During the era of Modernism, architects led the charge in addressing housing shortage, devising innovative formal, technical, and organizational strategies for mass housing at a time of rapid urbanization and post-war global crisis. In more recent years, as the problems endemic to modern American public housing have grown and state sponsorship has declined, architects have disengaged from social housing, turning the subject into a question of policy.

Over the past 20 years, as the desirability of city living has made a resurgence, housing affordability has become the most common issue confronting cities at a global scale. At a time when the traditional governmental mechanisms for funding the production and maintenance of quality affordable housing have largely been dismantled, architects have re-engaged, seeking innovative alternatives for developing and designing affordable housing. A series of new paradigms have emerged: micro-housing, communal or co-housing, and re-positioning existing public housing. These diverse approaches share an engagement in all aspects of housing production, from financing through design and execution.

For our next event, the AIANY Global Dialogues Committee will reflect on the designers today who are taking action to create the next generation of affordable housing.