APA Launches Housing Choice and Affordability

Approximately every two years, APA selects a single topic or "Supertopic" to receive organization-wide focus. The supertopic is emphasized in all of APA's publications and programs. The first supertopic focused on Safe Growth America — making our communities safer from natural and human caused disasters. APA's second supertopic, Housing Choice and Affordability, was launched at the 2006 National Planning Conference in San Antonio.

Housing is one of our most basic human needs; however, the realization of safe, decent, affordable housing is becoming increasingly difficult for more and more individuals and families. The issue of housing, particularly affordable housing, was once defined strictly as a social issue. Today, we understand housing as an issue tied to every aspect of the community — social, political, physical, economic. A growing proportion of middle-income households are facing housing affordability problems, particularly where they cannot afford to live in or near the communities in which they work. This is especially true in high growth or high amenity areas. Too often choice in housing and affordability are pitted against one another, when in fact they should go hand-in-hand.

Housing Choice and Affordability will identify and examine the most innovative planning efforts for providing and preserving a diversity of housing options for every member of a community. APA will focus its publications, research initiatives, and training opportunities on the complex intersection of planning and housing.

2007 National Planning Conference in Philadelphia
APA's National Planning Conference will again offer a conference session track devoted to the Housing Choice and Affordability topic.

Inclusionary Housing Audio Conference
May 23, 2007
4- 5:30 p.m., ET
Learn about the successes and challenges of an inclusionary housing program. Experts will discuss the legal mandates and program standards.

Zoning Practice
The December 2006 issue of Zoning Practice explores how to use zoning to expand affordable housing. Author, Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy, will be answering article-related questions online.

Planning magazine
The December issue of Planning covered Housing Choice and Affordability. From affordability to regulatory barriers, the magazine reports on what communities are doing across the country to try and ensure every resident has a home.

Downtown Idea Exchange Housing Perspective
The October issue of Downtown Idea Exchange featured a housing perspective written by Lynn M. Ross, AICP, Manager of APA's Planning Advisory Service. The piece addresses the need for downtowns to plan for housing.

Download the article (pdf)

10 Ways to Support Affordable Housing

Ideas on how planners can support and encourage affordable housing in their community

Housing Policy Guide Adopted
APA's new Housing Policy Guide was adopted at the 2006 National Planning Conference in San Antonio. The guide sets forth specific policies and recommendations that will help planners more effectively address this country's housing needs. The goal of the guide is to ensure that communities offer diverse and affordable housing stock for all residents regardless of age, race, or income level. The guide identifies six policy positions, which includes balancing the location of jobs and housing, preserving existing housing stock, and maintaining a connection between housing and schools.

AICP Symposium
APA's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, along with the National Building Museum held a symposium this October continuing to focus on housing concerns post-disaster. "Disaster and Displacement One Year Later: Housing and Community Building Post Hurricanes Katrina and Rita" covered the challenges involved with survivor displacement and the role of local planners and housing organizations in addressing challenges and rebuilding communities areas affected by Katrina and Rita.

Learn more about the symposium