Disruptive Design is a three-part design competition that seeks to address the challenges associated with designing and building affordable, owner-occupied housing. The competition was initiated by the Chicago Housing Policy Task Force — a diverse group of organizations invested in creating affordable housing in Chicago — and carried out by a team of individuals representing those organizations.
The desire for affordable housing is present in both the gentrifying and underserved Chicago neighborhoods. In gentrifying areas, land values rise with desirability; in underserved areas, depreciated property and land values produce an appraisal gap that prohibits new development.
Construction of new affordable, owner-occupied housing is expensive and only becoming costlier. As the cost of construction and labor increases and incomes do not grow at pace, the affordability gap between what young professionals, small families, or first-time homebuyers can afford and the cost of construction becomes apparent to both developers and buyers—it is no longer advantageous to build starter homes. Subsidies, while helpful, cannot be the only long-term solution to this issue.
Develop a flexible residential structure that can accommodate various lot sizes and densities, as well as entrepreneurship and aging in place. Architects must innovate for affordability, utilizing new construction materials and methods, and providing single-family homes that offer opportunities for live- work situations, growing families, accessibility, and a new focus on the “gig” economy.