AHDLI 2017 Attendees<
Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute – Class of 2017

2017 Institute: Building to Scale

As we entered the 8th year of the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute (AHDLI) in 2017, the Design team at Enterprise Community Partners stopped to reflect on the Institute’s accomplishments and its future.

We asked former participants about their experience at AHDLI, and we heard that:

  • 82% of participating developers began and continued to ask more of their architects than they had in the past
  • 95% of developers stated that they now work more effectively with their designers
  • 85% of developers reported that they now address design earlier in the development process

Why does all this matter?
It matters because well-designed affordable housing impacts people’s quality of life, especially when that design addresses community and resident needs and achieves specific outcomes desired by those communities and residents.

Knowing this, we asked ourselves, “how can we empower more, and stronger leaders equipped with these design skills in the field of affordable housing?” Leaders who not only adopt these skills but inspire and advocate for other stakeholders to support design excellence and innovation in affordable housing, and do this in the face of the field’s many regulatory and financial constraints.

We tackled this question through a research project in partnership with MASS Design Group. Working with MASS’s research team, we dug deep into the existing literature, interviewed dozens of developers and designers, and conducted an in-depth case study of a past AHDLI participant who had reinvented their development process after attending the Institute. The 2017 AHDLI and the accompanying curriculum was the result of those efforts.

2017 Keynote

The 2017 keynote lecture was opened with a welcome from Dr. Atyia Martin, the City of Boston’s Chief Resilience Officer. The lecture, entitled “Putting Design to Work: How design is building a resilient Detroit,” was an interview of Maurice Cox, the Planning Director for the City of Detroit with Katie Swenson, Enterprise’s Vice President of Design and Sustainability.

The program for ADHLI 2017, including in-depth project profiles and resources team bios, is available for download.

2017 Resource Team

Development Resource Team

Design Resource Team


The 2017 Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute was made possible by generous support from the Barr Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Santander, The Kendeda Fund, and Boston Private Bank and Trust, as well as through the partnership of MASS Design Group, The Boston Society of Architects, The Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab of Boston, and The Neighborhood Developers.

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