Grace and Andrew recently attended AIA Seattle’s Urban Housing Forum. These year’s theme “Room for Growth” was based on the rapid population increases in the Puget Sound region, its effect on the livability of our communities, and the response of the design community. The day-long program sought to examine the problem and identify innovative solutions to mitigate the upheaval in the region’s housing market. The morning sessions were mainly focused on housing policy with speakers representing a wide range of backgrounds, from architecture and academia, to municipal government. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about the steps local policymakers are taking and to see how other cities and regions are solving their housing problems. The afternoon sessions revolved around design with talks from many local architects and planners. The highlight of the program was the keynote speaker, David Baker, FAIA. David is the founder of David Baker Architects in San Francisco, an award-winning firm that specializes in the design of affordable housing. David's presentation focused on 9 ways architects and planners can build community with urban housing:
- Reweave the Urban Fabric. Create, repair, and enhance connections within existing neighborhoods.
- Build the Bones. Design a bold and interesting building form.
- A Little Goes a Long Way. Concentrate a small amount of premium materials at points of shared enjoyment.
- Activate the Edges. Energize street life with an engaging ground floor.
- Be Welcoming. A gracious entryway sets a positive tone.
- Cultivate Connection. Place compatible uses together to provide convenience and support chance encounters.
- Enlightened Circulation. Bring light and fresh air into hallways and stairs.
- Get Personal. Offer spaces for residents to make their mark. Photo shelves, pin-up boards, and recessed entries provide a place for personal expression.
- Art for All. Use artwork to invigorate common spaces, help with way-finding, and create a strong visual identity.
What are your thoughts and ideas on creating community through urban housing? Let us know in the comments below.