The Alley Flat Initiative: Affordable and Sustainable Design

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.


 Alley Flat


The Alley Flat Initiative is a collaborative project between the Gaudalupe Neighborhood Cooperation, the Austin Community Design and Development Center, and the University of Texas Center for Sustainable DevelopmentThe initiative’s goal is to demonstrate affordable and adaptable housing types with efficient design and sustainable technologies. The alley flats are “small, detached residential units, accessed from Austin’s extensive network of underutilized alleyways.” The project began with two prototypes; one being completed in June 2008, and the other in August 2009.

In order to qualify for an alley flat unit households must:

●     Have a property that is 7,000 square feet or larger;

●     Have property conditions that are conducive to a secondary unit (for example, parking, trees, size of the main home, configuration of the lot, site setbacks, and McMansion requirements must be considered);

●     Be able to finance and insure the unit; and

●     Commit to the Austin S.M.A.R.T. Housing Program.

Qualifying residents are able to obtain a secondary unit that provides affordability options such as rental income, or alternative housing for elderly family members. In addition, the initiative revitalizes the underutilized alley spaces in Austin, and increases density in existing neighborhoods to help Austin reach its sustainability goals.The initiative is innovative in that it does not require a great deal of resources to make housing more affordable; rather it takes existing property and makes use of unoccupied space to generate supplemental income.The units are affordable due to efficient architecture design, not just inexpensive material. The program appears promising in its delivery of more affordable and sustainable housing within existing neighborhoods, which are located close to the central city and have existing infrastructure such as transportation networks.

Can you identify other opportunities for a program such as this in the Central Texas area?

To read the original post, written by Bonnie Rodd, visit Global Site Plans.


Write your comments in the box below and share on your Facebook!