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Providing home through affordable infill in historic districts

Directed by Jo Leimenstoll, 122 pp.


Across the country, vacant lots in historic districts receive infill housing, and affordable infill housing recently emerged as a viable way to provide more affordable living solutions and bring new life to historic neighborhoods. Taking advantage of this positive trend, I analyzed seven case studies of affordable infill housing in historic districts to mine commonalities among these houses. The analysis of the design of both exterior and interior of these house led to the creation of supplemental guidelines for designing both compatible and affordable infill housing in historic districts. Specifically, I considered the following exterior and interior elements of each infill house: site and site features, form, height, proportion of street façade, window proportions and form, roof form, foundation, front entrance, porch, exterior materials, trim, square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, number of closets, a washer and dryer, work space, and overall layout. The examination of these criteria led to the realization of several patterns contributing to the compatibility and affordability of these houses. Most prominently, all seven houses enclose less than 1,205 square feet and sit on small lots; these two ubiquitous characteristics provide the main methods of achieving affordability within this sample. Additional commonalities surfaced that contribute to affordability in addition to the sustainability and communality of these houses. This investigation expands on the positive trend of affordable infill in historic districts and accounts for the end users of affordable housing through the provision of parameters for designing affordable infill with compatible exteriors and contemporary interiors.

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