The most important houses being built in America right now are affordable houses.
Whenever we decide to cover a house, we ask a question: Does this home present a new idea about how design can improve someone’s life in a way that transcends its specific circumstance? From the most cleverly constructed tiny home to a brilliantly reconceived interior to an architecturally daring structure, the houses we cover and the people whose stories we tell present design ideas that are relevant at any scale or on any budget.
But when we started planning our annual Made in America series of stories, we decided that the most important homes being made here right now are affordable homes. Even before the pandemic, 38 million households in the United States—nearly one in three—spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs (a common benchmark for affordability), and the number of people without housing of any kind had been growing in cities across the country. Now, the economic fallout from Covid-19 could leave millions facing eviction in just a few months. Add to that the people displaced by storms, wildfires, and other climate change–related disasters, and you have an unprecedented housing crisis.
Rather than dwelling on the many causes that brought us here—from the commodification of housing in the 20th century to deepening income inequality now—we decided instead to focus on solutions.
We’re telling the stories of architects, developers, policymakers, and activists fighting to provide people with homes. In “
Focusing on the latter, New Orleans architect
On the policy front, former Denver city councilmember
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