CAN ARCHITECTURE MAKE PRISON TOLERABLE?

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Architecture is magic. And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m writing for a real estate firm and I have a soft spot in my heart for clean lines and light pouring through windows. Okay, maybe I am – but that’s truly besides the point. Architecture is magic for me for many reasons, but I also believe that it’s magic for everybody. After all, how much influence does the space we’re in hold over us? How much better do you function if you’re in a space that’s overcome with sunlight vs. one that’s dark and gloomy? Or in a space that’s clean and organized vs. cluttered and chaotic? What about well-designed and personalized vs. one that’s void of personality? The fact is this – the space we’re in makes a difference. It alters our mood, shifts our perspective, and can even play into how productive we are. Now, of course, my views on this matter are fairly fluffy…but there are some notably more qualified folks who stand behind my beliefs as well. Those experts have led to incredibly interesting architectural projects aimed to better people’s lives. One example of this? Storstrøm Prison, located a mere 70 miles from Copenhagen. CAN ARCHITECTURE MAKE PRISON TOLERABLE?

DC DEVELOPMENT(S): AFFORDABLE HOUSING ATOP THE METRO

It’s not hush-hush, in fact it’s pretty common knowledge: living in and around the District is pricey. Whether you’re on top of the world in terms of finances, or barely scraping by, the housing here is a hot commodity, and the truth is that we need more affordable housing.

Alexandria, Virginia – a little over 8-miles from the pocket of the metro DC area – was once an option for those who needed access to the city but wanted more affordable housing options. And yet, the times have changed. According to Curbed, less than 6 percent of Alexandria’s available housing qualifies as affordable. Not to mention:

“Furthermore, 9 percent of the city’s disappeared between 2000 and 2017. Before, the inventory was 18,218 units. Now, the inventory is 1,749 apartments.” DC DEVELOPMENT(S): AFFORDABLE HOUSING ATOP THE METRO

IN THE FUTURE, WE’LL ALL LIVE ON FLOATING HOUSES

Floating houses are going legit.  The closest thing we’ve had to a floating house is the houseboat, which has usually been considered the province of bohemians and eccentrics like my dad’s friend who airbrushed murals on vans and Camaro hoods (his specialty was Elvis, and wizards who looked suspiciously like Elvis), stayed high 24/7, and didn’t mind living in a bobbing crackerbox that smelled like generator fumes and river scum.  But thanks to European advances in technology, you can now live in a floating townhome with all the amenities and utilities of a land-house, but that costs a fraction of the price. IN THE FUTURE, WE’LL ALL LIVE ON FLOATING HOUSES

ARCHITECTURE FOR GOOD: BATTLING HOMELESSNESS

When homelessness is a concern, the home-less aspect is often (and unfortunately) only the tip of the iceberg. Those who find themselves battling homelessness can often come from heavy, challenging backgrounds that expose them to things such as abuse, addiction, violence, and more. Finding both the mental strength and physical resources to bounce back from homelessness is no small feat – which is why having effective programs in place cannot be overlooked. ARCHITECTURE FOR GOOD: BATTLING HOMELESSNESS

MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR DC FAMILIES COMING SOON

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A rendering of proposed 100-unit affordable housing project on 50th street NE.

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that most DC families with children must spend at least $80,000 per year to have an “adequate but modest” life in the DC metro area, which makes it extremely difficult for households with less than $40,000 to make a living in The District. In the maps below, you will find that most of the DC neighborhoods east of the Anacostia river file as “low-income” on their taxes. MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR DC FAMILIES COMING SOON

HOUSING AND COMMUNITY SERVICES UNDER ONE ROOF IN THE BRONX

A new, colorful and attractive L-shaped apartment complex in the Bronx has a unique purpose: to provide housing and social support for vulnerable individuals in the area facing housing and healthcare challenges. Boston Road Supportive Housing, at 1191 Boston Road in the Morrisania section of the South Bronx, was built as a collaboration between the non-profit firm Breaking Ground, which carries out architecture with a societal purpose, the New York State Medicaid Redesign Team, which addresses the link between healthcare cost and homelessness through housing solutions, and Alexander Gorlin Architects out of Manhattan, who have previously collaborated with Breaking Ground. HOUSING AND COMMUNITY SERVICES UNDER ONE ROOF IN THE BRONX