“H.U.D., Sweat, and Tears” team is runner-up in affordable housing competition

A rendering,

"Xeriscaped Green Corridor" rendering from the proposal "H.U.D., Sweat, and Tears"

Harvard Graduate School of Design student Avanti Krovi (MUP ’21) and teammates from the University of Michigan are the runners-up in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2021 Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition.

HUD’s annual competition, now in its eighth year, is designed to practice and promote the “design and production of livable and sustainable housing for low- and moderate-income people.” It encourages research and innovation in affordable housing, raises future practitioner capacity, and fosters teamwork in the design process. According to the project brief, “multi-disciplinary teams comprised of graduate students in architecture, planning and policy, finance and other areas” are asked to “address social, economic, and environmental issues in responding to a specific housing problem developed by an actual public housing agency.”

This year, the competition focused on the rural community of Firebaugh, California. Krovi worked with University of Michigan graduate students Andrew Darvin, Katie Wheeler, Christopher Prinsen, and Alex Sulek on “H.U.D., Sweat, and Tears.” The proposal offers ways to physically connect five existing affordable and public housing sites owned by Fresno Housing that serve low-income families, seniors, and farmworkers. Their goal is to create a fluid, walkable community—”boosting resident engagement and positively impacting the quality of life, housing, and community.”

During the final presentations and announcement of the winners, Jenn Jones, chief of staff for HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, encouraged the participating students to maintain their enthusiasm and noted: “We need your ideas, innovation, and energy to help meet the significant challenges we face with regard to housing affordability in the United States.”

Learn more about the 2021 HUD competition winning proposals.