Skip to main content

Cityscape: Volume 16 Number 2 | Article 4


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Form Follows Families: Evolution of U.S. Affordable Housing Design and Construction

Volume 16, Number 2

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Design and Affordable American Housing

Gwendolyn Wright
Columbia University


Americans have experimented with new models for affordable housing for more than two centuries. The private sector, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations have all played a role. Architecture and site planning have been crucial elements in these efforts, yet they have received scant attention. In arguing that the design of good housing is neither elusive nor subjective, this article explores some of the best practices—and a few mistakes. The article begins with a historical background of diverse endeavors to provide better, more affordable housing for single women, workers, public housing tenants, immigrants, homeless individuals, and low-income families. It then relates this legacy to recent efforts to integrate housing with community development.

Previous Article   |   Next Article