Downtown Sacramento Partnership – Downtown Housing
Since 2014 the Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP) has taken big steps to incentivize greater density of businesses and housing in the downtown area. The DSP is working on several projects to increase housing and local business development downtown. Projects include streamlining the permitting process and exploring ways to ease transportation congestion.
Since 2014 DSP has been leading a program called Calling All Dreamers – a Shark Tank-like competition that has local entrepreneurs submit business plans, and the winners receive a startup business package worth over $100,000. Many of these entrepreneurs either open a new business or expand an existing business in the downtown area.
In 2015 the Sacramento mayor announced a goal to build 10,000 new housing units in the downtown core by 2025. The City created a number of incentives to encourage this housing, including reduced fees and expedited permitting. Progress is being made on several mixed-use projects and apartment complexes.
In addition to encouraging development, the City of Sacramento is making land development easier by supporting two bills in the California legislature that will keep more money in cities that can be used to develop affordable housing in the urban core. DSP has also taken steps to improve transportation in the downtown area by expanding regional public transportation and putting in a streetcar service in downtown Sacramento that will begin construction in mid-2018.
All of Sacramento’s downtown development efforts are being touted under the brand, “Think Downtown,” which has been sharing news about Sacramento’s downtown improvements and marketing Sacramento as THE place to live in the region.
Tiny Houses in Rockledge, FL
Rockledge, FL has been identified by the American Tiny House Association as a best practice for zoning laws related to tiny house development. Residents of Rockledge wanted more affordable living options for a range of incomes and asked the City to consider developing a tiny house ordinance. In 2015, the Rockledge City Council unanimously voted to pass zoning for a tiny houses community. The zoning regulations cover aspects of the tiny home such as minimum ceiling height, sleeping space, number of homes per pocket neighborhood, and building standards. These regulations ensure that tiny homes will be as safe and comfortable as their traditional counterparts.
New Story and Icon - 3D Printed Houses
At the 2018 South by Southwest Festival, New Story, a non-profit, and Icon, a robotics construction company, unveiled the first structurally-sound 3D printed house. The houses are approximately 800 square feet and cost around $10,000. The companies hope to bring costs down to near $4,000 soon. Homes are built in under 24 hours using a custom concrete mix that is as strong as cinderblocks. New Story and Icon hope to begin testing their 3D printed homes in countries like El Salvador and Haiti in the next few years.
New Material Manufactured Homes
The rising cost of traditional construction materials is compounding affordability issues around the country. Manufactured homes can often be more affordable, but cultural and consumer preferences have made these less attractive to buyers. New materials and manufacturing process, however, are making these homes more attractive, affordable, and customizable. More Americans are being exposed to these options as cities allow them within their zoning, and they like what they see. Manufactured home communities like East Bay in Brentwood, CA are drawing in new residents because the homes are attractive and thousands of dollars less expensive than neighboring communities.