I was pleased to read your March 31st piece highlighting
affordable housing developers as being on the cutting edge of green. Few media outlets have stepped back and
looked at the sea change occurring in public housing across the U.S., including
the industry’s substantial advances in sustainable development.
The Future of
Public Housing Policy Framework, developed at the CLPHA-convened 2008 Summit on the Future of
Public Housing, includes a commitment to greening the entire public housing
portfolio in ten years. The $4 billion
in Recovery Act public housing capital funds has
given the industry a jumpstart in developing plans previously languishing on
drawing boards, and its innovative work is generating neighborhood
revitalization in urban centers across the country. Here are just a few
is starting work on the first phase of a 17.5 acre mixed-use,
mixed-income, transit-oriented community intended to serve as a national
model. The community is designed to deliver exceptional environmental
efficiency and energy performance, including better access to fresh fruits
and vegetables, and bike and pedestrian-friendly routes.
of Columbia is turning a former public housing site into a green,
transit-oriented, mixed use, mixed finance development. It will include a
solar power array, vegetative green roof, bio-retention facilities and
Energy Star appliances.
Paso is using its award to finance its Paisano Green Project,
redeveloping a 4.2 acre parcel that has stood vacant for 10 years. The
development will include a range of green improvements, including
connections between neighborhoods and green space, improved surface water
management techniques, and the use of renewable energy resources.
is using Recovery Act funds to jumpstart development of a new green,
compact, and sustainable mixed-income community that is a five minute walk
from a central transit station. A key element of the new
neighborhood will be BaxterPark, envisioned as
a ‘gracious public outdoor room’ that encourages pedestrian activity and
connectivity with the city.
has a grant for its ResourceAccessCenter,
the cornerstone of the city’s 10 year plan to end homelessness. The center
will provide housing, employment, and treatment counseling; hot showers;
storage; and communication services to help with job and housing searches.
It is designed to be a LEED Gold certified development,
incorporating a number of cutting edge sustainability design elements.
Sustainable affordable housing is crucial to vibrant
metropolitan communities, and it is encouraging to see the industry’s efforts