Urban Studies Master of Interdisciplinary Studies students, Kristin Allin, Kenneth Gilkes, and Beth Hogan –along with Dave Ederer from Georgia Tech– are participating in HUD’s Innovation In Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition. The IAH competition has been designed to replicate a real-life approach; This is the seventh year of the competition. This year’s challenge is to plan a mixed-use development with affordable housing for a site in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The HUD competition requires multi-disciplinary teams; traditionally that has meant teams with students participating in graduate studies in architecture, planning, policy, and business. However, when Elizabeth Hogan, Team Captain saw the announcement for the HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design Challenge, she wanted to participate. As a team of interdisciplinary scholars, they would be granted eligibility, as long as they contain the skill set required. Hogan surveyed urban studies graduate students (some of whom hold internships and jobs elsewhere) to see who was interested and what skills they could represent- Enter Team Terminus- a callback to Atlanta’s first unofficial name.
Team Terminus Members
Kenneth Gilkes (MIS Urban Studies Student) Expertise: Architecture
Kristin Allin (MIS Urban Studies Student) Expertise: Business and Engineering
Dave Ederer (PhD Planning Candidate) Expertise: Public Health and Engineering
Elizabeth Hogan (MIS Urban Studies Student) Expertise: Education and Public Policy
Given the varied urban student backgrounds, teammates enjoyed bouncing ideas off one another for the general themes and ideas of the project. As Allin shared “We all brought interesting ideas to the table and we each went about our part differently. It was fun to learn about this completely new area and its needs and personality.”
Kristin Allin was in charge of the pro forma stage. This component of the Single-Family Rental Toolkit is intended for grantees and their partners financing the development of single-family rental housing through conventional debt and Federal subsidies. “It was a steep learning curve as I have not done a pro forma in the past. I met briefly with the Decatur Housing Authority Director to clarify the line items to understand the terminology. One of the Decatur Affordable Housing Task Force members sent me a pro forma of a job of his to review as he is a nonprofit developer.
Through this process, they considered the historical and cultural contexts of the site in a way that makes the project a good fit for the community. As Hogan adds: “We are also all parents and that gave us a special perspective in planning for meeting the needs of families in the development and larger community.” The team provided innovative concepts and a fiduciary plan that led to a strong proposal.
The consensus around the team’s strengths includes their ability to look for a total solution. As Kenneth Gilkes admits, “It’s a little outside of my comfort zone but I’m psyched about it. I really was challenged by participating in the first phase of the HUD housing because it was truly an interdisciplinary effort that related to several courses that I’ve taken towards a MIS in Urban Studies. I felt it was a good way to do something positive outside of class with some of my urban studies student cohort.”
The semi-finals are next and though the team- advised by Professor Dan Immergluck- is hopefully, as Gilkes said, “Now, we’ll see what the judges think.”
Semi-final results will be announced by the end of February. You can see the final visual draft here.