Shane Hess O'Neil collective works c. 2006 – 2014

HIGH-PERFORMANCE, HIGH-DENSITY, HIGH AMBITION: Housing for the Salem Housing Authority

(Aug. 2011; University of Oregon School of Architecture & Sustainable Cities Initiative)


Advanced architectural studio’s design recommendations and proposals for the City of Salem’s Housing Authority. Establishes the analytical and conceptual framework that underlies that studio’s approach to the design of housing, centered on the creation of real value in low-income housing through resilient building design, passive design strategies, high-performance building, and integrating local food-production networks into low-income housing.


Market-oriented housing policy is essentially the status quo in the United States. Driven by private development interests, the housing market caters to the economically empowered and inherently excludes those living with minimal means. In Salem, 26% of owner-occupied households and 42% of renter occupied
households pay more than 35% of their income toward housing (Parker and Goodman 2011). The recent housing market crash evidenced the volatility of such exclusionary market policies and highlighted a need for low income housing. In many parts of the country, Salem in particular, population growth threatens to exacerbate the need for low-income housing in an already stressed public housing infrastructure. Within the Salem-Keizer Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), a population increase of 66,000 new residents (27.4% of the current population) is estimated in the next 20 years (Parker and Goodman 2011). In order for the Salem Housing Authority (SHA) to keep pace with current demands for low-income housing in the face of population growth alone – it currently serves 9,372 individuals as of January 2011 (SHA 2011a) at an average occupancy rate of 98% (SHA 2011b) – it can anticipate housing an additional 2,570 residents…

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