New Study Ties Housing Affordability to Sustainability

Sarah Laskow reports on a new study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) that seeks to rethink how affordable housing is defined to incorporate transportation costs.
February 7, 2012, 2pm PST | Anonymous
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An analysis by CNT of the Chicago region's affordable housing developments has found that some are not very affordable when transportation costs are considered.

Typical transportation costs, the second largest expense in a household budget, ranged from $750 per month in many Chicago neighborhoods with affordable housing units to more than $1,000 in more distant suburbs. The report also found that suburban Cook County, which has comparatively low transportation costs, has fewer affordable housing units compared with the city of Chicago and the region's collar counties.

"Transportation costs don't only bust the budgets of low-income households. As the price of gas rises, working- and middle-class families can find themselves in what the New America Foundation calls "the energy trap" - stuck with the high costs of car ownership and fuel. It's a particular problem for families that have moved out to the exurbs in search of more affordable housing without considering how much more they'll have to pay to reach their jobs or their grocery store."

According to Laskow, "Sustainability advocates often start with the premise that dense, transit-accessible community save energy. But start with saving money for individual households - savings that people might feel more connected to - and the end point is the same."

Thanks to Annette Stahelin

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Published on Monday, February 6, 2012 in Good
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