Key Takeaways from Housing Opportunity 2014

Breakfast of Housing Champions roundtable breakfast at the Housing Opportunity 2014.

Breakfast of Housing Champions roundtable breakfast at the Housing Opportunity 2014.

Bridging the Gap Between Health and Sustainability

Increasingly, health and wellness resonates with both residents and communities. Housing leaders discussed this topic and shared best practices during “Breakfast of Housing Champions,” a featured event of the Terwilliger Center’s Housing Opportunity 2014: Healthy Housing, Healthy Places conference in Denver last month.

This year, ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing invited colleagues from across the country to explore the critical intersection between housing and health during the Housing Opportunity 2014 conference in Denver, CO, May 14-16, 2014. Attendees learned about changing demographics, intergenerational communities, aging in place, and how incorporating health can help meet the bottom line. Housing Opportunity 2014 revealed the challenges, opportunities and best practices for supporting healthy housing in healthy places.

During the May 16th breakfast, ULI Housing Awards recipients and housing leaders highlighted solutions and identified barriers for creating and sustaining healthy housing and places. Susan Powers of Urban Ventures, LLC, and 2010 Kemp Award winner and Terwilliger Center National Advisory Board Member moderated the event. Each table featured a housing leaders who facilitated a lively round table discussion.

Table facilitators included:

  • James Alexander, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (2013 Kemp Award Finalist)
  • Hal Ferris, Spectrum Development Solutions (Terwilliger Center National Advisory Board Member)
  • Commissioner Paul Graziano, Baltimore Housing (2013 Larson Award Winner)
  • Deputy Undersecretary Arthur Jemison, Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (2013 Larson Award Winner)
  • Emma Littlejohn, The Littlejohn Group, LLC
  • Anna Ricklin, American Planning Association
  • Jeremy Sharpe, Rancho Sahuarita
  • Rhoda Stauffer, Park City Municipal Corporation (2013 Larson Award Winner)
Participants shared best practices in creating and sustaining healthy houses and places.

Participants shared best practices in creating and sustaining healthy houses and places.

Attendees collaborated over key issues at the intersection of health and housing, such as the need to highlight health as a key component of the real estate development process. Breakfast attendees also discussed how healthy housing can be utilized as a broader community development strategy, through green space and walkability improvements, and health programming. Housing leaders also cited innovative funding mechanisms for healthy housing, such as the state of New York’s Medicaid redesign program, which will enable the use of federal Medicaid funds for affordable housing development.

Other key themes included:

  • Mixed use communities with healthy amenities
  • Green design and construction
  • Adaptive re-use and responsive redevelopment
  • Active community design
  • Accessing state, local, and federal funding for health services and programming
  • Forming partnerships within the health community
  • Expanding sustainability to include healthy amenities
  • Phasing healthy improvements

Breakfast attendees emphasized the importance of drawing a clearer link between health outcomes and concepts of green design and sustainability. “Health resonates with people more than sustainability,” said Hal Ferris, Terwilliger Center National Advisory Board member. “A lot of similar ideas from sustainability apply to health, but it’s about taking it to the next level.”

Interested in learning more about how to connect healthy housing and healthy places? Click here to access presentations, videos and more from Housing Opportunity 2014: Healthy Housing, Healthy Places.

Access Housing Opportunity 2014 Resources