Search results for "affordable housing"

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Protecting Pilsen

Chicago aims to preserve the vernacular architecture in its largest Mexican-American community
The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has approved a preliminary designation for a dense array of hundreds of late 19th-century vernacular buildings in the heart of Pilsen, a working-class Hispanic community on Chicago’s near southwest side. The district, to be one of the city’s largest, is only a component of a plan seeking to broaden notions of preservation in Chicago, and it aims to protect culture and affordability in Pilsen and neighboring Little Village along with the historic built environment. The Pilsen and Little Village Preservation Strategy is meant to strengthen affordability requirements, provide new housing resources for existing residents, enact an industrial modernization agenda, and improve public and open space. These initiatives are an attempt to steer Pilsen and Little Village away from the type of development that displaces existing residents and threatens the nature of neighborhoods as seen along the 606, a 2.7-mile linear park completed in 2015 that has changed the character of Humboldt Park and neighboring Logan Square, as well as Wicker Park and Bucktown. The measures follow an ordinance in November that cleared the way for Chicago to purchase four miles of an abandoned rail right-of-way currently owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company for the Paseo, a linear pedestrian and bike trail first proposed in 2006. Unlike the 606, Chicago intends to follow a more careful path forward with the Paseo, taking steps to ensure that park planning will not take precedence over neighborhood-wide concerns of affordability and developer-driven teardowns. The Pilsen Historic District will intersect the Paseo at Sangamon Street, the far east end of the district. According to a report released by Cities, the International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, monthly rent on tracts bordering the 606 increased by $201 from 2010 to 2016, double the average citywide increase of $102. During that same census period, the share of non-Hispanic whites in the population increased by 4.83 percent. The median household income of people living on property bordering the 606 jumped by $14,682, compared to a citywide $3,557. In addition to taking a proactive approach to new public space, the strategy also responds to pressure from developers looking to capitalize on the neighborhood Forbes named one of the “12 Coolest Neighborhoods around the World" because of its "streets lined with hip galleries and walls decorated with colorful murals dating from the 1970s." A strong sense of Mexican pride is articulated through the adornment of the built environment with vibrant murals, many using pre-Columbian motifs and portraits of both icons and contemporary activists to express the diasporic identity of the community. These colorful murals are at risk as buildings are bought, sold, and rehabbed, as was the case of the iconic Casa Aztlán mural that was painted over in 2017. A real estate panel targeting developers titled “Chicago’s Emerging Neighborhoods: The Rise of Pilsen, Uptown, Logan Square and Humboldt Park” is scheduled for December 12, and promises to show developers how to reposition assets in “boom” neighborhoods and capitalize on the halo effect of institutional investment. As reported by Block Club Chicago, the event faced criticism on social media, leading to a softening of the tone of the marketing materials and the addition of language addressing affordability. Included in the preservation plan is a five-year Affordable Requirement Ordinance (ARO) pilot program that will increase required affordability requirements for large residential projects that require a zoning change within a 7.2-mile area of Pilsen and Little Village. The bulk of the proposed historic district and the Paseo lies inside the ARO pilot program area. The program will up the affordable housing requirements for new developments with ten or more units from 10 percent to 20 percent, with provisions to increase the number of family size units via financial incentives. Like the citywide ordinance, developers will have to pay an in-lieu fee if they choose not to provide on-site units. Within the pilot program area, the fee jumps from $100,000 to $150,000 per unit. Working in tandem with the ARO pilot, the Chicago Community Land Trust will provide reduced property taxes in exchange for long-term affordability, with the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund, the recipient of the in-lieu fees, providing rental subsidies. Through a multi-year community-based process, the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development is looking to modernize the Little Village Industrial Corridor as an employment center while improving economic, environmental, and social conditions. The industrial corridor runs along the Stevenson Expressway roughly from Cicero to Western and provides manufacturing jobs to Little Village residents. Concurrently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the local historic district designation will protect the physical manifestation of over a century of immigration in Pilsen, a complex patchwork of worker’s cottages, commercial buildings, houses of worship, churches, and schools, most of which were constructed from 1870 to 1910 by Czech and Bohemian immigrants. Mexican-Americans became the predominant ethnic group in the mid-20th century, creating a network of ultra-local activism that forged coalitions between working class people across Chicago. Designation of the district unlocks multiple financial incentives for commercial and residential properties, including the 20% Federal Historic Tax Credit and the 25% State Historic Tax Credit, as well as Class L Property Tax Incentives and Preservation Easement Donations.
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Arguing Somantics

San Francisco paves the way for more density after passing Central SoMa Plan
After eight years of negotiations, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the Central SoMa Plan on December 4, paving the way for a massive density increase, transportation improvements, and infrastructure investments in the heart of the city. The final plan for Central SoMa (South of Market), an area bounded by 6th Street to the west and 2nd Street to the east and Townsend Street to the south and Market Street to the North, ended up at over 1,600 pages (available here). The resultant “eco-district” is aiming to be socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable by 2040, in part by ensuring a diversity of businesses call the neighborhood home. Among the many changes, heights of 400-feet-tall are now on the table for certain developments. The plan allows for an additional 8,800 units of housing—33 percent of which must be affordable—as well as office space for up to 32,000 new jobs. $600 million will be allocated towards transportation infrastructure improvements, including mass transit options, sidewalks, and bike lanes. $64 million will go towards neighborhood schools to accommodate the influx of new residents, and an additional $185 million will go towards improving the area’s existing parks and public spaces, as well as the construction of new civic spaces. $100 million will go towards social programs and the upkeep of the neighborhood’s historic buildings. An unspecified amount of funding will be set aside for stormwater management and projects that will improve air quality, and the plan requires that Central SoMa transitions to non-greenhouse gas-based energy sources. Green roofs and walls will also be required. Hotels, retail, and entertainment options will be incentivized, and the plan looks to include light manufacturing in an Urban Mixed Use zone, which will create a buffer between the residential district and the Eastern Neighborhoods. Such an ambitious zoning update naturally met resistance. Before the December 4 vote, four lawsuits against the project had to first be dismissed by the Board of Supervisors. Community groups took the city to task over fears of gentrification and concerns over increased air pollution owing to the forecasted increases in traffic. A third group, the developer One Vassar LLC, filed a motion because they felt the plan wouldn’t increase housing enough in proportion to the amount of expected office space. Now that the Central SoMa plan has essentially been approved, height limits in the area will gradually rise over the next 22 years, first to 85 feet from the current 30, then to 130 feet, and finally 400 feet.
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Pulling Seniority

2018 Best of Design Awards winners for Unbuilt - Residential
2018 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt – Residential: Brooklyn Senior Affordable Housing Designer: Only If Location: Brooklyn, New York Located on a former industrial site, the Brooklyn Senior Affordable Housing complex designed by Only If consists of 84 rental apartments and community facilities. The building, configured into several block-like volumes, rests on two wide columns and a circular disk, which contains all of the circulation and services. The middle volume of the building frames a central communal space for its elderly and formerly homeless residents. This double-height loggia is carved out of the building to become a stage elevated above the city. The public living room will serve as a flexible space where residents can gather, linger, interact, and build a sense of community. Various features will be introduced to support the health of the building’s residents, including outdoor exercise equipment and a roof garden. A secondary circulation route—composed of an open and relaxed stair system—will be an active alternative to elevators. Honorable Mention Project name: 150 Central Park South penthouse Designer: SPAN Architecture Location: New York Honorable Mention Project name: Courtyard House Architect: Inaba Williams Location: Santa Monica, California
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Meet the Queens

Announcing the winners of the 2018 AN Best of Design Awards
The 2018 AN Best of Design Awards was our most exceptional yet. After expanding the contest to a whopping 45 categories and opening the competition to all of North America (including Canada and Mexico), we received more than 800 submissions, which made the judging more difficult than ever. An impressive range of projects came from firms big and small all over the continent. While we were surprised by the quantity of submissions, we were not surprised by the quality of the work put forth by architects and designers both familiar and new. There were some telling trends in this year’s submissions. First, our drawing categories received more and better entries than ever before. This resurgence in drawing, both analog and digital, seems to mirror what we see in the field: moving away from hi-fi digital photorealism toward more personal drawings utilizing a variety of techniques. See pages 70 and 71 for this year’s winners. It was also a good year for exhibition design, which you can see on page 22. For our Building of the Year award, our esteemed jury was fiercely divided between two exemplary but very different projects. The final debate came down to SCHAUM/SHIEH’s Transart Foundation—a private gallery across from the Menil campus in Houston—and NADAAA’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. SCHAUM/SHIEH’s relatively small but mighty building employs punched-through balconies and a blurred program to utilize the space to maximum effect. Meanwhile, NADAAA’s extension and renovation of a 19th-century neo-Gothic building includes dramatic, complex lunettes that let in Aalto-esque light. In the end, the jury chose the scrappy Houston project, but the decision really could have gone either way. The panel members were also enamored with the quotidian allure of the Saxum Vineyards Equipment Barn in Paso Robles, California, by Clayton + Little Architects. See this year’s winner and finalists starting on page 14. Our jury this year was incredible as always, with a very talented group (see opposite page) who engaged in spirited discussion and refined the way we look at architecture. It is always good to get more people involved in the conversation, and we are always shifting our views on what is relevant and interesting. We hope you enjoy learning more about this year’s winners and honorable mentions, and we look forward to hearing from you next year as we keep searching for the best architecture and design in North America! —William Menking and Matt Shaw We will be updating this list over the next few days with winner and honorable mention profiles. To see the complete feature, don't miss our 2018 Best of Design Awards Annual issue, out now! 2018 AN Best of Design Awards Building of the Year Winner Transart Foundation SCHAUM/SHIEH Houston Finalists Daniels Building NADAAA Toronto Saxum Vineyard Equipment Bard Clayton + Little Paso Robles, California Public Winner Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Marble Fairbanks New York Honorable Mentions Banc of California Stadium Gensler Los Angeles River’s Edge Pavilion Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture Council Bluffs, Iowa Urban Design Winner Triboro Corridor Only If and One Architecture & Urbanism New York: Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx Honorable Mentions Los Angeles River Gateway AECOM Los Angeles North Branch Framework Plan for the Chicago River Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture Chicago Cultural Winner Transart Foundation SCHAUM/SHIEH Houston Honorable Mentions Magazzino Italian Art MQ Architecture Cold Spring, New York The ICA Watershed Anmahian Winton Architects Boston Exhibition Design Winner Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient Norman Kelley New York Honorable Mentions Living in America: Frank Lloyd Wright, Harlem, and Modern Housing Leong Leong and Project Projects New York Visionaire: AMAZE Rafael de Cárdenas / Architecture at Large and Sahra Motalebi New York Facades Winner Amazon Spheres NBBJ Vitro Architectural Glass Seattle Honorable Mentions The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech Morphosis PPG New York Museum Garage WORKac, J. Mayer H., Nicolas Buffe, Clavel Arquitectos, and K/R Miami Small Spaces Winner Sol Coffee Mobile Espresso Bar Hyperlocal Workshop Longmont, Colorado Honorable Mentions Cabin on a Rock I-Kanda Architects White Mountains region, New Hampshire Birdhut Studio North Windermere, British Columbia Infrastructure Winner Confluence Park Lake|Flato Architects and Matsys San Antonio Honorable Mentions Rainbow Bridge SPF:architects Long Beach, California Los Angeles Union Station Metro Bike Hub Architectural Resources Group Los Angeles Commercial — Office Winner NVIDIA Headquarters Gensler Santa Clara, California Honorable Mention C3 Gensler Arktura Culver City, California Commercial — Retail Winner FLEX LEVER Architecture Portland, Oregon Honorable Mention COS Chicago Oak Street COS in-house architectural team Chicago Commercial — Hospitality Winner Saxum Vineyard Equipment Barn Clayton & Little Paso Robles, California Honorable Mention Brightline Rockwell Group Florida: Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando Green Building Winner Orchid Educational Pavilion FGP Atelier Oaxaca, Mexico Honorable Mention R.W. Kern Center Bruner/Cott Architects Amherst, Massachusetts Interior — Workplace Winner Expensify Headquarters ZGF Architects Pure+FreeForm Portland, Oregon Honorable Mentions CANOPY Jackson Square M-PROJECTS San Francisco Dollar Shave Club Headquarters Rapt Studio Marina del Rey, California Interior — Institutional Winner Brooklyn Aozora Gakuen Inaba Williams Brooklyn, New York Honorable Mention Jackie and Harold Spielman Children’s Library, Port Washington Public Library Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership Port Washington, New York Interior — Retail Winner Jack Erwin Flagship Store MILLIØNS New York Honorable Mention Valextra Bal Harbour Shops Aranda\Lasch Miami Interior — Hospitality Winner Hunan Slurp New Practice Studio New York Honorable Mentions City of Saints, Bryant Park Only If New York Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar at Hanley Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture New York Interior — Healthcare Winner NYDG Integral Health & Wellness Brandon Haw Architecture New York Honorable Mention Studio Dental II Montalba Architects San Francisco Healthcare Winner Phoenix Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building, University of Arizona CO Architects Phoenix Honorable Mention Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center Fong & Chan Architects San Francisco Interior — Residential Winner 15th St Mork Ulnes Architects San Francisco Honorable Mentions Fort Greene Place Matter of Architecture Brooklyn, New York Little House. Big City Office of Architecture Brooklyn, New York Residential — Single Unit Winner Terreno House Fernanda Canales Mexico Federal State, Mexico Honorable Mentions Sky House Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster Stoney Lake, Ontario V-Plan Studio B Architects Aspen, Colorado Residential — Multi Unit Winner St. Thomas / Ninth OJT New Orleans Honorable Mentions Tolsá 61 CPDA Arquitectos Mexico City Elysian Fields Warren Techentin Architecture Los Angeles Landscape — Residential Winner Folding Planes Garden Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture Paradise Valley, Arizona Honorable Mentions Greenwich Village Townhouse Garden XS Space New York Landscape — Public Winner Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park SWA/BALSLEY and WEISS/MANFREDI with Arup Queens, New York Honorable Mentions Naval Cemetery Memorial Landscape Marvel Architects and NBWLA Brooklyn, New York Ghost Cabin SHED Architecture & Design Seattle Education Winner Daniels Building NADAAA Toronto Honorable Mentions UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects Santa Barbara, California Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall at Carnegie Mellon University OFFICE 52 Architecture Pittsburgh Lighting — Outdoor Winner Spectra, Coachella NEWSUBSTANCE Indio, California Honorable Mention National Holocaust Monument Focus Lighting Studio Libeskind Ottawa Lighting — Indoor Winner The Lobster Club at the Seagram Building L’Observatoire International New York Honorable Mention Midtown Professional Education Center, Weill Cornell Medicine Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design New York Restoration & Preservation Winner 100 Barclay DXA Studio New York Honorable Mentions Hotel Henry at the Richardson Olmsted Campus Deborah Berke Partners Buffalo, New York Using Digital Innovation to Preserve Taliesin West Leica Geosystems, Multivista, and Matterport Scottsdale, Arizona Building Renovation Winner 1217 Main Street 5G Studio Collaborative Dallas Honorable Mention 1824 Sophie Wright Place studioWTA New Orleans Adaptive Reuse Winner San Francisco Art Institute at Fort Mason Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects San Francisco Honorable Mentions Empire Stores S9 Architecture, STUDIO V, and Perkins Eastman Brooklyn, New York Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep JGMA Waukegan, Illinois Temporary Installation Winner Trickster studio:indigenous Sheboygan, Wisconsin Honorable Mentions Blue Marble Circus DESIGN EARTH Boston 85 Broad Street Ground Mural FXCollaborative New York New Materials Winner Cyclopean Cannibalism Matter Design Seoul, South Korea Honorable Mentions One Thousand Museum Zaha Hadid Architects and ODP Architects Miami Clastic Order T+E+A+M San Francisco Digital Fabrication Winner 260 Kent COOKFOX Architects Brooklyn, New York Honorable Mentions A.V. Bath House Facilities Design Group Custer, Michigan MARS Pavilion Form Found Design Los Angeles Representation — Digital Winner Fake Earths: A Planetary Theater Play NEMESTUDIO Honorable Mention Cosmorama DESIGN EARTH Representation — Analog Winner Public Sediment for Alameda Creek SCAPE California: Fremont, Newark, and Union City Honorable Mentions Adidas P.O.D. Plexus Standard Set the Objective SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop Young Architects Award Winner Runaway SPORTS Santa Barbara, California Honorable Mentions Noodle Soup office ca Lake Forest, Illinois Malleable Monuments The Open Workshop San Francisco Student Work Winner mise-en-sand Jonah Merris, University of California, Berkeley Honorable Mentions Cloud Fabuland Eleonora Orlandi, SCI-Arc Real Fake James Skarzenski, University of California, Berkeley Research Winner Stalled! JSA Honorable Mentions Marine Education Center Lake|Flato Architects Ocean Springs,Mississippi After Bottles; Second Lives ANAcycle design + writing studio/Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Brooklyn, New York and Troy, New York Unbuilt — Residential Winner Brooklyn Senior Affordable Housing Only If Brooklyn, New York Honorable Mentions 150 Central Park South penthouse SPAN Architecture New York Courtyard House Inaba Williams Santa Monica, California Unbuilt — Urban Winner Whitmore Community Food Hub Complex University of Arkansas Community Design Center Wahiawa, Hawaii Honorable Mentions The Hydroelectric Canal Paul Lukez Architecture Boston Brooklyn Navy Yard Master Plan WXY Brooklyn, New York Unbuilt — Interior Winner Children’s Institute DSH // architecture Long Beach, California Honorable Mention Holdroom of the Future Corgan Unbuilt — Commercial Winner Uber Sky Tower Pickard Chilton Los Angeles Honorable Mention Nansha Scholar’s Tower Synthesis Design + Architecture and SCUT Architectural Design & Research Institute Nansha, China Unbuilt — Cultural Winner Beggar’s Wharf Arts Complex Ten to One Rockland, Maine Honorable Mention NXTHVN Deborah Berke Partners New Haven, Connecticut Unbuilt — Education Winner Arizona State University Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 Studio Ma Tempe, Arizona Honorable Mentions Bedford Stuyvesant Community Innovation Campus Ten to One Brooklyn, New York 80 Flatbush Public Schools Architecture Research Office Brooklyn, New York Unbuilt — Green Winner 6 Industrial Way Office Park Touloukian Touloukian Salem, New Hampshire Honorable Mention Cooling Tower for Chicago Spire site Greyscale Architecture Chicago Unbuilt — Public Winner The American Construct Christopher Myefski American West Honorable Mentions Urban Canopy Buro Koray Duman New York Anacostia Water Tower Höweler + Yoon Architecture Washington, D.C. Unbuilt — Landscape Winner Greers Ferry Water Garden University of Arkansas Community Design Center Heber Springs, Arkansas Honorable Mention Murchison Rogers Park Surroundings El Paso, Texas A special thanks to our 2018 AN Best of Design Awards Jury! Tei Carpenter Founder, Agency—Agency Andrés Jaque Founder, Office for Political Innovation William Menking Editor-in-Chief, The Architect’s Newspaper Pratik Raval Associate Director, Transsolar Jesse Reiser Principal, Reiser + Umemoto Matt Shaw Executive Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper
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Housing Battles Continue

California’s new legislators aim to reshape state housing policy
When it comes to housing reform, California’s new state legislators have hit the ground running. As the state’s new elected officials take office this week, a flurry of housing-related bills have been unveiled that, among other things, aim to further extend the state’s ability to set land use at the local level and streamline market-rate and affordable housing production. The efforts, geared toward developing a comprehensive solution for easing the state’s crushing housing affordability crisis, come after significant legislative gains—and a few stunning failures—made during last year’s session. With Democratic “supermajorities” in both the state assembly and state senate, and a campaign proposal to build 3.5 million new housing units by 2025 from now-governor Gavin Newsom, many are expecting significant legislative progress over the next few months. The stakes are particularly high for the state and its residents. California suffers from some of the highest rents in the country, a phenomenon that has fueled a homelessness crisis in the state. A 2017 report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that over 134,000 Californians are experiencing homelessness, the highest unhoused population of any state in the country. Not only that, but the state’s cities also harbor extreme examples of wealth and racial segregation, phenomena that have had deeply negative outcomes for many racial-minority and working-class neighborhoods in terms of social equity, environmental justice, and other metrics. Because the overall residential capacities of California’s cities have been steadily eroded over time through “local control”–driven rezoning efforts and increased parking requirements, the geographic range of affordable and workforce housing is increasingly limited, as well. Further, large swaths of the state’s major cities are zoned exclusively for single-family housing, creating intense gentrification and displacement in the relatively fewer neighborhoods where multi-family housing is allowed while simultaneously pushing new development into “wildland-urban interface” areas most susceptible to fire damage. The result of these converging phenomena is that California is rapidly losing its working class population to other, more affordable states as poverty and sprawl in the state become more deeply entrenched. In recent years, as awareness and political will have begun to coalesce around the housing crisis, piecemeal initiatives have successfully begun to unfold. Below is a brief breakdown of a few of the major proposed housing bills unveiled Monday. A longer list can be accessed here. AB 10: A proposed bill to increase the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit by $500 million. AB 11: A proposed bill to reinstate California’s Redevelopment Agencies. Redevelopment Agencies existed in California prior to 2011 and worked across municipal lines to develop affordable housing and other projects throughout the state. The agencies were dissolved by then-Governor Jerry Brown in the aftermath of the Great Recession. AB 22: A proposed bill with potentially far-reaching ramifications that would ensure “every child has the right to safe and clean shelter and that no child should be without safe and clean shelter by 2025.” SB 18: State Senator Nancy Skinner has proposed a bill that would expand tenant protections while also establishing a statewide “Homelessness Prevention and Legal Aid Fund” to aid tenants against eviction and displacement. SB 50: California State Senator Scott Wiener has proposed a new version of last year’s highly controversial State Bill-827. The new measure builds on the previous attempt to lift height and density restrictions for sites located within 1/4- to 1/2-mile of rapid transit and includes advanced protections for existing tenant communities. Significantly, the bill would also induce up-zoning changes for wealthy neighborhoods that are located near job centers. It’s going to be a busy year.
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Poutine on the Ritz

Sidewalk Labs releases a new site plan for its Toronto neighborhood
Alphabet subsidiary Sidewalk Labs is continuing to refine its plans for Toronto’s waterfront Quayside neighborhood. The tech company released its first look at the mass timber development in August of this year and has now released a more in-depth breakdown of how its 12-acre site will be developed. The latest vision of Quayside comes in advance of a roundtable on December 8 with community members and elected officials, the second-to-last such meeting before the release of the master innovation and development plan in 2019. The new draft site plan, which Sidewalk Labs described as “more Jetsons, less Black Mirror,” has slashed the development’s height and set specific affordable housing and sustainability targets. Quayside, which will be 90 percent affordable in accordance with the area’s existing zoning, is leaning on mass timber for its mixed-use towers. The Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture was tasked with creating a kit-of-parts that could work with buildings of every scale. Each building will be anchored by an open-air “stoa,” covered walkways supported by rows of V-shaped heavy timber columns. New York's Beyer Blinder Belle is responsible for the project's master planning. Development will now be clustered around 12 mixed-use mass timber towers, with the tallest topping out at 30 stories. The tallest building in the sensor-integrated smart neighborhood was originally supposed to reach 50 stories tall. Sidewalk Labs now expects approximately 5,000 residents to call Quayside home, and have earmarked 20 percent of the units as affordable, and another 20 percent as below-market rate. Fifty percent of the development’s housing will be rental units. On the transportation side, Quayside is positioning itself to connect with Toronto’s light rail network. The neighborhood is also looking into a “flexible street” system that can transition from supporting traditional cars to autonomous vehicles once the technology comes to fruition. Quayside is shooting to reduce emissions over a typical neighborhood by 75-85 percent through a combination of geothermal wells and solar panels. The timber used, all of it locally sourced in a boost to the Canadian lumber industry, will also produce less carbon dioxide emissions overall when compared to a typical concrete-and-steel building. As Engadget noted, Sidewalk Labs has been less-than-successful in its attempts to create a trust to oversee the massive amounts of data the neighborhood would collect on its residents. Last month, the project’s lead expert and consultant, Ann Cavoukian, quit over concerns that the trust would not be able to anonymize the information it was receiving. Following the final roundtables and the approval of a master plan in 2019, Sidewalk Labs expects construction of the project to last three to five years.
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Rent the Planet!

Airbnb expands into ground-up housing
Not content with monopolizing the home sharing market, Airbnb will soon start designing their own houses. Yesterday, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia announced that the tech company would begin recruiting architects, engineers, industrial designers, roboticists, and more to join their housing prototype initiative Backyard. More than just a design exercise, Airbnb is looking to create sustainable, flexible units to infill a wide variety of unused spaces. Backyard is an initiative of Samara, the product development lab launched by Airbnb in 2016 to study design and urban planning issues (or, as they describe it, “exploring the future of human connection”). Although the company hasn’t released specifics as to the types of units that Backyard will be building, the scope will go beyond accessory dwelling units (ADUs), the typical micro-dwellings slotted into backyards or other under-utilized parcels. Gebbia has indicated that these homes will act as living labs that are able to change and adapt along with their inhabitants, breaking the typical cycle of consumption and disposal. The increased flexibility will also boost the Backyard units’ rental appeal, as they’ll likely be adaptable based on guests’ needs as well. Trying to design one home that can be used forever and changed to meet its users’ needs has been a hot topic lately—take for example the modular Open House revealed earlier this year. The U.S. is currently beginning construction on about 3,300 new homes a day, and with that number only expected to rise, the amount of waste generated is staggering. “We began with a simple question,” wrote Gebbia,“What does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like? The answer is not simple at all. Other questions quickly emerged. Can a home respond to the needs of many inhabitants over a long period of time? Can it support and reflect the tremendous diversity of human experience? Can it keep up with the rate at which the world changes? Can we accomplish this without filling landfills with needless waste? It’s a tall order.” Backyard’s homes will likely be at least partially prefabricated and fully integrate smart-home technologies to help meet the company’s sustainability goals. No design details have leaked out yet, but Backyard is hoping to unveil its first wave of prototypes for testing in fall of 2019.
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Tweet Now, Cry Later

Elon Musk’s planned tunnel for L.A.’s Westside has been cancelled
After settling a lawsuit with community groups in Los Angeles this week, Elon Musk’s Boring Company has agreed to halt its plan to build a 2.7-mile test tunnel underneath the city’s Westside. The lawsuit was filed following a preliminary approval from the Los Angeles City Council that would have shielded the project from stringent environmental review. After the approval, community groups began to fight the project, arguing that rather than building a test tunnel, Boring Company was actually pursuing “piecemeal” approval of a larger transportation project in an effort to minimize the appearance of its impact. The group argued that the City of Los Angeles violated California law in its initial approval. The terms of the now-settled lawsuit are confidential, The Los Angeles Times reported but the parties involved issued a joint statement saying they had “amicably settled” the matter. The Boring Company has agreed to cease planning on its test tunnel and will instead, according to the statement, focus on a recently-proposed plan that would link Dodger Stadium with regional transit via a scheme similar to the one proposed for the Westside. The so-called Dugout Loop would link the isolated stadium to the regional Red Line subway. The plan is supported by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and comes as a separate group works to create a gondola line connecting the stadium to Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. Boring Company has been busy working on another test tunnel in the City of Hawthorne, where the company is headquartered. Musk recently announced that the test tunnel was complete and would open to the public in December. Musk also announced that he would be making good on an earlier promise to use excavated dirt from the tunnel to fabricate bricks for affordable housing projects. To push the initiative forward, Musk launched the so-called Brick Store where blocks will be available for 10 cents apiece to the public. The bricks will be free for affordable housing builders, according to Musk.
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Interview With a Housing Vampire

Brad Pitt denies responsibility in Make It Right Foundation lawsuit
After a class action lawsuit against Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation was moved from civil to federal court on November 7, Pitt’s lawyers have submitted a motion asking that Pitt be removed as a defendant in the case. Although the actor founded and directed the New Orleans–based housing nonprofit, his lawyers claim that he had no role in actually designing or constructing the allegedly faulty housing at the center of the lawsuit. Make It Right, founded by Pitt in 2007 to help New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina, is facing a class-action lawsuit for selling what Lower Ninth Ward residents allege were defective, easily-damaged homes. From 2008 through early 2016, Make It Right attracted Pritzker Prize winners and big-name studios such as KieranTimberlake, Adjaye Associates, Thom Mayne of Morphosis, Frank Gehry, Shigeru Ban, and more to build experimental, sustainable homes in the hurricane-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward. A total of $26 million was spent to build 109 affordable homes in the neighborhood, and the project initially appeared to be a success and drew design-minded tourists to the area. The lawsuit, which alleges that Make It Right committed fraud, contract breaches, and engaged in deceptive trade practices, is looking to wring millions in repair fees from the foundation and its former top officials. Make It Right, which sued their principal architect John C. Williams on September 19 in civil court on allegations of providing defective design work, acknowledged that fixing rain-damaged homes could cost up to $20 million. Lawyers representing the class action plaintiffs filed a motion asking that the case be transferred to federal court because three of the former officers live in North Carolina, because the final settlement could top $5 million, and because Make It Right was incorporated in Delaware. As for Brad Pitt’s involvement, his lawyers claim that even if the plaintiffs’ complaints against the foundation have merit, Pitt shouldn’t be included in the lawsuit. While Pitt founded and fundraised for the charity, he claims his involvement didn’t extend to anything approaching the actual design of the buildings. Notably, Pitt is only asking that he be excused from the lawsuit, not that the case not proceed. As Nola noted, this is the first time Pitt has spoken publicly about Make It Right since the 2015 Katrina anniversary.
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Cooking with Gasolina

A Mexican food-themed museum is coming to downtown L.A. in 2019
The Downtown Los Angeles-based LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a cultural center located in L.A.'s El Pueblo Historical Monument, is pushing for a new Mexican food-themed museum to open in early 2019. The museum, dubbed La Plaza Cocina, is slated for the forthcoming LA Plaza Village, a new, mixed-use affordable housing development designed by Johnson Fain. The 355-unit complex has been under construction since 2016 and is nearing completion. Designed with landscape architects SWA, the development will bring 71 low-income units to the area, as well a variety of neighborhood-serving retail and cultural spaces, including La Plaza Cocina. The Los Angeles Times reported that the new 2,500-square-foot museum will focus on the history and evolution of Mexican food, with a particular emphasis on the development of Mexican-American cuisines in the Southern California region. It will also house a demonstration kitchen and host programs, events, and exhibitions associated with Mexican food and culture in L.A. L.A.’s Rodrigo Vargas Design is designing the interiors for LA Plaza Cocina. “Los Angeles is the Mexican food capital of the country, and it deserves a place that celebrates the history and culture that we have with Mexican food.” John Echeveste, CEO of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s important, not only to Latino families, but anyone who eats.” Echeveste described the museum as a “multipurpose space centered around Mexican cuisine in all of its ramifications." It will even feature a separate specialty store on site where visitors can buy spices, foods, and cultural media. According to the report, the museum will offer a slate of cooking and history classes taught by some of the region's best and most well-known Mexican chefs. In the future, it will provide cross-cultural programming with Mexican chefs via live broadcast in Mexico. The entire development is slated for an early 2019 opening.
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How Boring

The Boring Company completes its first tunnel as Elon Musk sells bricks
Elon Musk’s Boring Company has completed its first tunnel, breaking through the other side of a 2-mile-long test track that began in the parking lot of Space X’s Hawthorne, Los Angeles, headquarters. Musk took to Twitter and posted a video of their tunnel boring machine breaking through the track’s final wall in what will eventually become the “O'Leary Station” for a Hyperloop network, though as Arstechnica notes, the location isn’t exactly where the Boring Company had received approval to build a station. Now that the tunnel is complete, the L.A.–Hawthorne tunnel is on track for its December 10 opening date. Although Musk originally envisioned a Hyperloop-style system that would ferry cars under Los Angeles’s traffic-congested highways at 155 miles-per-hour, he later pivoted toward accommodating bikes, buses, and pedestrian traffic as well. This is the same style of system that the Boring Company was selected to build in Chicago to connect O’Hare and the Loop—though that deal is currently facing an injunction from the nonprofit Better Government Association. But what about the refuse that the Boring Company has excavated? Musk first proposed converting tunnel waste into bricks that could be used for affordable housing back in May, claiming that the stone they were mining was “seismically rated” in California. Then, in September, Musk promised that a “Boring Brick store” would be opening in two months and selling bricks for 10 cents each. Now, it looks like Musk is following through with his promise and has founded The Brick Store LLC. From public documents submitted in October, the Brick Store will open at 12003 Prairie Avenue in Hawthorne, only a mile from the Space X headquarters (and aforementioned Hyperloop tunnel). While it’s uncertain exactly how many bricks the Brick Store will be able to offer, Musk has promised that he’ll give them away for free to affordable housing projects. Before the tunnel officially opens next month, the Boring Company will need to extricate their tunnel boring machine using the access shaft and clean up the rubble left behind. Musk claims that the Boring Company will eventually dig tunnels all the way to residents’ private garages.
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The Neverending Story

Amazon's new Queens campus might displace 1,500 affordable units
Amazon’s confirmation earlier this month that it would be dropping one half of its future campus in Long Island City (LIC), Queens, immediately drew condemnation from state representatives and a group of New York City’s elected officials. As the furor grew over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to rezone a portion of LIC for the tech giant’s campus, Cuomo released an op-ed today where he hit back at critics of the plan and touted the economic growth that Amazon would bring to New York. Housing affordability had been a point of contention among critics of the $3 billion in subsidies that Amazon will be receiving, and a new report from Politico shows that Amazon’s campus will preclude the creation of 1,500 affordable housing units. Amazon’s investment in the city won’t be insignificant. According to the Office of the Mayor, the online retail behemoth is expected to create 25,000 new jobs by 2029, going up to 40,000 in 2034. In 2019, Amazon will take half-a-million square feet of office space at One Court Square (the Citigroup Building) while their 4-million-square-foot headquarters on the LIC waterfront is under construction. Once work wraps up in 2029, Amazon is expecting to potentially add another 4 million square feet to their campus by 2034. The site of this future development? Anable Basin, an industrial enclave currently owned by the plastic company Plaxall. Plaxall had been gearing up to enact a WXY-master-planned redevelopment of their 15-acre site that would have created 5,000 new residential units, 1,250 of them affordable. Developer TF Cornerstone was also set to build their own 250 affordable apartments on an adjacent site owned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), but that project has also been subsumed. An Amazon spokesperson has confirmed to Politico that the no housing will be built on their Queens campus. Long Island City is home to the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the Western Hemisphere, but the official line from the de Blasio administration is that the Amazon campus will only be a net positive for the area. A spokesperson for the NYCEDC told Politico that HQ2 will buoy the neighborhood economically, and Mayor de Blasio seemed to agree. “One of the biggest companies on earth next to the biggest public housing development in the United States—the synergy is going to be extraordinary,” said de Blasio.