A plan to balance growth, quality housing, poverty, and construction for an entire city

PennDesign’s Vincent Reina helped Philadelphia complete its first comprehensive housing plan.

In 2018, there are as many varieties of affordable-housing crises as there are cities in America. While cities like San Francisco are facing a shortage of units at all income levels, driving the cost of housing to previously unthinkable heights, cities like Philadelphia are facing a different problem. Namely, while 14 percent of homes in the city are vacant, around 125,000 renters and homeowners are severely cost-burdened—paying more than half their income toward the rent or mortgage. 

row of houses and a vacant lot

To develop those figures, as part of its first-ever comprehensive housing strategy, the City contracted with a team of researchers that includes Vincent Reina, assistant professor of City and Regional Planning at PennDesign. Working with Claudia Aiken, a research associate at PennPraxis (the consulting and community engagement arm of PennDesign), Reina was tasked with completing much of the research and analysis for the report. Reina and Aiken also helped synthesize the work of seven committees—each focused on a specific topic, from eviction to homelessness to construction costs—and identify gaps and overlaps in the committees’ findings. 

“We were never the arbiter of what the final recommendations were going to be,” Reina says. “We were very much the people who helped frame it, do analysis, offer insight, and sometimes offer recommendations on their recommendations.” 

Read more at Penn Design News.