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Barcelona and New York launch affordable housing challenge

Barcelona City Council and the City of New York have issued a call for innovative tools and technologies to make housing more affordable.

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Noting that “the lack of adequate, affordable housing is a challenge that undermines social inclusion, equality, people’s health and well-being, as well as sustainability,” Barcelona City Council and the City of New York committed to tackling this issue.

 

The cities signed a Declaration of Local Governments for the Right to Housing and the Right to the City and launched the BCN - NYC Affordable Housing Challenge.

 

The cities signed a Declaration of Local Governments for the Right to Housing and the Right to the City and launched the BCN - NYC Affordable Housing Challenge.

 

Faster, cheaper, cleaner

 

The main objective of Barcelona’s housing policy is to facilitate access to housing through innovative policies, while addressing challenges such as gentrification and socio-spatial segregation. The Council says it is on track to double the number of public housing units in the next ten years.

 

In New York City, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to building and preserving affordable homes for 300,000 families. New York says this is "levels not seen in 30 years".

 

The challenge builds on this and calls for innovative technologies and tools to shorten project timelines, reduce costs, and promote a cleaner and more sustainable industry. These priorities, the cities say, will drive down the cost of construction in dense urban areas and make housing more affordable for all citizens.

 

How to make housing more affordable?

 

Specific technologies that could help achieve these goals include:

  • Offsite prefabrication
  • Alternative building materials
  • Building information modelling
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Autonomous drones
  • Resource accounting and material flow analysis
  • 3D printing
  • Smart devices and mobile-based solutions

The challenge winner will receive a grant of up to $20,000 to demonstrate their solution at relevant project sites in Barcelona and/or New York City. Further implementation will be explored through a partnership with an affordable housing developer, if appropriate.

 

The deadline for proposals is January, with finalists selected in March. The winner will be revealed in May.

 

Proposals can be submitted here.

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