Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism Biennial Conference

Housing +

Housing +
Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism Biennial Conference and Exhibition
May 3-4, 2018


Housing is essential for a functional life
Housing can be the foundation for a social community 
Housing can stimulate community building
Housing extends beyond the private realm
Housing can be an essential part of infrastructure
Housing needs support of services and institutions
Housing is an important factor in community health
Housing ownership is an entry to the economy
Housing is the largest fabric of urbanity

The provision of affordable housing is a colossal challenge with an urgent and acute need for new solutions. In industrialized nations, housing is often the most expensive item in household budgets. Homelessness is one of the primary challenges faced by cities, with estimates for homeless populations reaching 600,000 in Europe and over 750,000 in the United States (UNHABITAT, 2011). Research suggests that in cities in developing countries, 881 million people live in slums, and by 2025, that number is likely to increase by 1.6 billion. In South Asia, housing deficits amount to 38 million dwellings. Due to a lack of affordable and well-located housing alternatives, the informal sector provides between 60 and 90 percent of housing in Zambia, Lima, Caracas and Ghana (UNHABITAT World Cities Report, 2016). With growing concerns of rapid rural to urban migration, natural disasters, and unprecedented rates of urbanization, these trends are likely to continue. The challenges to housing need to be addressed in interdisciplinary and multi-scalar ways; the traditional role of housing purely as shelter needs to be confronted.

Attempts at comprehensive affordable housing solutions have escaped the efforts of governments, private enterprises, and non-governmental organizations alike. Yet there are examples of progress made in the fields of social science, policy, and humanities. Design, however, is typically not an approach that comes to mind when one refers to housing affordability, whether at the scale of the house, neighborhood, or city. There is a dearth of affordable housing design that is inspiring, sustainable, inclusive, or substantial enough to satisfy the full spectrum of human rights and aspirations at a meaningful scale.

The Housing+ conference will explore interpretations of the ‘+’, extending the design dialogue beyond the scale of the housing unit. Panels will explore the role that housing has to play in various landscapes of urbanity such as public space and infrastructure. Speakers will address the challenges that designers face in the housing sector, including those related to affordability, resilience, health and sustainability.

To stay updated, sign up here.





Thursday May 3, 2018

MAY 03, 2018 - 8:45 AM
Opening remarks

MAY 03, 2018 - 9:00 AM
Housing +

MAY 03, 2018 - 9:20 AM
Housing + Community Building
For housing projects to be effective, they need to not only provide adequate shelter for residents, but also foster community building and empowerment. In such a context, does design have a role to play? This panel stresses upon the need to engage with local communities as an integral component of housing development, and questions the role of community participation in the design process. Additionally, it asks: How can design foster community building? What is the potential for scalability and replicability of community building processes currently commonly adopted in housing practice?

MAY 03, 2018 - 10:45 AM
Guyana - Marie Law Adams

MAY 03, 2018 - 11:05 AM

MAY 03, 2018 - 11:35 AM
Cartagena - Adèle Naudé Santos

MAY 03, 2018 - 11:50 AM
Housing + Large Scale Planning
Housing forms the largest component of urban landscapes. Housing policy and planning can deeply affect the development of a household, a city, and a country. Current socioeconomic and environmental challenges, such as macroeconomic instability, changing demographics, and climate change confront designers and urban planners with the challenge of creating comprehensive, long-term and large-scale solutions to the problems of housing design and affordability. In which ways can this planning process promote housing design that supports community social structures and economic livelihoods? What is the relationship between design thinking and policy making for housing? And, how can best practice solutions and innovation scale-up to affect development outcomes at large scales?

MAY 03, 2018 - 1:20 PM

MAY 03, 2018 - 2:20 PM
Sâo Paulo - Angelo Bucci

MAY 03, 2018 - 2:35 PM
Housing + Public Realm
How important is the public realm in fostering strong and resilient communities? With this fundamental question framing the discussion, this panel explores ways in which place making and the design of the public realm can strengthen residential neighborhoods and encourage inclusivity, equity, and justice among local communities. It examines the contributions made by public space, urban amenities and social infrastructure in facilitating a higher quality of life for urban residents, and questions: What are the critical components of the public realm that contribute to the potential success of a residential development, especially for vulnerable populations?

MAY 03, 2018 - 4:05 PM

MAY 03, 2018 - 4:20 PM
Charles Correa (1955) Lecture on Housing and Urbanization

MAY 03, 2018 - 5:05 PM
Reception + Exhibition Opening


Friday May 4, 2018

MAY 04, 2018 - 9:00 AM
Opening remarks

MAY 04, 2018 - 9:10 AM
India - James L. Wescoat

MAY 04, 2018 - 9:25 AM
Housing + Form: Typologies
As demographics shift and communities adopt new modes of living, design disciplines must innovate to develop new housing typologies. This panel explores what these future typologies can look like, including examples such as co-housing, modular housing, and live+work typologies, and how they can be incorporated into existing neighborhood models within urban settings. It questions: How can the efficacy of innovation in housing typologies be maximized? What is the role of technology in this housing revolution? What are the barriers to implementation of any new housing typologies, and how can they be tackled?

MAY 04, 2018 - 10:55 AM

MAY 04, 2018 - 11:30 AM
Rwanda - Rafi Segal

MAY 04, 2018 - 11:45 AM
Housing + Form: Fabrication
As fabrication technologies evolve and proliferate at a global scale, designers need to develop innovative uses of these technologies to increase housing affordability internationally. This panel explores ways in which both low-tech and high-tech scenarios can provide innovative solutions to the affordability challenge for housing. It questions: Are there ways in which local communities can engage with new technology through a participatory process? What role can vernacular building mechanisms play in this innovation process? How can design and construction system solutions retrofit?

MAY 04, 2018 - 1:15 PM

MAY 04, 2018 - 2:15 PM
Peru - Sheila Kennedy

MAY 04, 2018 - 2:30 PM
Housing + Networks: Infrastructure
Housing and infrastructure are inextricably linked. Traditional approaches to infrastructure include large-scale planning, high capital and operation costs, and extended construction timelines. But, at what scale of infrastructure can affordable housing be best served? How can traditional infrastructure layouts be reimagined to accommodate the evolving needs of urban neighborhoods? How can infrastructure be used as a vehicle for community engagement? And, what role can architects, urban designers, and planners play in redefining the ways infrastructure is provided? This panel will explore the relationships between neighborhood form and the scale of infrastructure, through social, economic, and spatial lenses in affordable housing settings.

MAY 04, 2018 - 4:00 PM
Housing + Networks: Partnerships
Due to rapid urbanization and the subsequent increase in the need for new housing, states are often unable to keep up with growing demands. To address these existing gaps, this discussion emphasizes the potential roles that other agencies, such as private and philanthropic organizations, need to play in making change happen on-the-ground. It reimagines the potential for engagement by these organizations within the larger housing provision ecosystem, to explore opportunities for partnerships, networking and investment. It questions: How can planners and designers develop attractive offers to philanthropists who demand a clear social return on their investment? How can housing philanthropy foster new housing solutions?

MAY 04, 2018 - 5:30 PM
Concluding statement

Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism Biennial Conference