Housing News Roundup: April 27, 2015
S.F. Community Works to Maintain History of Diversity, Affordability
Residents and advocates in San Francisco’s Mission District hope a new strategy — known as Mission Action Plan 2020 — can serve as a community vision without displacement, in contrast to the Mission Area Plan adopted in 2008.
The new plan emphasizes increasing below-market-rate housing, minimizing displacement, preserving diversity, preserving and enhancing businesses and commercial areas, improving and developing additional community facilities and open space, and promoting alternative means of transportation. Gabriel Medina, program manager at the Mission Economic Development Agency, said that displacement “is the most damning [shortcoming] of the Mission Area Plan because the Mission has always been the gateway, a sanctuary community for immigrants, for families and the working class.” A recent report found that while the Bay Area in general is becoming more diverse, San Francisco could be the whitest area in the nation by 2040.
How Wellbeing Differs, Congressional District to Congressional District
A new report from the Social Science Research Council’s Measure of America project paints a colorful picture — several, actually — of the country’s wellbeing, detailing exactly how where we live can affect our health. Based on the UN’s Human Development Index, the report breaks down the overall wellbeing of the residents of each of the nation’s 435 congressional districts. It includes four maps: one on life expectancy, one on education, one on median income, and a fourth that takes into account all three factors.
Bronx Program to Fund Green Energy Renovations in Affordable Housing
Older buildings retrofitted as affordable housing can still suffer from high maintenance costs when budget-minded developers can’t afford to replace the energy systems, such as ancient boilers. A new $2.5 million “green-energy savings program” will help Bronx buildings make energy- and water-efficiency improvements that will in turn shrink operating costs. “There’s an enormous need for smart energy retrofits,” said Moses Gates, director of planning and community development for the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, a research and advocacy group. “Rents are rising across the city, and keeping energy costs low is a key part of a responsible owner being able to keep rents affordable and buildings in stable financial condition.”
Source: New York Times
‘Impossible’ Solution to Seattle’s Homeless Situation
Students from the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative believe that a moveable house they’ve designed is the answer a community’s needs. The nomadic Nickelsville community is part of a roving encampment that has struggled with city officials for years; the small transplantable, insulated houses will allow for privacy when they’re in place and transportability when the community picks up and moves. “Homelessness is a really difficult thing. Everyone sees homeless people on the street, and it’s hard to know how to approach that: Why are people sleeping outside in the cold?,” asked program director Sarah Smith. “Design allows us to ask those questions and deal with them in a really practical way.” The group is currently raising funds to build its “Impossible City.”
Source: Next City
IBM’s Jeopardy-Winning Supercomputer to Look at Health Factors
In 2011, the IBM supercomputer “Watson” was competing on Jeopardy (it took home first place and $1 million). Today’s it’s at the root of the Watson Health Cloud, an ambitious open platform that developers say will cull vast sources of data not only from electronic medical records, but from wearable fitness trackers that are increasingly being used by older Americans. “IBM and its vast ecosystem of clients, partners and medical researchers can surface new connections between these diverse and previously siloed healthcare data sets, and spur the creation of a new generation of data-driven applications and solutions designed to advance health and wellness,” according to IBM.
Source: Senior Housing News