The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) partnered with the City of Madison’s public housing agency for an annual student housing innovation competition, the agency announced Tuesday.
The Affordable Housing (IAH) Student Design and Planning Competition, funded by HUD, features teams of university graduate students studying architecture, finance, and planning and policy who must respond to a current issue related to affordable housing design and planning. The team must create a design that meets the partner organization’s criteria while taking into account financial, social and environmental considerations.
This year, teams will be competing to design mixed-income housing on a 7-acre plot owned by the City of Madison Community Development Authority (CDA). The agency currently owns a 169-unit public housing unit on the site it is looking to demolish and replace with new housing developments.
Madison District 8 Ald. MGR Govindarajan told The Daily Cardinal HUD’s decision to partner with Madison is significant due to the city’s rapid population growth and rising housing prices.
“Madison is the one city in the country that is most in need of affordable housing,” Govindarajan said in an email.
According to the department’s statement, Madison CDA’s goal is to create “a moderately dense and sustainable mixed-income community that includes affordable and workforce housing.” The agency is looking to build both houses and multi-family units on the site that also serve to connect the site with the surrounding neighborhoods.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement Tuesday the competition will provide new affordable housing units while inspiring students to take action to address affordable housing issues.
“Today’s students are more creative than ever,” Fudge said. “Through this competition, we’re channeling their ingenuity to build quality, safe and resilient affordable housing for millions of Wisconsin families. I’m pleased by my team’s commitment to innovative new ways to advance housing for those we serve.”
Teams must submit their initial applications by January 2024. A panel of five industry experts will nominate four finalist teams to advance to the second round of the competition, where they will visit the site and make revisions to their designs.
The winning team will win a $20,000 award. The runner-up team will win $10,000 and the remaining finalist teams will win $5,000.
Govindarajan said he hopes University of Wisconsin-Madison students will participate in the competition.
“I'm especially happy with Madison being chosen because it gives our students a chance to put their lived experiences into real action and make real change,” he said. “We all know that students will be the change of the future, and that kind of change begins with opportunities such as this.”
Francesca Pica is the city news editor emeritus for The Daily Cardinal. She has covered multiple municipal elections and is a leading reporter on Madison labor issues. Additionally, she served as a summer intern for The Capital Times and currently serves as a WisPolitics intern.