Making a Big Impact with Micro-Units

Friday, March 22, 2013 — 10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Making a Big Impact with Micro-Units
Micro-units are the talk of the town. This session will explore the micro-unit trend taking hold in major cities across the United States. Speakers will highlight the economic and demographic changes that have led to the rise of smaller units as well as current challenges and opportunities for developing micro-unit projects.

Watch the Session
Below is a YouTube playlist of six short videos recorded during the session. Watch all six videos or advance using the Playlist feature.

Speaker Biographies and Presentations

Mark L. Hinshaw, LMN Architects (moderator) 

Mark Hinshaw is the director of urban design for LMN Architects, a 110-person firm based in Seattle. For more than 25 years, he has been responsible for a wide range of projects in large cities, suburban centers, and small towns including downtown development, public spaces and pedestrian facilities, design-oriented codes and guidelines, and master plans for public facilities. Hinshaw has served as president of the Washington chapter of the American Planning Association and as president of the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In addition, he has served on the national board of directors for the American Institute of Certified Planners.

From 1982 to 1990, Hinshaw was principal urban designer for the city of Bellevue, Washington, helping guide its transformation from a nondescript collection of strip centers to an intense, mixed-use, transit-oriented urban center. A Seattle resident, he has served on the Seattle Design Commission, which reviews all public projects, and chaired the Downtown Design Review Board, which reviews private development in the core area of the city. Hinshaw has also served on the Mayor’s Housing Levy Oversight Committee, which monitors the use of funds from a voter-approved low-income housing tax. And he served on the board of directors for the Seattle Housing Resources Group (now HRG Seattle), which has developed more than 2,000 units of below-market-rate housing within and near downtown Seattle.

Hinshaw lectures widely on the subject of urban design at conferences and workshops. He has written for a number of professional design journals, including Landscape Architecture, Places, Planning, and Architecture. And between 1992 and 2004, Hinshaw wrote a regular column on architecture and urban design for the Seattle Times. Several years ago, he wrote the Planning Advisory Service report titled Design Review, which is still the only manual available to local governments on the subject. Hinshaw has written two books: Citistate Seattle: Shaping a Modern Metropolis (1999) and True Urbanism: Living In and Near the Center, which was just recently released.

Kaye Matheny, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Kaye Matheny serves as the chief of staff and deputy commissioner for strategy and operations at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). In this capacity, Matheny oversees the agency’s divisions of strategic planning, technology, and administration and works closely with the commissioner to define and implement key housing policies and priorities for the Bloomberg administration, most recently taking the lead in coordinating the HPD’s response to Hurricane Sandy. She also served as a key member of the mayor’s adAPT team, which conceived and launched the initiative to build New York City’s first microunit building and which continues to explore other housing models to better serve the city’s evolving demographics.

Matheny has been at the HPD since September 2007. Before that, she served as the assistant commissioner for strategic planning, during which time she helped to rewrite the ten-year New Housing Marketplace Plan to ensure that the HPD could continue to meet its 165,000-unit target and maintain the stability of families and neighborhoods during the housing market downturn. Prior to joining the HPD, she was a management consultant for ten years, helping companies shape large-scale business and technology strategies.

Matheny received a BA with honors in international relations and political science from the Ohio State University, and a master’s of urban planning from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.

Robert Pantley, Natural and Built Environments LLC
Robert Pantley began his career in building as a young adult and has been in real estate for more than 30 years. He has since grown his firm into a front-runner in green building, becoming the east side’s most sustainable building company. His commitment to building sustainably began in the early 1990s with an Audobon Society wetland restoration project as well as a complete construction recycle program for his projects.

Pantley leads his company—Natural and Built Environments LLC—as one of the few builders who has thrived during this most difficult recession. Innovation and creativity complement his commitment to affordable sustainability. Currently, the company holds three of the five LEED Platinum certifications issued on the east side. The firm’s projects include solar hydronic heat, green roofs, solar photovoltaics, air-tight buildings, and affordable housing. Projects range from single-family homes and townhouse communities to affordable minisuite properties.

Tudor Manor, a 61-unit minisuite community in downtown Redmond, Washington, received the 2012 Governor’s Smart Communities Award and a LEED Platinum certification. He also certified the first LEED Platinum for Homes building in Kirkland, Washington, in 2011, the same year Natural and Built received the Built Green Hammer Award.

Pantley served as a member of the Kirkland City Council and recently completed serving on the Redmond Code Rewrite Commission in 2011, with a focus on implementing new sustainability features.

Michael Pyatok, Pyatok Architects

Michael Pyatok has been an architect and a professor of architectural design for 45 years. Since 1984—the year Pyatok opened his own office—it has designed more than 35,000 units of affordable housing for lower-income households in the United States and abroad, and developed participatory design methods to facilitate community involvement throughout the design process. He has helped many communities plan and develop new housing, neighborhood plans, and community facilities.

In 1995, Pyatok was elected to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows in recognition of his contribution to the design of affordable housing. In 2001, Harvard appointed him its Buchsbaum Visiting Professor of Affordable Housing and Residential Architect featured him on its cover as the “Architect of the Year” in recognition of the quality he has brought to affordable housing. In 2002, Pyatok was featured in Professional Builder Magazine as one of 12 “thought leaders” of the development industry and in 2007 he was named by Builder Magazine and the National Association of Home Builders as one of the 50 most influential people in the U.S. housing industry.

In 2011, Pyatok was inducted into the Marvin Design Hall of Fame, and in 2013, the AIA awarded him its Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture in recognition of the design quality he has brought to affordable housing. He has taught housing design as a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley, Washington University, and Pennsylvania State University; and after teaching 22 years at the University of Washington, he is now professor emeritus there but continues to teach as a visiting professor at the University of Oregon.

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