Categorized | opinion

affordable housing & affordable architecture

I’m going to assume that we all agree that affordable housing is necessary. We can also agree that there is a sever lack of affordable housing in Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley. I could continue studies that demonstrate that we have the highest concentrated poverty in the nation or the lowest on the development index. But I’ll assume that you are already familiar with our region’s issues.

With that clear, I’d like to focus on what architecture’s role is in affordable housing. I’ve long believed that quality designed housing has a huge impact on the health and success of it’s inhabitants. We can see from the poorly designed “projects” of the past the concentrating people in substandard housing solves the shelter issue but creates even more issues of segregation, crime, and poor health.

I believe that the architectural profession should be taking a stronger stance locally and saying “We need to solve these problems and we need to solve them right”

Check back shortly for some examples.

My question to you is: other than pure affordability, what are about the design of housing do you feel would help you have a more healthy, efficient, and sustainable lifestyle?

This post was written by:

kiel - who has written 140 posts on archop.

Kiel Schmidt is founder and curator of archop

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4 Responses to “affordable housing & affordable architecture”

  1. Abe Lopez says:

    Courtyards. Some of the smaller, older apt. complexes in the Tower district have courtyards and I think that would help develop a greater sense of community.

  2. Jason Scroggins says:

    For a growing portion of the population a tent is the only affordable solution – substandard though it may be – and there are lessons in the tent cities about vernacular methods of construction, adaptation to local conditions, and community that should be absorbed, not passed over.

    It is no accident that the Rural Studio was set up in Hale County as Hale County lacks building codes and therefore allows informal, ad hoc, housing solutions to spring up without the overhead of pre-planning. I think the role of architects in the valley must be to put some pressure on planning departments to relax building codes and to embrace, not resist, the informal, in situ, attempts at self-housing that pop up in the valley. To be more sensitive to localized needs and less concerned with “design” as an end unto itself. In short, to put people before infrastructure.

  3. Randy Nelson says:

    All residential subdivisions to have 20/3 ratio of market price/affordable homes. Similar architecture. Livable, walklable, sustainable, bikeable, access to all modes of transportation. Not auto reliant transportation. Stores, schools, recreation, health care, parks, playgrounds for young & old, gazebos, open space, trees, trails, entertaiment, water or ripariun feature & work in the community. Form-based codes.
    High density to include market rate and affordable. Multifamily buildings should have atriums, patios, courtyards, solar roofs, verandas, lanais, liveable, able to interact with one’s community outside one’s private living unit. Sidewalks, roadways & driveways to be permeable. Eaves over windows. Floor tubes for heating & cooling. Insulated walls & ceiling. Diode accent lighting for residential, public parks, trails, streets & commercial.


  1. [...] revitalization · Tuesday, the 14th – school construction · Wednesday, the 15th – affordable housing · Thursday, the 16th – sustainability · Friday, the 17th – inclusiveness · [...]

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