With housing costs in many urban areas spiraling out of control—especially in such popular cities as Portland, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco—young college-educated professionals, among others, find themselves unable to find affordable housing in cities where they would like to live. While Lincoln currently is not experiencing this phenomenon as dramatically as other cities, local planners and decision makers are beginning to see warning signs that a shortage of affordable housing could become a growing issue in Lincoln.
Twelve graduate planning students in the CRPL 990 Planning Studio this semester are working with the City of Lincoln Urban Development Department and the Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Department on a research project that aims to identify possible programs and policies that would encourage or ensure affordable housing availability in the city.
Many cities in the United States have adopted affordable housing plans and have implemented creative programs and policies to address the problem of housing affordability. Students in the studio are employing a case study method to learn about and evaluate various programs and policies that have been used in other cities, many comparable to Lincoln, with an eye toward possible implementation of similar programs and policies in Lincoln.
Principal liaison for this project from the City of Lincoln is Wynn Hjermstad, AICP, urban development manager in the Livable Neighborhoods Division of the City of Lincoln Urban Development Department. She is serving in the dual roles of client representative and consultant for the Planning Studio project team.