During the era of Modernism, architects led the charge in addressing housing shortage – devising innovative formal, technical, and organizational strategies for mass housing at a time of rapid urbanization and post-war global crisis. In America, as the problems endemic to modern public housing grew and state sponsorship declined, architects dis-engaged from social housing, turning the subject into a question of policy.
Over the past 20 years, as the desirability of living in cities has rapidly increased, housing affordability has become the most common issue confronting cities globally. At a time when the traditional governmental mechanisms for funding the production and maintenance of quality affordable housing have largely been dismantled, architects have re-engaged - seeking innovative alternatives for developing and designing affordable housing. A series of new paradigms have emerged: micro-housing, communal or co-housing, and re-positioning existing public housing. These diverse approaches share an engagement all aspects of housing production – from financing through design and execution. For our next event the AIA Global Dialogues will reflect on designers today are taking action to create the next generation of affordable housing.