Graduate Student Teams Among Winners of 18th Annual Affordable Housing Development Competition

The Affordable Housing Development Competition, organized by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, annually brings together teams of graduate students in architecture, planning, finance, and policy with affordable-housing organizations to develop comprehensive proposals to address the needs of the organizations and local communities. Two interdisciplinary student teams received prizes for their projects that respect local interests and propose comprehensive design and development strategies. 

A team composed of seven architecture, planning, and real estate students – Elizabeth Haney,  Szabolcs KissHyerin LeeAlan SageTaeseop Shin, Maia Woluchem, and Shane Zhang– received first place for their project, Library Village. The team also included Eleonora Bershadskaya and Nathaniel Rosen (MBA candidates, Harvard Business School) as well as Sterling Johnson (JD candidate, Harvard Law School).

The Library Village team worked with the Donna Brown/South Boston Neighborhood Development Corporation and MIT Center for Real Estate lecturer, Peter Roth, to develop their proposal for a 48-unit affordable senior housing mixed-use development with a new South Boston Branch Library space on the ground floor. “South Boston is a neighborhood in transition…For seniors, South Boston’s newfound popularity is hardly a cause for celebration – it’s a crisis of affordability,” they explain.

The team incorporated the South Boston community through interviews to ensure they crafted a proposal that accurately addressed the interests and needs of the local citizens. Their proposal combines design elements such as a central courtyard and flexible indoor spaces with community-oriented programming to improve quality of life for both senior building residents as well as library users from across the neighborhood. “We aim to develop an asset that not only provides housing security for low-income residents, but is a site of connection and belonging,” they state. “By leveraging federal, state and city subsidies to develop on below-market, city-owned land, Library Village becomes more than the sum of its parts: a cohesive community asset where a public library enhances the lives of the seniors who live above it and the neighborhood built around it.” View the full Library Village proposal here.

Honan House: A Service-Rich Community for Older Adults in the Heart of Brightona collaboration between planning students Alex Acuña, Alex Bob, students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, won third place. The Honan House team collaborated with the Jewish Community for the Elderly and Chris Hebert from the Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies. Speaking to current resident’s living conditions, they stated:

“Future housing oriented towards seniors need not be enclaves. Rather, these environments should serve as spaces for intergenerational connection. Through the inclusion of a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and an infant daycare, we have envisioned a place where the inspiration of youth and adults alike can mix with the wisdom and experience of elders. [The Honan House proposal] offers a variety of social services, a design with liveable spaces that are accessible for all its users, innovative financing and operations approaches in order to provide affordable housing options for a range of community members, and environments that are conscious of sustainability and healthy living.”  

Read the full Honan House proposal here.


Authored with Takeo Kuwabara, DUSP.
Images 1-5: Library Village, courtesy student authors.
Images 6-7: Honan House, courtesy student authors.