable that determines how affordable a particular home is. Access to transit and amenities like groceries matters, too.

Between 2001 and 2008, the Illinois Housing Development Authority greenlit 248 affordable housing developments in the Chicago area. In Illinois, affordable housing operates on a simple principle: housing costs shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of a family’s annual budget. But rent isn’t the only variable that determines how affordable a particular home is. Sustainability matters, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Mixed Messages

Walk through L.A.'s organic (and illegal) mixed-use communities.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Residents of Transit-Oriented Development Say "No" to Transit

What happens when a neighborhood is transit-ready but its residents are transit-averse?

See that expansive patch of grass? That's where the light rail was supposed to go. But the residents of King Farm, a 440-acre community in the outer suburbs of Washington, D.C. who knowingly moved into this transit-ready development have decided they don't actually want the transit. In fact, a city council member and King Farm resident said the proposed light rail (which the community was designed around) would bring "no benefits" to the neighborhood while being "incredibly disruptive."

Such a reaction doesn't come as a complete surprise. A few years ago, I sat around a table with developers to plan a new housing development in Florida. Some of us were eager to make that community less car-dependent, others less so. My colleague and I presented several design options that would encourage people to walk and get to know their neighbors. One was the creation of a central location where residents would come to pick up their mail; another was a neighborhood cafe as an alternative to the proposed drive-thru Starbucks in a strip mall on the outskirts of town. As we were showing renderings, we were interrupted by a member of the team who said with no small hint of frustration in his voice, "Sorry, but you can't design for the way you want people to behave."

Keep Reading Show less
Articles