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Reweaving the Neighborhood Fabric:
How Modular Housing Can Build Affordable and Dignified Communities

Reweaving the Neighborhood Fabric: How Modular Housing Can Build Affordable and Dignified Communities

AIA Milwaukee ProjectThe AIA Milwaukee AIA150 initiative will bring exquisitely designed, affordable, sustainable and accessible modular infill housing to three neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha, where affordable housing is extremely scarce. Each will receive one dwelling, designed by teams of graduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Each is intended as a catalyst for future infill units in the neighborhoods, knitting them together and strengthening them as livable communities.

The new housing will include a Community Room where design and construction meetings take place for future neighborhood projects, other pro-bono architectural services, and activities to benefit the community. Part of a new nationwide community service program of the AIA titled “Blueprint for America : A Gift to the Nation,” AIA Milwaukee offers this initiative as a gift to the community. The AIA members' participation is provided at no fee.

The Blueprint for America is the primary program of AIA150, a yearlong observance in 2007 that will mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the AIA. The Blueprint program was created to offer citizens in communities across America an opportunity to celebrate their community heritage, address emerging architectural challenges and trends, and find their voices to help make their vision real for beautiful, safe and livable communities.

The AIA Milwaukee initiative strives to knit together inner-city neighborhoods by infusing creatively designed affordable housing in the blighted gaps between existing housing. Providing secure, sustainable and vibrant housing in already-established neighborhoods with existing infrastructure will revive a sense of community here. “All eyes on the street” is a phrase that speaks to housing with wide front porches and inviting facades. The initiative will feature this type of housing. Located near bus lines and family-supporting manufacturing, service and professional jobs, these dwellings will afford their residents an opportunity to realize a dignified standard of living. Walkable, pedestrian-scaled neighborhoods with parks, amenities and services nearby are achievable through the thoughtful integration of owner-occupied housing in critical mass.

2007 NCARB Award Announcement

The 2007 NCARB Prize jury honored five programs, including University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee “Reweaving the Neighborhood Fabric: How Modular Housing Can Build Affordable and Dignified Communities.” Each program will receive a $7,500 monetary award. According to the jury, “strong points are the work with modular manufacturers and firms, its willingness to take on a variety of issues including sustainability, integration into the neighborhoods and material selection, and the emphasis on the process of building particularly over a critical timeframe.”


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