The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Mapping the Real Cost of Public Housing—Transportation Included | CityLab

Mapping the Real Cost of Public Housing—Transportation Included | CityLab

Which parts of the country host the most actual affordable housing? That’s the question behind new work from Shima Hamidi, an assistant affordable housingprofessor of urban planning at the University of Texas at Arlington, and Reid Ewing, professor and director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah’s College of Architecture and Planning. Unlike the transportation affordability tool developed in that 2006 study, or a similar tool offered by HUD, Hamidi and Ewing’s new index uses disaggregate, household-by-household data, rather than aggregate data based on census tracts or blocks.

Using information on 18,300 HUD properties across 15 metropolitan areas, the researchers mapped the nationwide picture of affordable housing. In the map below, the more expensive affordable housing is in red. In these places, transportation costs are more than 15 percent of what the typical local low-income household makes in a year. That means housing plus transportation costs are upwards of 45 percent the household’s annual income. The most affordable housing is in orange, where transportation costs are under that 15 percent threshold.

Source: Mapping the Real Cost of Public Housing—Transportation Included
Photo:  Affordable housing in Pittsburgh in the 1970s. (Wikimedia Commons/Environmental Protection Agency)