THE Diamond Developers: Affordable Housing


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1. Use Pre-Existing Structures and Remodel Interior


The group feels that it’s a good idea because it solves more problems than just expensive housing. First, it helps transform brownfields into something functional. Second, it would take away a large structural cost, since the main foundation to the home is built. The remaining costs would be the interior, such as appliances, HVAC, and electrical. This reduces the cost that both the developer and the buyer would need to bring forward. In addition to old buildings, another pre-existing structure that can be used are shipping containers. Recently, a lot of people have been building their shipping container houses in order to save money on building costs as well as utility bills. This helps reduce the number of unused containers, while also decreasing costs to the homeowner, who again only has to pay for the interior remodeling.


  1. Build near Public Transportation

The group feels that building a development near transportation lines is a good idea because it reduces costs elsewhere in the homeowners life. It would benefit not only the owner, but would also benefit the companies that they work for. Being close to transportation would allow them to easily get to work. This would make housing more affordable in the sense that other expenses in the homeowners life would be decreased. Cars cost a lot of money both for maintenance and gas, so not needing to rely on one would leave more money in the budget for a home. Additionally, the developer would be able to eliminate substantial parking. This can increase the number of properties that can be built, ultimately increasing the density of the housing development.


  1. City wide policy requiring certain percent of housing in all development projects to be “affordable rate housing”

The group feels that this is a good idea because it can help solve problems that could potentially arise from neighborhoods with only affordable housing. These neighborhoods tend to be lower income, therefore the schooling is also not as great as some of the schools in suburbs. This is unfortunately a common problem, which is why integrating the affordable housing into all neighborhoods can help mix the socioeconomic statuses, and allow everyone to benefit from the better schooling and environments. This would help prevent these areas from becoming some place that people try to avoid. This plays more into circulating resources to everyone in the community, since there will be more interactions among different people. This can help spread ideas, knowledge, and even job prospects. It allows equal opportunity, regardless of your income. This can provide further payoffs in the future, and certainly allow more people to rise above their current income level.


Which is considered the best idea?

The group considers the first idea, remodeling pre-existing structures, the best idea for making housing more affordable. The idea solves more than just a housing problem, and saving money on the main structure and foundation work will cut a lot out of the overall budget. It helps more people afford housing, while also turning a previous brownfield into a functioning site that plays into the community. This idea helps not only the homeowners, but the other community members also benefit, and it is for that reason that it is thought to be the group’s best idea.


Planned Neighborhood: Affordable Housing


Our top three ideas were, owner-tenant multifaceted agreement, tax breaks and benefits for paying rent on time, and to promote energy efficiency and lower utility costs through tax benefits for insulating your home.

Tax benefits for insulating your home would make housing more affordable in more ways than one. For starters, the insulation in itself would help to save money on utilities by allowing the homeowner to use their heating and air conditioning less. To add tax benefits to would give even more saving to the homeowner making them it easier to pay for their mortgage or any other bills.

Giving tax breaks to renters who pay their rent on time would provide an excellent incentive for the renters to save some money. It would also help out the landlord with more people trying their best to pay their rent on time. This idea would promote good money management for renters as well.

Our team agreed that the best idea to make housing more affordable was an owner-tenant multi-faceted agreement. There are a number of different options in which this agreement could work. One example would be a homeowner or landlord hiring one of his tenants as a plumber to work on his properties for a reduction on their lease. This idea would allow any person with any type of skilled trade or training to afford housing.

Urban Avengers: Affordable Housing

How can we make housing more affordable?



1) Bundle utility costs.

Bundling utility costs are usually restricted to a rental property, such as high-volume-unit apartment buildings in metropolitan areas which are turning to utility bundling to attract tenants. In bundling, there is one fixed price for certain utilities (usually water, sewage, trash) and then the price for remaining utilities such as electric or gas (usually just electric) is based on usage, but is combined with the amount of the fixed price utilities and paid by tenant directly to the rental property as one amount rather than paying all utility companies separately. By bundling utility costs the separate bills are less daunting and usually much more cost effective. This makes it easier for the person who pays the bills to take care of this task, saving both time and money.

2) Encourage developers to build more affordable units in exchange for permission to build bigger buildings.

Larger buildings allow for more units, the more units in a building, the lower the costs and the more space the developers can sell. The residents share the costs of building materials and space equally. There is not the same outside space as a single-family home that requires it’s own costs to maintain. If the affordable housing is mixed use, including poor and middle class residents it will create a safer culture and allow the building to thrive, keeping prices low for the occupants.

3) Education/advising from community agencies regarding home ownership and the buying process.

Communities need to offer more free housing education services accessible to people who are new to home buying, people in low-income neighborhoods, and in neighborhoods where home rejuvenation is occurring and/or desired. This service could be provided by community agencies and/or community centers. Many times parents of potential residents living in these areas may not have ever owned a home or discussed with their children all aspects of home ownership. Because this knowledge was never handed down, there is a lack of knowledge for many in the new generations of home buyers to know the process of home buying/ownership experience. If people do not understand the process and long term results or consequences when purchasing a home, it can have catastrophic effects on the homebuyer and the neighborhood. Equally, there are many benefits to owning a home (tax breaks, investment strategies, etc.) that often are not taken advantage of by new homeowners simply for lack of knowledge.


We believe that out of our three ideas educating people is the best option. This initiative will create an everlasting impact on the people it educates and their children. Given this knowledge, people can make informed decisions about housing, which will lead to better quality of life, better neighborhoods and greater opportunities for success.