New Worker Housing: North Main Street – Architecture Critic Morgan

New Worker Housing: North Main Street – Architecture Critic Morgan

Saturday, July 9, 2022

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Sheridan Small Homes in Olneyville, BriggsKnowles A + D. Affordable housing designed for undeveloped microlots.Photo: Morgan

Providence’s housing crisis is nothing new, but it has reached a crisis. But it’s a better time to ask how the City of Providence will deal with this issue, rather than the year of the election. By undertaking an affordable shelter for the public and combining market power, government power, and responsible design into a smart, innovative yet actionable solution, it’s time for Creative Capital’s Monica. rice field. Start by working on a new home on North Main Street.

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The 195 Commission clearly shows how to not develop innovative districts, let alone provide real housing. The Foehn Tower is not the answer to affordable homes and luxury condominiums, not to mention the surge in student tenements disguised as responsible real estate development. Wealthy people aside, Providence needs labor housing. Rhode Island has allocated $ 250 million from the US Rescue Program for Homes, but the median single-family homes here are over $ 400,000, and how far will the $ 30 million allocated for down payment support go? I’m wondering. It’s time for a bolder approach than subsidies. Want to specify a new targeted residential zone with achievable goals that could serve as a template for the rest of the city?

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Despite its sloppyness, North Main Street offers several city facilities, such as a huge park-like graveyard and 0.5 miles of a wooded boulevard.Photo: Morgan

The logical location for the city’s new home renovation is North Main Street. This is a little over a mile from Cypress Street to the Pawtucket Line and from KFC to Greggs. This is a neglected edge area screaming for development, and while certainly down on the heel, it’s close to downtown and the rest of the legendary East Side. Most of the time, rents and mortgages are near many companies and institutions, such as hospitals, clinics, universities, state governments, etc., where there are worker bees who want to live in exorbitant places, and near jobs.

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North Main on Tens Street. Further south, the trees in the middle of the street can be extended here.Photo: Morgan

North Main Street already has a lot of infrastructure to supply the influx of new residents. It is located on the bus line right next to the intercity bus station and has easy access to I-95. Already there are a variety of small businesses, not to mention the 110-acre public graveyards that serve as Dunkin Donuts, refueling stations, restaurants, drug stores, health clubs, clinics, liquor stores, churches, and the lungs of the city. There is a wooden boardwalk half the distance and an open view to the west.

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South of LA Fitness, this parking lot has hundreds of clustered apartments and dozens of detached homes grouped into small villages.Photo: Morgan

The abundance of vacant lots in North Main and the low cost of demolition can make its sowing very advantageous. There may be a patchwork of ownership, but certainly vacant lot owners are waiting for their fate to change, hoping for productive use of vacant lots and fallows. How expensive are these currently abandoned spots? Perhaps paying taxes on such unproductive emptiness may consider donating their land to the city.

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There are many on North Main Street and Frost Street. How does this open space contribute to tax rolls and the charm of the city?Photo: Morgan

Without the complexity of operating in a historic district, much of the North Mainland provides a blank slate for building various housing plans. Behind the Pep Boys, architect Jack Ryan’s handsome new Matilda Overlook Apartment Complex is an excellent first entrance to the rejuvenated North Main Street. Whether it’s an apartment, a four-family home, a single-family home, or a combination thereof, we must come up with a way to provide a living space in the face of difficult building costs. It’s easy for builders and developers to understand the appeal of multi-million dollar single-family homes. But there is money to make by building hundreds or thousands of replicable, modular, or prefabricated units. In May, President Biden ordered a federal mortgage lender to support two-unit and four-unit structures and ancillary units.

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Matilda Overlook, Jack Ryan Architect. An apartment in an ideal location for workers in a nearby clinic.Photo: Morgan

The North Main vacant lot offers the opportunity for all kinds of configurations, from microhouses to cottages, row houses, clusters, and occasionally tall blocks, along with the dismantling of parts of the city’s goup (in the sense of isolation of the design). Not community consciousness). As well as the recreation of Triple Decker, the ideal workforce home, you can welcome Elon Musk’s Boxable Home, a fully furnished, manufactured steel gag that can be installed in one day for $ 49,500. ..

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Hillside Center for Sustainable Living in Newburyport, Massachusetts. 48 affordable self-supporting homes and 2 acres of gardens. The best model for infilling North Main Street.Photo: Morgan

Call it whatever you like, whether it’s the North Main Enterprise Zone, a new workforce, or what Providence offers. But this one-mile home offers a special opportunity for Providence. And now is the time for the governor, mayor, and legislative candidates to devote themselves to such efforts.

GoLocal’s architecture critic, Morgan, has a bachelor’s degree in Dartmouth and two graduate schools in Colombia. He has taught in Princeton and Brown. He likes to remind people that the Ivy League is just a college athletic meet.

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