Zine fo­cuses on af­ford­abil­ity

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALITY - By Paul Wei­de­man

A MAG­A­ZINE DE­LIN­EAT­ING AF­FORD­ABLE-HOUS­ING NEEDS AND OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES IN SANTA FE COUNTY was de­scribed as “prob­ing and com­pre­hen­sive” by the jury chair­man for the 2014 de­sign awards of the Amer­i­can In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects-Santa Fe. “We were not sure if this is on­go­ing or a stand-alone, and we didn’t care,” said Alan Chi­ma­coff of the Homework mag­a­zine pro­duced by a team led by Suby Bow­den + As­so­ciates. “It is es­sen­tially a road map to af­ford the cre­ation of high-qual­ity, af­ford­able ar­chi­tec­ture for hous­ing and that is a very very noble un­der­tak­ing.”

Chi­ma­coff said the study in­spires an un­der­stand­ing “that in fact af­ford­able hous­ing doesn’t have to be cheap and bad but in fact it can con­trib­ute ur­ban­is­ti­cally to the qual­ity of the ar­chi­tec­ture of the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Bow­den said the doc­u­ment was born out of a 2006 Santa Fe County re­quest for pro­pos­als to study sites and pick one as an in­vest­ment tar­get for af­ford­able-hous­ing funds from the U.S. Depart­ment of Hous­ing & Ur­ban Devel­op­ment. “We re­sponded and in our in­ter­views we learned that the county has no hous­ing-needs as­sess­ment. That was the first thing we did.”

The as­sess­ment was based on sur­veys done by RRCAs­so­ci­ates, Den­ver. Then Bow­den did a chart that looked at own­er­ship and rentals, as well as spe­cial pop­u­la­tions in­clud­ing the pue­b­los and the home­less. “What was a huge dis­cov­ery was that the HUD re­quire­ments you have to fol­low for fi­nanc­ing and that both the city and county had re­quired­was for 3- and 4-bed­room homes, but over 60 per­cent of the peo­ple in Santa Fe County are in a one-bed­room sit­u­a­tion: it’s just one or two peo­ple. So the county’s af­ford­able-hous­ing pro­gram shifted in what types of de­vel­op­ments they would en­cour­age and re­quire, as well as work­ing up to a dia­logue with HUD that the re­quire­ments should match lo­cal needs, not needs de­fined in­Wash­ing­ton, D.C.”

Af­ter in­ter­views with more than 200 peo­ple, the firm stud­ied 58 sites and as­sessed them for ap­pro­pri­ate­ness on a ma­trix of fac­tors in­clud­ing size, schools, zon­ing types, in­fra­struc­ture, prox­im­ity to trans­porta­tion, and wa­ter avail­abil­ity. They pri­or­i­tized four sites: the county’s for­mer PublicWorks Depart­ment site on Gal­is­teo Road; a site in Agua Fria Vil­lage that be­longed to Olivia Tsosie, whowas will­ing to do­nate it to the county; the large San Cris­to­bal site on N.M. 14 that is owned by the State Land Of­fice; and Ran­cho Viejo— Bow­den said Ike Pino, who was man­ag­ing the devel­op­ment at that time, loved the idea of a se­nior hous­ing project on the Ran­cho Viejo plaza. Bow­den’s team took the Gal­is­teo site, ran it through the ma­trix, and de­vel­oped a 120-unit, mixed-in­come, mixed own­er­ship (own­ers/renters) hous­ing project. She re­al­ized they needed to cre­ate a mag­a­zine to make all the in­for­ma­tion they had as­sem­bled ac­ces­si­ble.

In the mag­a­zine’s in­tro­duc­tory ar­ti­cle, writer Zane Fischer states that home prices in the county had es­ca­lated out of pro­por­tion with wage in­creases. “This mag­a­zine,” he writes, “is ded­i­cated to help­ing res­i­dents of Santa Fe County find and af­ford their own safe haven. (It) lays out a set of prin­ci­ples to guide hous­ing strat­egy, in­clud­ing the tenet that ‘the en­tire com­mu­nity in­clud­ing res­i­dents, busi­nesses and gov­ern­ment have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to work to­gether to ad­dress hous­ing needs.”

Among the book’s seven es­says are pieces by Dodie Salazar, who grew up in­mo­bile homes and at the time of the study headed the Santa Fe County Hous­ing Author­ity; Ed Rosen­thal of En­ter­prise Com­mu­nity Part­ners New Mex­ico; and Tim Vigil, who spent eight years build­ing his house with his fam­ily.

The ju­rors for the award praised the graph­ics and strong head­ings, among them E=MC2 for “An Af­ford­able House”, Neigh­bor­hoods, Re­duc­ing Land Costs, and In­no­va­tive De­sign. The lat­ter chap­ter of­fers ef­fi­cient and cool-look­ing af­ford­able-house types by Aaron Bohrer, Vahid Mo­jarrab, Lorn Tryk, and sev­eral other ar­chi­tects. The mag­a­zine closes with a com­mu­nity di­rec­tory of the scores of lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions of­fer­ing hous­ing as­sis­tance and coun­sel­ing.

Homework: A User’s Guide to Hous­ing Af­ford­abil­ity in Santa Fe County came out in late 2008, just as the na­tional econ­omy was crash­ing and no­body could get a loan. “I re­cently metwith Santa Fe County on this and they still think the econ­omy is not sta­ble enough to get the loans they need,” Bow­den said in De­cem­ber. “I was re­cently ap­proached by St. El­iz­a­beth Shel­ter and I in­tro­duced them to this pack­age and said there are still some ma­jor de­vel­op­ments here that could help the home­less. There are 13,000 home­less vet­er­ans in North­ern New Mex­ico.”

Bow­den said about 40,000 peo­ple in the county have re­ceived copies of Homework. “We keep dis­tribut­ing th­ese mag­a­zines, to just keep re­mind­ing peo­ple there are things you can do.”

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