Aug 2, 2011

HUD: Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing

HUD clearinghouse of information/articles.
Unfortunately, many/most articles are >10 years old. Not sure how much is still relevant, but overall, ironic/funny? to note that one of the main barriers to sheltering the least able among us -- is ourselves, our own self-imposed regulations. And to have HUD, a regulatory institution, maintain an archive on how to overcome these barriers.

How strange is that?
In briefly reading Corbusier in school, i learned that the destruction of World War II inspired him to investigate how to build more housing. His efforts at first seemed to focus on technology. Prefabrication of components, doing for housing production what the assembly line did for automobiles. But i think he soon realized that it wasn't technological deficiency that prevented more housing stock from being built; it was the absence of political will.

He produced a design scheme to locate high-rises throughout Paris. I'm not certain that he seriously considered the project feasible, since it would have substantial impacts on neighborhood character -- just imagine the impact of placing a modern high-rise next to a cathedral that's stood for centuries! But consider the wealth of discussion that such a design scheme opens up. Such boldness requires a shift in attitudes and sacrificing our rose-colored remembrances of the past. 

Human sentiment: the source of inspiration and compassion but also a great weaknesses -- emotional attachment can create an unwillingness to change. I wonder how this part of us will coexist with the challenges that will compel us to future tense compensate, when unexpected was/will be.