Surplus Land: How Architecture Can Transform Underutilized Public Properties into Affordable Housing | The Plan Journal

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Lorcan O’Herlihy

As the cost of land becomes increasingly expensive, cities are posed to establish new ways of finding sites to encourage affordable housing and housing for people experiencing homelessness. Cities in California and across the US are looking to surplus land, or underutilized publicly owned land, as a resource to develop new housing. One of the obstacles with this effort is the inconsistency of the surplus land parcels. Challenges these sites might be facing can include a lack of zoning, contamination, and a lack of connection to residential or pedestrian-friendly zones. With surplus land presenting a viable option for developing new affordable housing, Architects will be a key component to reimaging these sites to contend with the challenges they face and to integrate this new land use into neighborhood contexts.