City Building: A Model for Affordable Housing. The Beijing Case Study / by Usen Esiet

Stefan Al, Evan Rose, and Nando Micale co-direct the cross-disciplinary Global Social Housing Studio at the University of Pennsylvania. The team led by Al worked with the Beijing Urban Design Department, tasked with planning a staggering amount of 200,000 affordable housing units every year— roughly the equivalent of building the entire housing stock of a city like Dublin, year after year. Students recognized that the provision of affordable housing at this immense scale is really a form of city building, with the potential to be used as a major impetus to improve Beijing’s urban form and public realm. They tested how density zoning, urban design regulations, landscape and open space typologies, architectural forms, and economic policies could contribute to not only a more equitable, but also a more efficient, pleasant, and sustainable city.