Yale University Wins First Place; University of Maryland, College Park Is the Runner-Up

This year’s Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Student Design and Planning Competition challenged students from the four finalist teams to create innovative housing that preserved and celebrated the unique culture of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The teams had to balance several factors when developing their final plans, including the planning context (that is, zoning requirements), local economic conditions, a feasible financing plan, the built environment, and the larger social needs of the community.

In March, the four teams — the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Maryland at College Park; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Yale University — traveled to Santa Fe while confronting the possibility of school closure due to COVID-19. The students spent an entire day with staff from the Santa Fe County Housing Authority, local builders, architects, artists, politicians, and financial specialists to learn about the unique challenges of building in Santa Fe. In addition, the students had a chance to tour the development site — a 6.6-acre vacant parcel. The housing agency plans to use the site to provide much-needed housing for families with children. The students’ challenge: to apply innovative design principles to build units that honor Santa Fe’s Pueblo and Spanish cultures while being financially feasible and energy efficient. The students used what they learned from the site visit to refine their proposed plans for a final presentation at this year’s awards ceremony.

The 2020 IAH Student Design and Planning Competition awards ceremony was a virtual event held on April 16, 2020. This year’s competition additionally challenged the students to develop their innovative designs and site plans while scattered across the country and remaining isolated. Despite the tough conditions, the teams delivered outstanding presentations for the project site, making the task of choosing a winner and a runner-up difficult. The four finalist teams presented their ideas to a panel of jurors representing the planning, architecture, and home-building industries. HUD staff, invited guests, and members of the public were invited to view the event, which was livestreamed on YouTube. As in previous years, each student team delivered a 20-minute presentation addressing the economic, social, and environmental challenges of the development site. The students then had 10 minutes to field questions from jury members.

Read the full article on HUDuser.gov.

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