Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Lance Neckar

Reader 2

Paul Faulstich

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Rights Information

© 2013 Micaela R. Danko

Abstract

While environmental and economic sustainability have been driving factors in the movement towards a more resilient built environment, social sustainability is a factor that has received significantly less attention over the years. Federal support for low-income housing has fallen drastically, and the deficit of available, adequate, affordable homes continues to grow. In this thesis, I explore one way that architects can design affordable housing that is intrinsically sustainable. In the past, subsidized low-income housing has been built as if to provide a short-term solution—as if poverty and lack of affordable housing is a short-term problem. However, I argue that adaptable architecture is essential for the design of affordable housing that is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Further, architects must balance affordability, durability, and adaptability to design sustainable solutions that are resistant to obsolescence. I conclude by applying principles and processes of adaptability in the design of Apto Ontario, an adaptable affordable housing development in the low-income historic downtown of Ontario, California (Greater Los Angeles). Along a new Bus Rapid Transit corridor, Apto Ontario would create a diverse, resilient, socially sustainable community in an area threatened by the rise of housing costs.