January 7, 2014

Form a Team. Create a Plan. Make a Real-World Impact

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Introducing HUD’s Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition

IAH LogoCalling all design and planning grad students with a hunger to make a real difference!  HUD is announcing its new Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Student Design and Planning Competition.   HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research is teaming up with the Housing Authority of Bergen County (HABC) to identify a real-world affordable housing design and planning project for this inaugural competition.  Multi-disciplinary graduate student teams will be asked to create innovative solutions involving design, planning, and finance. Students will also be asked to consider larger community issues.

This new initiative is exciting for several reasons. First, we know graduate students have great ideas. This competition can bring some of these creative ideas into the national spotlight and add to the larger conversation on best practices in affordable housing.   Second, we want to raise the discourse about affordable housing among graduate students.  Additionally, our multi-disciplinary team requirement ensures that not only planners – but those with architecture, finance, real-estate, business, and other concentrations will be thinking about affordable housing.  This cross collaboration simulates the real world workplace and enforces the fact that affordable housing development requires dedicated and creative practitioners from a variety of fields. In short, affordable housing is everyone’s business.

HABC has offered a challenging project for the competition. It’s a historic American Legion building situated on 1.5 acres. HABC photo of 324 main stwishes to maintain this historic building while providing affordable housing for homeless veterans.  IAH student participants will need to consider design, community development, and financing elements in order to provide an all-encompassing plan and solution that would allow HABC to meet their goal. They will also need to understand the needs of the intended residents, the zoning restrictions, and leveraging opportunities.

The competition will culminate in a final presentation at HUD Headquarters in Washington, DC.  A jury of academics, practitioners, planners, and architects will hear the presentation of the student finalist teams.  Following the jury’s decision, the first place team will receive $10,000 and the runner up will receive $5,000. We’re pleased to offer this extra incentive for busy graduate students to participate!

Follow along with competition updates online or on Twitter @PDRevents.

Claire Desjardins is a Program Analyst in the Research Utilization Division of HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research.

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