Ten Trends Shaping Affordable Housing

From Passive House design to a broader range of amenities, affordable housing developers are finding new ways to make housing more efficient, comfortable, and flexible for residents.

1 minute read

May 8, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Colorful seven-story apartment buildings around a grasy courtyard with wooden gazebos.

Кирилл Горшков / Adobe Stock

In an article for Building Design & Construction, Quinn Purcell highlights the ten most relevant trends in affordable housing development. “Among affordable housing developers today, there’s one commonality tying projects together: uncertainty.”

Passive House design takes the top spot, signaling the growing importance of sustainability in building practices. “In today’s affordable housing landscape, request for proposals (RFPs) are identifying a desire for net zero operational, Passive House, and WELL building standards—more than just green design.”

Builders are also including more amenities that recognize the need for outdoor space and community areas. “Across the board, we’re seeing an increase in amenities that were once considered market-rate. Rooftop spaces, outdoor recreation, and courtyards are increasingly common (especially since the Coronavirus pandemic brought more people to the outdoors).”

Affordable housing is also a prime candidate for Trauma-Informed Design (TiD), an approach that uses thoughtful design to create an environment of safety and security. Similarly, developers are moving toward mixed-use projects, higher density, and heightened connectivity to the local community and transit hubs.

In addition to trends in architecture and design, the article also highlights regulatory challenges and trends such as lengthy project timelines and a growing interest in combining various local, state, and federal incentives and credits to make projects financially viable.

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