In order to encourage research, collaboration, and creativity in affordable housing and community development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsors an annual innovation competition. By initiating and funding this competition, HUD hopes to encourage and support experts in fields like architecture, planning, policy, and finance as they strive to improve affordable and sustainable housing for low- and moderate-income Americans.
Called the Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition, the fourth annual edition took place this year. It involved a real-world scenario that required competitors to provide creative ideas for addressing economic, social, environmental, and construction issues in redeveloping Woodhill Homes, a 478-unit multifamily property owned and operated by the Cuyahoga County Ohio Metropolitan Housing Authority.
And the Winner Is…
Students presented their final projects to a jury of practitioners and a live audience at HUD’s headquarters in Washington, DC. A graduate student team from Rutgers University was picked from among four finalists as the winner of the innovation competition. A team from the University of Michigan was named the runner-up.
“We’re so proud to help honor these outstanding students,” said Matthew Ammon, HUD’s General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. “I want to congratulate the team from Rutgers, and all of our finalists, for their passion and ingenuity in expanding housing opportunity for Americans of modest means.”
Rutgers received $20,000 for its plan to build public and private spaces at the community, increase energy efficiency, and construct a mixed-use building with community space for resident services. Its members included graduate students from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and the Department of Landscape Architecture in the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.
The University of Michigan team was praised for its plans to create a family-centered sustainable community that puts an emphasis on social services, puts residents in touch with healthcare resources, and develops economic partnerships with local organizations.
It All Starts with Housing
At the end of the day, we wall want to have a safe and welcoming place to go home to. This contest put a spotlight on ways we can improve affordable housing, and by doing so improve the lives of residents. At Skild, we love innovation competitions that are conducted for the greater good. Kudos to HUD and all the participants.