The UB Affordable Housing Initiative

Imagining. Innovating. Building.

Students work on a recent affordable housing rehab project in Buffalo.

Students work on a recent affordable housing rehab project in Buffalo.

Although the City of Buffalo has experienced a resurgence, it has inadequate high-quality housing that is affordable to a significant portion of its population. Like many cities, affordable housing in Buffalo has been heavily dependent on the availability of investments through low-income housing tax credits, the future availability of which is uncertain.

Pushing the national conversation on quality, affordable housing

In 2018, the School of Architecture and Planning recently gathered more than 150 leaders in affordable housing to consider policy, design and building solutions to an issue that has reached crisis proportions in cities across the U.S. The symposium kicked off a new program at the school to design and build affordable housing prototypes for Buffalo and cities like it across the U.S.

For over 50 years, the school has made practical work in, with and for communities in Buffalo and the upstate region a central experience in the education of student architects, planners and real estate developers.

Through coursework, research and participation in studios, architecture, real estate development and urban planning students and faculty will plan, design and ultimately build single-family or multi-family housing prototypes for underserved neighborhoods on Buffalo's East or West Side. Prototypes will be replicable both for Buffalo and cities like it across the U.S. The design-build project will also consider innovative design and construction materials and techniques. 

Faculty publications and student work on affordable housing

  • Bailey Green Design Prototypes
    5/16/18
    This studio, led by clinical assistant instructor of architecture Stephanie Cramer instructor worked with urban planning professor Hiroaki Hata’s neighborhood master plan to design homes that fitted the area’s narrow 30-foot lots.
  • Weak House
    12/1/18

    Air as both a subtle omnipresence and definitive energy, “CatenAIRies” pays homage to it by utilizing wind to create a fluid and ethereal spatial experience

  • Affordable Housing in US Shrinking Cities
    3/23/16
    Robert Silverman, Li Yin and collaborators explore the reasons for the failure (and success) of affordable housing experiences in the fastest shrinking cities in the US. 
  • Buffalo Turning the Corner
    6/26/19
    Professors of urban planning Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. and Robert Silverman join associate professor of urban planning Li Yin collaborated on the Buffalo Turning The Corner Initiative through the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership University at Buffalo Center for Urban Studies.
  • The Impact of Single-Family Rental REITs on Regional Housing Markets
    9/5/18
    Urban planning professor Robert Silverman, PhD student Chihuangji Wang and collaborators examine the socio–spatial distribution of properties in single family home (SFR) real estate investment trusts (REIT) portfolios to determine if SFR REIT properties tend to cluster in distinct areas.
  • Understanding Paul Rudolph
    12/1/18

    Air as both a subtle omnipresence and definitive energy, “CatenAIRies” pays homage to it by utilizing wind to create a fluid and ethereal spatial experience

  • Planning for the Health and Social Inclusion of LGBT Older Adults
    10/9/17
    While lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older adults have a range of lived experiences, many grew up during a time when homosexuality and gender variance was denounced and criminalized.
  • Neighborhood characteristics and the location of HUD-subsidized housing in shrinking cities
    11/5/15
    Professor and associate professor of urban planning Robert Silverman and Li Yin along with associate professor of social work Kelly Patterson and urban planning PhD student Laiyun Wu focus on the manner in which affordable housing fits into anchor-based strategies for urban revitalization.
  • Manufactured Housing
    5/1/20
    The affordability of housing has become a critical problem in most of the United States, especially in large, fast-growing cities where there are shortages of vacant land and housing. Post-industrial cities also face severe housing affordability problems due to population loss and deindustrialization, even though vacant land and abandoned houses are common. These “shrinking” or “legacy” cities face problems of low incomes, combined with surplus housing stock that has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer economical to rehabilitate it. The purpose of this report is to propose a unique opportunity for meeting the affordable housing needs of residents in post-industrial cities.
  • Siting Affordable Housing in Opportunity Neighborhoods
    4/30/17
    Professor and associate professor of urban planning Robert Silverman and Li Yin along with associate professor of social work Kelly Patterson examine the content and structure of the new affirmatively furthering fair housing mapping tool (AFFH-T) developed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of its new assessment of fair housing (AFH) process.
  • Care house design prototype
    10/29/19
    The conceptual design developed by Alexa Russo, student, working with architecture professor Edward Steinfeld. The model was built in Spring 2018 by clinical assistant instructor Stephanie Cramer’s fourteen inclusive design students.
  • Build as you Earn and Learn
    9/1/17
    Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and Clifford Amoako explore informal housing dynamics in Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Near-Term Strategies for the Northland Campus
    12/1/20
    For decades, the area around Northland Avenue suffered from divestment and abandonment, especially as many of its former manufacturing anchors succumbed to outside economic forces. Due to the adjacent Belt Line railroad, the corridor had become a strategic industrial hub able to move both people and products en masse. Once home to manufacturers such as Houdaille Industries, Otis Elevator Company, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Northland Rubber Company, and Niagara Machine & Tool Works (later Clearing Niagara), the products that left the loading docks went on to forge modern America. A blue-collar workforce, building aircraft engines, plunger elevators, and automobile parts, established residency near their employers starting around the turn of the 20th Century. Over time, this pattern of settlement formed the Delavan Grider neighborhood we know today.
  • Just Below the Line
    7/20/10
    With his co-authors, professor of architecture Korydon Smith shows how the housing industry can be reworked to better serve the needs of the elderly and of persons with disabilities.
  • Inclusive Housing
    7/20/10
    Professor of architecture Edward Steinfeld and senior research specialist at the IDeA Center Jonathan White's book focuses on housing that provides access to people with disabilities while benefiting all residents and that incorporates inclusive design practices into neighborhood and housing designs without compromising other important design goals.
  • Health hostel design prototype
    10/29/19
    Health Hostel provides temporary housing for those that may have just finished medical treatment of some sort or just need help navigating daily life activities.
Strategy Document: UB Affordable Housing Initiative

Learn more about the global and national challenge of affordable housing and how we will address it through the UB Affordable Housing Initiative

 

Donald Capoccia: Founding Supporter of UB's Affordable Housing Initiative

Donald Capoccia shows students his Essex Crossing mixed-use and affordable housing development in New York City.

Donald Capoccia shows students his Essex Crossing mixed-use and affordable housing development in New York City.

A developer with more than 30 years in New York City's affordable housing market, Donald Capoccia is an inspired community-builder. A 1978 graduate of UB, he came to the school with an interest in supporting hands-on research to develop new models for high-quality affordable housing. We thank Don for his vision and leadership of a program that will enrich the learning experience for our students, rethink affordable housing, and improve communities. 

Thank you to the following generous supporters of UB's Affordable Housing Initiative:

Don Capoccia  ’78 | Tim Dempsey ’94 | Franklin Dickinson ’85 | Scott Lesh ’95 | Alex Morris ’91, ’94 | Cannon Heyman & Weiss | LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton | Anonymous