Housing & Urban Design

Photo: Ron Cogswell/Flickr

Everyone deserves a good place to live and work.

Apartment rental costs in the area are now second-highest in the country, according to a January 2018 Washingtonian article. This can push workers far from their place of employment, putting more pressure on our transportation systems and aggravating commuters. We must ensure that housing supply stays in pace with demand over the years to come so that quality housing remains available to our workforce.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) estimates that the region must increase production of housing units by 100,000 by 2040 to meet rising demand. (That’s 100,000 additional housing units on top of what MWCOG already expects will be built.)

Smart planning and new technology can help build more affordable, enjoyable, and sustainable places to live, work, and play. Properly-targeted development incentives and digitized permitting systems can reduce bureaucracy barriers, leading to fewer empty lots and more housing and commercial stock. Mixed-use developments are popping up across the region to put shops, restaurants, and other amenities within walking distance of residents. Innovative designs in green architecture such as those that make better use of natural light can lower utility bills and improve air quality. Lastly, housing density, or “building up, not out” can create more housing with less land and make in-demand areas more affordable.

The Board of Trade will explore these solutions and more with area policy makers, developers, and financiers.

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