AIA California Housing Policy

This document is intended to focus and support the contributions of the architectural profession in addressing California’s multidimensional housing crisis.  Our state has some of the most expensive rental and ownership housing in the country; a high cost of delivery for new housing; and many of our citizens are struggling with affordability and access to appropriate housing. As design professionals, we accept that stewardship of our communities and our environment is part of our mission. Therefore, as a policy, believe that:

  • People should have access to housing or living facilities which are safe, functional, sustainable and supportive of their activities and aspirations.
  • Investments in housing and living facilities should be made with consideration of emergency preparedness, development of sustainable long-term infrastructure, and the shaping of functional, sustainable, enriching, and supportive city making. The architectural design process can balance all dimensions of success, including equity and shared civic values.
  • Regulatory and code change must carefully consider potential unintended consequences, such as increased costs of delivering housing solutions. Architects can assist in ensuring that local context, site conditions, environmental goals, planning processes, design considerations, and construction methods are included in the formation of rules and processes so that well-intended goals and objectives can be made more efficient and cost effective while also maintaining adequate health, safety and welfare.
  • California communities must work to address the housing needs of their residents, including but not limited to affordable, supportive, missing middle, and market rate sectors. A community’s housing should include provisions for current and emerging issues such as different work modes, differing family and cohabitation needs, and those who have special needs or care. It should also address both emergency living facilities as well as permanent supportive architecture.
  • Architects often embrace collaboration and work with stakeholders in problem-solving discussions because open dialogue usually leads to the most inclusive form of functional, cost effective, climate responsive, enriching, supportive and durable solutions. The best design solutions promote effective stewardship of our environment as well as our communities.
  • The most successful housing design contributes to the enhancement of our communities in all dimensions: function, social equity, resource management, aesthetic enrichment, natural environment, health & wellness, and economic vitality. Architectural professionals are an essential part of shaping comprehensive housing solutions, especially when done in partnership with other types of housing advocates.
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