Alternative Social Housing: Prefab, Add-On Homes to Densify Suburbs : TreeHugger
November 9, 2012 Leave a comment
This post from Paula Alvarado at Treehugger details how Argentine architects Adamo Faiden propose to house people coming out of slums while densifying the suburbs. It is a fairly simple system: instead of building on virgin land, let’s build prefabricated units on top of existing suburban homes.
The second unit could be a sort of accessory unit for adult children or aging parents of the homeowner, or they could simply sell the rights to build on their roof, as is a fairly common practice in today’s slums. This not only saves undeveloped land, but also creates mixed-income communities.
Part of why this works well in Argentina is that the standard housing model is semi-detached with flat roofs. But here is the US, our standard housing is completely detached, with slanted roofs. So how do we apply it? Well, since we have more room on the sides of our houses, we could add a detached or even attached accessory building units, as some developers in New Jersey are starting to do. But while our housing stock does not have flat roofs to build on, there are a lot of other buildings that do:
While our housing is largely made up of pitched roofs, our retail, institutional, and industrial uses are often not. Developing on top of these buildings would help create mixed-use neighborhoods, where people may not have to drive to their everyday services, and may be more inclined to walk.