Some Aim To Improve Quality Of Living In Affordable Urban Housing

by Doug Pitorak


This six-unit affordable urban housing complex on S. Ashland Ave. in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood represents a movement to make such housing an attractive place to live. Photo Credit The Resurrection Project.

A newly constructed, six-unit affordable urban housing complex on S. Ashland Ave. in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood is symbolic of an increased effort to make such housing not only cost-effective, but appealing to live in.

A recent news release from CalStar, a company that supplies environmentally-sustainable building materials, noted the different components that make the building attractive.

The exterior has brick, vertical bumpouts, giving the building some character historically deprived from affordable urban housing. An abundance of large windows – in the units and stairwells – allows natural light to beam into the building. Wide hallways and easy access to the outdoors and to bathrooms are welcome additions to the building, as well.

The building features efficient furnaces, insulated walls, double pane windows and a reflective roof. Furthermore, CalStar provided bricks that aren’t used with traditional clay and yield a carbon footprint that is 84 percent below the impact of typical products. The bricks are created locally and their production uses 81 percent less energy, the release said. The vinyl flooring, provided by Elevation, is comprised of 67 percent recycled material and can be implemented without any adhesive.

Adhering to the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the complex was set to be renovated by The Resurrection Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit that performs this and other community services. A fire in a neighboring building spread into the unoccupied complex, which forced The Resurrection Project and the architects at DesignBridge Ltd. to start from scratch.

The finished product shows that wasn’t such a bad thing.

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