Ground Up Ideas // February 18, 2022

Let's talk about the term "affordable housing."

In the United States, it was introduced around the 1930s, at a time when a large majority of housing was becoming available at least to the middle class. "Affordable" was the modifier for the bracket of housing below that bar.

However, as rents continue to skyrocket and housing stock falls short, there is a much larger portion of the population that finds living costs unaffordable. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, more than 10 million people (1 in 4) pay more than half their income on rent, and nearly half (47%) spend over the recommended 30% of their income on rent and utilities.

When half the population is seeking out "affordable" housing, the qualifier really doesn't make sense anymore.

I'd propose a flipping of the script. Let's call any housing within 30% of average household income simply: housing. Any housing above that range should be called "luxury," or even "unaffordable" housing. Maybe it would help to put things in perspective.


M U S T - R E A D S

How mid-sized city can create their own, special innovation districts // ULI Global

Fifth Wall closes €140 million for European real estate tech fund // Yahoo Finance

Neri Oxman's vision for future cities that live in harmony with nature // Fast Company

This compact box on a Japanese rooftop converts into tiny coffee shop // designboom

An experimental development in Austin is car-free and affordable // Austin Monitor


I D E A S P O T L I G H T _ Hoek Home

Hoek Home is a beautiful, sustainable furniture line that clicks together in seconds with no tools. This furniture line was birthed during lockdown when founders Conor Coghlan and Brian Chu realized the sudden need for beautiful WFH desks that people can easily put together themselves. These desks literally click together in less than a minute, and best of all, are made from sustainable materials and fabrication practices.

Hoek Home recently donated several of their tables to Ground Up project, Silicon Harlem (thank you, Hoek Home!!)

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I N S T A G R A M S P O T L I G H T _ @verdidesign

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