Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition
Site Visit to Santa Barbara, California
Finalist student teams traveled to Santa Barbara to meet with the management of the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara in March 2016.
The theme of this year’s Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition (IAH) is expanding access to family housing for the Monteria Village community located in Santa Barbara, California. The competition, now in its third year running, is sponsored by the Office of Policy Development and Research, and encourages graduate students from across numerous disciplines to develop new, innovative approaches to planning and design in affordable housing. Through this collaborative effort, the teams work to integrate innovative solutions that also address existing community challenges for the site selected. Monteria Village was chosen by the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara (HACSB) due, in large part, to the community challenge of responding to the current housing shortage for families that live in the area. The site itself, a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) development, sits on approximately 2 acres of land, contains a mix of 35 two- to five-room dwelling units, and is accessible to a nearby community garden and other valuable community assets. Student teams were asked to submit proposals that address environmental quality, the social needs of the community, and offer a range of financing tools that meet HACSB’s goal of providing family housing options for area residents. The students must demonstrate that they understand the needs of the prospective residents, zoning restrictions, and leveraging of financing sources.
In Santa Barbara, finalist student teams visited the Monteria Village development, the project site selected by the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara.
In mid-February, a jury panel consisting of practitioners, planners, and architects, narrowed the submissions down to four finalist teams during the first phase of the competition. On March 9, the finalists traveled to beautiful Santa Barbara to meet with housing authority management and personnel and visit the project site. The students were treated to words of encouragement from the Honorable Helene Schneider, the Mayor of Santa Barbara and HUD Los Angeles Field Office Director Marcie Chavez. Rachelle Levitt, Director of the Research Utilization Division of the Office of Policy Development and Research at HUD, spoke to the finalists to help them prepare for the second phase of the competition.
The site visit provided a valuable opportunity for students to walk the grounds of the Monteria Village development, evaluate its current design and construction landscape, and learn about the needs of current residents, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. Lunch was served at the site’s community center and featured traditional Latin American dishes, accompanied by the popular beverage Agua de flor de Jamaica (hibiscus tea).
The site visit provided a valuable opportunity for students to evaluate the current design and construction landscape of the Monteria Village Development, and learn about the needs of current residents, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.
During the visit, Rob Pearson, Executive Director of HACSB, and Skip Szymanski, Deputy Director, spoke on the project’s objectives. The housing authority’s site directors and supportive services staff were also on hand to answer questions and offer guidance, particularly on the various funding strategies available and share success stories of residents who have successfully utilized client services offered through the agency. Students seemed inspired to incorporate what they have learned into their final project submissions during the second phase of the competition.
Finalists will present their plans at HUD Headquarters on April 19, 2016, where the jury will have an opportunity to ask the teams questions and then will deliberate and make its final selection of the winner and runner-up teams.
HUD Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti will announce the winners at the event.
The public is invited to attend this final competition event either in person or via webcast. More information and registration can be found here.