Mark Joseph and Amy Khare, “Succeeding Where Mixed-Income Transformation Falls Short”

Co-sponsored by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Office of Communications. Drawing on their work examining the costs and …


  1. This is a huge issue to tackle and I am glad that research and initiatives continue. In my opinion it cannot be solved by housing alone. It takes a multi pronged approach; jobs, education, and choices. The ability to choose where to live and work is a big part of the dream that we all seek. What is causing the rush and hype into urban areas by large portions of the population which causes the rise in costs of living in these areas? I would say jobs and hype, many start ups and other mostly high tech businesses that pay well have moved to the urban centers of cities. Other, lesser paying service jobs follow. It is also a hype that city leaders love to talk about and stir a foment that causes a kind of urban craze. It is also a failure of satellite cities that surround these urban cores of not doing an adequate job in attracting these same high tech business. The satellite cities seem to be unable to shake the bedroom community stigma (giving huge incentives to housing developments) and fail to attract new business that would attract job seekers. Rural towns have seen generation after generation leave to settle in urban areas and grandparents follow the grandkids and also move to urban areas. Rural America has been largely decimated by the brain drain. So possibly counterintuitively the change should happen (in concert with urban housing issue) with a new look at how satellite and small towns can bring back, keep and attract new residents that will work in those communities. With the ability to work anywhere we should see this happening more and more but for multiple reasons the opposite is happening.

  2. Thank you so much for a wonderfully multifaceted presentation. It was informative and I learned a great deal in the process. Regarding development: San Diego has seen a lot of architects moving towards the architect as developer model. Much of the development has been in higher end, urban infill housing with some lower income units included to gain density bonuses or parking reductions. I am asking if that model can be applied to affordable housing situations? Land and construction keeps the cost high; but what if you expanded the architect as developer model and became a turn key developer that maintains a self-performing construction crew? My neighbor is a retired carpenter foreman and says a four man crew (two journeymen, one apprentice and one laborer) can rough frame about 52 single family homes (approx 1200sf) in five weeks. Thinking outside the box, imagine if that four man team could also pull electrical wire, sweat copper for domestic water, run drain lines, install insulation, drywall (with tape and mud) and apply interior paint and trims on a small 8 unit apartment project? They could also find time efficiencies in correcting coordination issues during framing. Many trades like underground utilities and roofing would need to be outsourced; however, self performing selected scopes could potentially reduce costs significantly. This turn-key development approach will increase housing stock volume on infill locations and supplement larger developments which take longer to complete. The rapid turn around of completed housing would expedite neighborhood place-making and reinvigorate communities with a sense of newness. The larger developments could then incorporate small commercial spaces, amenities and pocket parks in a residential setting, thus enhancing the idea of “micro-destinations” and walk ability. If a company was able to control as many development aspects as possible, it is realistic that two buildings smaller (10 unit) buildings could be completed in a year – thinking with great optimism, maybe three. I believe that innovations in housing can be found in the ways that we construct. The typical design-bid-build process can be slow and the development financing creates significant time increases. The self performing idea revolves around a highly skilled and communicative team of constructors which includes an on-site architect/builder to make on the fly adjustments, essentially equating to zero change orders. I hope that someone out there that could investigate this process and potential. In addition, the most successful architect/developers in San Diego are personally financing their projects. They are also operating the small coffee shops and breakfast houses in their commercial spaces. I envision a company that self-finances multiple housing developments within a small radius and proves our commitment through the act of building. Along with housing, I also see a company that provides the community with a vision of the future. Regardless of neighborhood demographics, we have the ability to inspire a community with future possibilities through graphic representations. We can provoke conversation, invoke residents to care about their surroundings and in the process evolve ourselves as City-Builders.
    On social equity and race: as a man of color, I absolutely LOVE what Mr. Joseph described as “anti-racism.” It was as if we had just had a conversation as I think in a similar fashion and had the same personal revelations. He also mentioned that this was a minimum eight hour conversation; I agree so I will truncate this already overly lengthy comment. It is comforting to know that these deep and sometimes uncomfortable conversations will continue and I respect Mr. Joseph’s transparency. Thank you again.

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