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BCN-NYC Affordable Housing Challenge winner announced

A joint proposal from Columbia National University and Straddle 3 Barcelona has been chosen for the international BCN-NYC Affordable Housing Challenge.

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Winning idea uses new economical building techniques that are adaptable and easy to install
Winning idea uses new economical building techniques that are adaptable and easy to install

A proposal for ‘densifying’ cities by making the most of the vacant spaces in cities has won the international BCN-NYC Affordable Housing Challenge.

 

The competition is organised by the i.lab programme of the Commissioner for Technology and Digital Innovation, the Barcelona City Councillor’s Office for Housing and Renovation and New York City Council.

 

Winning collaboration

 

The goal pursued and shared by New York City and Barcelona in proposing this challenge is to find innovative solutions, tools and technologies that can cut the time and costs involved in building and renovating in dense urban areas, to make housing more affordable for everyone.

 

The winning proposal is the brainchild of a collaboration between Columbia National University’s “construction system for affordable housing” project and Straddle 3 Barcelona’s “innovation for social inclusion” project.

 

It involves renovating existing buildings and new constructions without affecting the site by means of new, economical building techniques that are light, adaptable and quick to install.

 

This construction idea also allows housing to be built suspended in the air with fewer ground supports and is even suitable for renovating rundown or underused parts of the city, such as motorways, ports and transport stations.

 

Faced with rising land and building costs, Barcelona and New York have to find ways of getting a higher return on every euro invested in affordable housing

 

The winning proposal in the international BCN-NYC Affordable Housing Challenge was chosen out of a total of 54 projects from 16 countries that took part.

 

Three finalists, selected from those 54, were announced at the Barcelona Housing Forum in March, and out of those a jury of housing, innovation and technology experts from Barcelona and New York city councils decided to award the prize jointly.

 

The prize is $40,000 to carry out two pilot projects, one in Barcelona and the other in New York City. In addition, the winning team will have an opportunity to meet the relevant municipal housing and technology officials from Barcelona and New York, as well as gain visibility and international recognition.

 

Faced with rising land and building costs, Barcelona and New York have to find ways of getting a higher return on every euro invested in affordable housing and offering homes more quickly to the families that need it.

 

Applying innovative construction methods, using alternative and sustainable materials and implementing new cost management and planning systems are all potential ways of building affordable homes.

 

Barcelona is experimenting along these lines with the provisional proximity accommodation (Aprop) modular housing programme. And by means of the BCN-NYC Affordable Housing Challenge, these cities want to take the use of new technologies further to reduce the time.

 

This initiative also forms part of the European IUC project through which the Barcelona and NYC housing teams have already been exchanging experiences for some months.

 

The i.lab aims to promote collaboration with other cities for sharing both challenges and solutions.

 

It identifies and launches city challenges through open competitions to find innovative solutions and improve public services. There are four open challenges under way.

 

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