Affordable Housing: Reports from Globe 2012
N.B. I have changed the location for this project from
Vancouver (where the conference is located) to Chicago (my main base of
operations) because although I will be writing reports on site, I also
plan to use the information gathered from the conference as part of a
larger project on affordable housing, much of which will be executed in
the Chicago area.
This project will assist me to attend the Globe 2012
Vancouver, British Columbia, during March 2012. I have a press assignment with
full conference access from SustainableCitiesCollective
to publish a series of
reports before, during and after the conference. After the conference, a
program entitled "The Business of Affordable Housing: Globe 2012" will be
developed and presented to groups in and around the Chicago region.
The conference is offered every two years and approaches sustainable
development from a business perspective, with an eye on the bottom line as well
as environmental consciousness. I plan to devote the bulk of my time to attending sessions in the
Sustainable Cities conference track, along with attending plenary
sessions and relevant sessions from other conference tracks.
I have been personally and professionally involved with affordable housing since attending World Urban Forum 3
in Vancouver in 2006. I have visited Vancouver several times and have
established professional contacts there. Your pledges will cover airfare, accommodations, meals, transportation in and around Vancouver and incidental expenses
involved with covering the conference, plus time spent performing
research on affordable housing in the Vancouver area. Other costs
include fees imposed by Amazon Payments and by Kickstarter and of
course, costs associated with producing and distributing the rewards you
earn with your donations. (Cost breakdown detailed below.)
The images in this brief photo montage represent different aspects and approaches to affordable housing here in the United States and abroad. The bad old days of blocks of nondescript, drab public and affordable housing are rapidly fading away in many areas. In the 21st century, affordable housing may include high rises, however affordable housing also often translates to single-family homes, low-density multiple-family units and courtyard apartment buildings. Especially in small towns and suburban areas, lower-density housing often meets less resistance from residents already living in the area.
In my view, public transportation options are also essential to truly affordable housing.The Center for Neighborhood Technology, located in Chicago, has developed the excellent H+T Affordability Index, that computes the costs of housing in various areas around the country when transportation costs are included. According to the Index, transportation costs range from 15% of average household income in neighborhoods with good public transportation, but increase to more than 28% in areas where public transportation is poor or nonexistent.
Another essential element of affordable housing is the comfort of the residents who live in a given housing unit. After all, if you cannot afford to keep your dwelling warm in the winter and reasonably cool in the summer, how affordable is it? Fortunately, keeping heating and cooling costs affordable can work hand in hand with sustainable development.
Any extra funds raised will be devoted to further research on affordable housing in other metropolitan areas. In the immediate future, I plan to research affordable housing.in and around Chicago, Illinois, as well my hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee. Later research would focus on Helsinki, Finland, where I have also established personal and professional ties, having attended the Going Global conference in 2006 and Helsinki Summer School in 2007.
Cost Breakdown (Estimates Based on Preliminary Research):
- Round-trip airfare Chicago to Vancouver (incl. taxes and fees): $975
- Accommodations for 7 days, including taxes (reserved): $750
- Meals, transportation and incidentals ($80 per day for 7 days): $560
- Costs of producing and distributing rewards: $300
- Kickstarter fees (5%): $130
- Amazon Payments fees (5%): $130
Photo Credits: Audrey F. Henderson, all rights reserved, except "Riverview Apartments Demolition" Photo Credit: J. A. Henderson, Sr., used with permission (rights otherwise reserved).