Connecting to Opportunity speakers explore how a light-rail car can carry all kinds of people to more prosperity
Some alternatives to traditional housing that might require rule changes were highlighted by French of Rising Barn and Jonathan Coppage, a researcher in urbanism with the R Street Institute and a former editor at American Conservative.
Coppage says governments should help existing homeowners build garage apartments, divide their homes into duplexes or add granny flats. Once Portland started waiving permit fees for these types of construction, the Oregon city added 1,000 more affordable units to its housing stock.
“Unlike almost every other mode of development, ADUs are not primarily put up by big developers,” Coppage said. “Very often they are built by homeowners, by the people with a stake in their community. It’s an investment people are making in their own neighborhoods.”
French’s company has built communities of small, sustainable and affordable homes and used some as small as 200 square feet to infill existing neighborhoods.
“Chapel Hill is 95 percent built up,” he said. “Think about what that means.”
His well-built, movable homes often sit on a slab in a backyard, so no new streets or other such infrastructure is required.
“This is the Research Triangle,” he said. “You have a robust startup community. Find a way to engage people to be part of the solution. There is a lot of opportunity there.”