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Thoughts on Incremental Infill: How to Get More of What We Love

Recently, we have had the pleasure of presenting at a number of forums including the annual GPA conference, a ULI/CNU Small Summit, and the MicroLife Institute’s Innovative Housing Summit. We have used these great opportunities to dig into some concepts we’ve been contemplating for a long time, focusing specifically on the need for more housing in our most beloved communities. We believe that focusing incremental changes in certain neighborhoods—places with existing infrastructure and good bones—can have a tremendous impact on housing choice, diversity, and affordability. However, implementation will require overcoming some long-standing obstacles including outdated codes and ordinances, and unfounded fears and misconceptions. We’ve included a range of policy recommendations that are Atlanta-focused, but will be useful to most communities—large and small.

At the Innovative Housing Summit, the audience was asked a question that seemed simple yet is complex in-practice: what is innovative housing? Well, we at KW believe that innovative housing is housing that is allowed to evolve with a community’s needs. In Atlanta, the problem is simple: we need more housing. So innovative solutions mean finding creative ways to provide more housing in a low-density city that prides itself on preserving neighborhood character. This means changes to our policies to allow duplexes, ADUs, tiny houses, and the many other excellent examples of small-scale residential infill to be built in our older, walkable, accessible neighborhoods—neighborhoods where if you look closely, historic examples of these housing types are likely to already exist. If you believe in an equitable Atlanta and want to see a future that includes everyone, you should join us in advocating for these incremental changes in our communities.

We are far from done exploring these ideas, so stay tuned for more information in the coming months!


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