Design is a key element of successful affordable housing development. Our Design Leadership initiative provides tools, programs and research to support developers in mastering their design process, allowing them to drive positive resident and community outcomes, solve increasingly complex development challenges and control costs.

Our programs and tools to support developers include the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute (AHDLI), The Rose Fellowship, the Design in Development Framework and Curriculum, Policy Research and wide-ranging project case studies.

AHDLI Wins 2018 AIA Collaborative Achievement Award  [Read more].

Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute

Applications are now open for the 2018 Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute

For the past eight years, the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute (AHDLI) has brought together development and design leaders to share best practices and to take on affordable housing’s increasingly complex construction, policy and finance challenges. As a result, developers have amplified their projects to improve the lives of the residents and communities they serve.

Apply Now

Why attend?

  • AHDLI connects innovators: Participants make lasting connections with fellow developers and designers from across the country.
  • AHDLI sparks new methods: Throughout the forum, peers learn from one another’s break-through approaches to wide-ranging challenges.
  • AHDLI is solutions-oriented: Charrettes focus on real participant projects and the challenges that they have identified.
  • AHDLI promotes collaboration: Developers and designers have a unique opportunity to collaborate outside the client-consultant dynamic.

Institute Curriculum

AHDLI is a short-burst intensive learning experience, culminating in a 3-day in-person convening that builds organizations’ skills and confidence in managing the design process. The Institute curriculum – both in-person and online – is based on both research and real-life projects and is outcome-oriented. At the completion of the Institute, developers reflect on what they learned and map strategies to make large and small changes in their development process.

The Institute curriculum consists of:

  • 3-day in-person convening of developers, designers, city officials and policy makers. Here participants engage in interactive design charrettes with real-life development projects and learn creative and innovative approaches to design, construction, policy and finance challenges.
  • 5 online modules provide a foundation for integrating design principles into the challenging affordable housing development process and feature real-life case studies

Learning Modules teach developers:

  • To identify and achieve resident and community outcomes
  • To skillfully lead the design process and collaborate with designers
  • To innovatively respond to cost constraints
  • To use the 9 core design strategies

Download the Fact Sheet

Read about Past Participants’ Outcomes

2018 Institute

Selection Criteria

Mission-driven developers of affordable housing are encouraged to apply. We find that attendees who are curious and open-minded gain the most from the Institute. Applications must show:

  • A development project in the schematic design phase that is realistic and buildable
  • A track record of completing real estate projects that are well-designed, culturally and environmentally sustainable and rely on meaningful community participation
  • A two to three-person development team to participate fully in all elements of the Institute, ideally composed of the Executive Director and/or the Directors of Real Estate (or equivalent). Resident Services/Property Managers are also encouraged to participate.
  • Demonstrated leadership capacity, open-mindedness, commitment to innovation, and eagerness to learn and implement lessons from the Institute within their organizations.

Participation and Cost

The curriculum and charrettes are delivered at no cost to the participant, and all meals and on-site event costs are included. Travel and lodging expenses to attend the Institute are the responsibility of the participant. All participants in the in-person Institute are expected to complete the required online sessions. Additional staff may be invited to the online sessions, but may not be substituted for the developer team.

For questions, please contact Carrie Niemy.