A design competition inspired new thinking about how to provide more affordable housing in markets that are built out and facing more demand, like New York City and Barcelona. Designers came up with ideas, like the winning idea below outlined by SmartCitiesWorld, that can be executed in an efficient, effective way.

A proposal for ‘densifying’ cities by making the most of the vacant spaces in cities has won the international BCN-NYC Affordable Housing Challenge.

The competition is organised by the i.lab programme of the Commissioner for Technology and Digital Innovation, the Barcelona City Councillor’s Office for Housing and Renovation and New York City Council.

Winning collaboration

The goal pursued and shared by New York City and Barcelona in proposing this challenge is to find innovative solutions, tools and technologies that can cut the time and costs involved in building and renovating in dense urban areas, to make housing more affordable for everyone.

The winning proposal is the brainchild of a collaboration between Columbia National University’s “construction system for affordable housing” project and Straddle 3 Barcelona’s “innovation for social inclusion” project.

It involves renovating existing buildings and new constructions without affecting the site by means of new, economical building techniques that are light, adaptable and quick to install.

This construction idea also allows housing to be built suspended in the air with fewer ground supports and is even suitable for renovating rundown or underused parts of the city, such as motorways, ports and transport stations.

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