Developers across the country are increasingly working into their projects a desire for more green and social space, putting up complexes that are more than ever located near recreation centers, parks, and playgrounds.
Those are the findings of a comprehensive study conducted by the Urban Land Institute indicating that developers are looking at a growing tenant demand for more health-oriented affordable housing projects.
The report, Healthy Housing for All: How Affordable Housing is Leading the Way, contends that today’s affordable housing industry “has pioneered innovative solutions to support resident health through housing design, development, and operations.”
The report points to two projects, one in Colorado and the other New Mexico, as examples of the new health-oriented housing construction trend.
The Mariposa project undertaken by the Denver Housing Authority was built after significant community input, transforming the surrounding neighborhood, and sparking investment in a “previously overlooked area.”
The end result is a complex with rents ranging from $50 to $1,170, as well as a full-service pharmacy, 24-hour grocery store, and handful of area community and conventional banks.
All of the complex’s amenities, says the report, have in one way or the other added to the health and well-being of it’s tenants.
The Silver Moon Lodge in Albuquerque is lauded in the report for offering a “mixed-use affordable housing development” with a bike-friendly design, community space, and only 23 parking spaces for 154 units, which, “significantly reduced the costs associated with building parking.”
Such projects, says the Urban Land Institute report, can serve as a blueprint for other projects nationally.
The report also suggests that developers should increase their investments in both indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, noting that such areas “establish a sense of community and reduce social isolation, while also driving resident retention and minimizing turnover.”
In a statement, W. Edward Walter, chief executive officer of the Urban Land Institute, said every new housing project should be regarded by developers as an opportunity to “invest in a community’s overall health and well-being, social equity and cohesion, environmental sustainability, and overall quality of life.”
The Washington-based Urban Land Institute has a membership made up of more than 42,000 real estate and urban development professionals.
By Garry Boulard
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