I have seen multiple news stories regarding the lack of housing choices, particularly affordable, or entry level housing choices. One can argue this deficit is the result of a failure of a community to attract and retain a middle income job base. If a preponderance of the jobs in a community are earning near poverty level incomes, then it follows that these households require housing assistance. My experience with programs like rental tax credits is the physical result is often a race to the bottom. I am a great believer in creating affordable housing solutions that are indistinguishable from market rate housing. That these projects are best rendered in small public/private partnership. That these projects incorporate sustainability in every decision. And, that these projects must be conceived as a part of the neighborhood tapestry, woven carefully and creatively into the urban fabric.
I have often wondered how the suburban tract home became ubiquitous. A sprinkle of government programs here. A dash of the desire for conformity there. In the end, it would seem many families desire what smart growth principles are supposed to deliver: a neighborhood that is attractive and affordable, that has a range of housing opportunities and choices, that is compact and walkable. The classic brick row house would be one of the elements to utilize in smart growth neighborhoods.