Urban Studies Annual Forum

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2020 Urban Studies Forum:
Attainable Housing and the Future of Prosperity and Inclusion in Pierce County

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

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Access to attainable housing is a perennial challenge in American urban planning and policy. The ever-climbing housing costs in most metropolitan areas have far exceeded incomes, and every generation finds itself further distanced from the "American Dream." Cities that once produced the middle class have turned into consumers of the middle class, attracting only those that can afford their "lifestyles."

Over the last decade, median housing-sale prices have more than doubled, while incomes have barely kept up with inflation. The increase in home values has affected the rental market as well, putting certain neighborhoods and cities out of reach. The result is seen during every morning and afternoon rush hour. More than half of the households in Pierce County are cost-burdened, meaning that they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing. Nearly a quarter are also severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing. The "positive" direction of the county housing market, making it one of the hottest in the nation, creates additional worry about the future of housing for working families.

It is time for the region to formulate strategies and policies that prevent displacement and makes this region a producer and not a consumer of the middle class. Furthermore, given the historical and current data on the impact of housing costs and the resulting displacement on communities of color and their neighborhoods, housing policies need to fully consider social and spatial equity issues in our region.

This year’s annual forum will bring experts from around the nation to discuss various housing policies, their implementation, and patterns of success and failure. This will include both housing experts and regional decisionmakers. A panel of local policymakers will then present their approaches and strategies, while considering the wide array of presentations preceding them.


Sponsored by:

                

                                                                

AHBL

City of Tacoma

Conversations Regarding Tacoma

Downtown on the Go

DP&C

MultiCare

SMR Architects

Tacoma-Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium

 

Registration 8:15 - 8:45 a.m.

8:15-8:45am

Continental Breakfast Available 

Welcome 8:45 - 9:00 a.m.

8:45-9am

Session 1:  KEYNOTE - Moving from Out of Reach to Attainable    9:00 - 9:30 a.m.

9-9:30am

Janet Smith,  Professor of Urban Planning and Policy and Co-Director of The Nathalie P Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois Chicago

In the 1990s, we had an affordable housing crisis. As it has continued, we now have a chronic problem in many parts of the US. Solutions require understanding and addressing the structural conditions that perpetuate this problem including growing income inequality, housing costs outpacing wage increases, and a more precarious workforce.   

Q&A 9:30 - 9 :50 a.m.

9:30-9:50 am

A Message From Congressman  Derek Kilmer  9:50 - 9:55 a.m.

9:50-9:55am

Session 2: Local Housing Affordability Initiatives  9:55 - 10:30 a.m.

9:55-10:30am

Victoria Woodards, Mayor of Tacoma

Nancy Backus, Mayor of Auburn 

Bruce Dammeier, Pierce County Executive 

Led by moderator Megan Sukys

Break  10:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.

10:30-10:40 am

Session 3: Learning From Others: Denver and Westminster, CO 10:40 - 11:30 a.m.

10:40-11:30am

Laura Brundzynski: Deputy Director of Operations for the new Department of Housing Stability in the City and County of Denver

Population growth and a strong economy have contributed to rising housing costs in Denver, Colorado and throughout the Metro Area, contributing to housing instability for residents at low and middle income levels. Denver has taken bold steps to address its housing crisis and serve residents experiencing homelessness, including developing a new standalone department that brings together resources across the housing continuum in the new Department of Housing Stability, dedicating more than $70M annually toward housing and homelessness with an additional $130M surge in bond funds over the next five years, and to pursue innovative policy solutions that complement the city and its partners’ investments.

Analiese Hock: Principal City Planner with the City and County of Denver

In 2018, Denver adopted a new incentive zoning approach in the neighborhood around the 38th and Blake RTD light-rail station. This system was intended to direct growth around transit by allowing buildings to be taller in exchange for including more affordable units in those buildings. Since then Denver has been working to evaluate this incentive system to identify lessons learned and the ability to scale this program city-wide to create more equitable development.

Jenni Grafton: Housing and Transit Oriented Development Manager in the Department of Economic Development for the City of Westminster, Colorado

Divided across two counties, Westminster is a first-ring suburb and located on a technology corridor between Denver and Boulder, serving a balance of housing needs driven by a larger regional economy. The opportunities, constraints, and the tools and resources used in this context are somewhat different from a central city, and this presentation will focus on the relevant best practices in this setting, successes, and lessons learned.

Q&A 11:30 - 12:00 p.m.

11:30-12pm

Lunch  12:00 p.m. - 12:20 p.m.

12-12:20pm

Session 4: Learning From Others: Minneapolis, MN 12:20 - 12:40p.m.

12:20-12:40 pm

Andrea Inouye: Director of Strategic Partnerships – Affordable Housing in the Office of Mayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis

Minneapolis 2040 envisions that all Minneapolis residents will be able to afford and access quality housing throughout the City. This presentation will highlight the housing goals of Minneapolis 2040 and how the City of Minneapolis is implementing those goals through zoning reform and investment in affordable housing programs.

Q&A 12:40 - 1:00 p.m.

1-1:15pm

Session 5: Table Conversation  and Audience Input 1:00 - 1:20 p.m.

1:00-1:20pm

Led by moderator Megan Sukys

Closing 1:20 - 1:30 p.m.

1:20-1:30pm

Ali Modarres, Director of Urban Studies

About the Keynote Speaker

Dr. Janet Smith, University of Illinois Chicago

Professor of Urban Planning and Policy and Co-Director of The Nathalie P Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement

Janet Smith is Professor of Urban Planning and Policy and Co-Director of The Nathalie P Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at UIC. For the past 30 years, Janet’s teaching, research and community service has focused on community development, with an emphasis on community driven strategies to produce and preserve affordable housing and to improve neighborhood level conditions. Path breaking research through the Voorhees Center includes a rental market study that launched a regional dialogue on affordable housing, a study that empirically showed the impact raising minimum wage would have on housing affordability and employment, development of a gentrification index and community toolkit to aid in development without displacement, and spatial analysis of growing income inequality over time in the Chicago region.  Janet was a member of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s housing transition team and advisor to many non-profit and affordable housing advocates. Books include Where are Poor People to Live? Transforming Public Housing Communities (M.E. Sharpe, 2006) co-edited and written with Larry Bennett and Patricia Wright, and with John Betancur, Claiming Neighborhoods (University of Illinois Press, 2016), which looks at neighborhood change in relation to capital accumulation and creative destruction.

About the Panelists 

Laura Brundzynski

Deputy Director of Operations for the new Department of Housing Stability in the City and County of Denver

 

Laura Brudzynski currently serves as the Deputy Director of Operations for the new Department of Housing Stability in the City and County of Denver. Laura helped to launch the new Department of Housing Stability, which represents a new and innovative city department that invests resources, creates policy, and partners with organizations to keep people in the homes they already live in, to quickly resolve an experience of homelessness, and to connect people with affordable housing opportunities. In her capacity as Deputy Director of Operations, Laura oversees strategic planning, communications, policy, finance, and operations along the housing continuum. Prior to her role with the Department of Housing Stability, Laura served as the Director of Housing Policy and Programs with Denver Economic Development and Opportunity and worked for Denver’s City Council as a legislative aide coordinating policy research and development. Laura has Masters Degrees in Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado.

Jenni Grafton

Housing and Transit Oriented Development Manager
in the Department of Economic Development for the City of Westminster, Colorado

Jenni Grafton, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP-ND, serves as the Housing & Transit Oriented Development Manager in the Department of Economic Development for the City of Westminster, Colorado, where her primary focus is on redevelopment efforts in the Westminster Station TOD neighborhood and coordinating the citywide affordable housing policy implementation and strategic development initiatives.  Her expertise includes strategic planning, project management, public policy development, sustainability practices, and urban infill projects. For the past 18 years, she has worked across the spectrum of urban design and land development in the non-profit sector, local government and in universities, including serving as the design project manager for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, a planner for the City of Commerce City, and teaching in design programs at Iowa State University, University of Colorado, and the University of Hawaii.

 

Ms. Grafton holds Master’s degrees in both Architecture and Urban Design, along with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, from the University of Colorado.  She is a LEED Accredited Professional with specialization in Neighborhood Development and currently serves on the Board of Commissioners for Unison Housing Partners.  Ms. Grafton is a frequent speaker on affordable housing and TOD development and has presented nationally and internationally.

 

 

Analiese Hock

Principal City Planner with the City and County of Denver

 

Analiese Hock, AICP is a principal city planner with the City and County of Denver. She is a zoning nerd with a passion towards creating equitable communities. Her work focuses on the intersect between social sciences and land use regulations. Currently she is working on zoning systems to leverage community benefits such as affordable housing and other policies aimed at stabilizing vulnerable communities. In all of her work, Analiese takes on planning and policy through a people centered approach.

Andrea Inouye

Director of Strategic Partnerships – Affordable Housing in the Office of Mayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis

Andrea Inouye is the Director of Strategic Partnerships – Affordable Housing in the Office of Mayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis. Andrea’s role is to develop and enhance strategic partnerships that are vital to the success of the City of Minneapolis’ affordable housing goals. 

 

Andrea has 15 years of experience working in affordable housing development and policy. Prior to her current role, she was the Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development for Full Circle Communities, guiding the strategic and financial goals for affordable housing development activities across Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. Previous roles include Executive Director at the Illinois Housing Council and Housing Development Director at Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation.

 

Andrea has a Masters of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Urban Planning and Public Administration. In 2017, she was recognized as one of Affordable Housing Finance’s Young Leaders.

Local Elected Officials 

 

                               

 

Victoria Woodards

Mayor, City of Tacoma

Nancy Backus

Mayor, City of Auburn 

Bruce Dammeier

Executive, Pierce County 

Moderator 

 

Megan Sukys

Vice President, Communications for Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

Megan Sukys is Vice President, Communications for Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. In her role, she develops strategy and stories to connect Pierce County community voice to the funding, work, people, and ideas that make our community stronger. Megan also performs locally as a storyteller and emcee, produces story-centered events, and works as a consultant sharing story crafting tools and techniques with organizations and individuals. Megan developed her approach to community storytelling during her fifteen year radio career, including 12 years as a host and executive producer at KUOW-NPR Seattle. A native of North Carolina and a graduate of The University of the South – Sewanee, Megan moved to Tacoma in 1999. She lives in the North Slope neighborhood with her husband, son, daughter, and a stockpile of grits.