Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area are experiencing a housing crisis, both in terms of affordability and supply. While the number of affordable and available units has been shrinking, a separate trend has emerged that is also adding pressure to the housing market, particularly for renters—a demand for transit-oriented, walkable, sustainable communities. As governments invest in projects and infrastructure falsely branded as sustainable, environmental gentrification often occurs resulting in displacement of current residents. Without new, moderately priced housing being built, displaced residents remain housing cost burdened. Workforce housing, priced to serve lower-middle to middle-income residents, offers a release from the pressure on the housing market, but innovative models for workforce housing development are necessary to navigate the regulatory and financial barriers in place. During a Solutions Round Table event facilitated by my client, a variety of potential tools for mitigating the housing crisis and removing barriers to workforce housing development were discussed. Based on conversations documented during the event, a robust list of workforce housing development tools was created. With the help of my client, the list was winnowed down to six tools for focused research—off-site construction, cohousing, land banks, missing middle infill models, community land trusts combined with limited equity cooperatives, and public-private partnerships. This project describes these tools and outlines best practices for developing and implementing them in the Valley. The best practices are organized to serve as guidance for the private sector and public sector separately, and for embedding health and social equity. Each tool is assessed using a simplified version of Gibson’s (2006) sustainability criteria, combined into four dimensions—environment, social, economic, and holistic. The findings from the assessment are embedded as guidance throughout the final product, a white paper, which will be delivered to Urban Land Institute (ULI) Arizona District Council Task Force for Health, Equity, and Housing Affordability, my client for this project.
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