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.


Explore Nation: How to Make Housing More Affordable

    Out of our ten different ideas to make housing more affordable, the three chosen most by the class were putting tax freezes on certain residents, depending on how long they’ve lived there, building with more eco-friendly materials, which will decrease the cost of monthly utilities, and allowing businesses or corporations to incentivize developers to build dense housing near mass transit.IMG_9236

    A tax freeze means the tax rate does not increase for people who have lived in their homes for a long time. It helps prevent gentrification by making sure people who have lived in their neighborhoods do not need to worry about the area becoming too expensive to live in when new people move in. Take Brooklyn, New York for example. This area, for a long time, was a cheap place to live that was very close to downtown and midtown Manhattan. However, because of its cheap prices and proximity to Manhattan, many people purchased land and changed it causing gentrification and forcing people who could not afford to live in the neighborhoods to move out. If there were more tax freezes, people would have been able to afford to live in their neighborhoods plus all the new public goods that came with new residents.

    Allowing businesses to give money to housing developments near mass transit will allow residents living there a reliable and relatively cheap mode of transportation. Because of this, business owners can more reliably know their workers will be able to get to work, giving them more reliable workers that regularly come to work on time, which gives them the incentive to pay for housing near mass transit. This practice makes these houses available to low income families. Additionally, these families will have a cost efficient way to get to work, lowering the cost of their daily commute.

    Finally, our group’s favorite solution is to use more eco-friendly materials in construction. By doing so, the cost of utilities and the environmental impact will decrease. For example, using energy efficient windows will keep heat and air conditioning in, creating a more stable environment in which the amount of energy used to heat and cool the house will decrease, lowering the cost of utilities. Energy efficient appliances like lightbulbs, refrigerators, dishwashers, and air conditioners can also be installed to save on monthly costs. Other sustainable practices include using recycled building materials such as engineered lumber, fly ash concrete, steel, tile, or cotton insulation. Metal roofs can save on energy, collect rainwater, and can lower homeowners insurance. Landscaping around the house can be strategically chosen and placed to provide shading, cooling, and protection from wind and noise. While all of these eco-friendly practices make housing more affordable in the long run, they also improve occupant health, comfort, productivity, and reduce pollution and landfill waste.