Post-Pandemic Utilization of Office to Residential Adaptive Reuse Strategies in Cities Public Deposited

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  • April 6, 2021
  • Sweeney, Shane
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of City and Regional Planning
  • American cities are facing an epidemic. Affordable housing is nearly impossible to find in desirable cities. This shortage has cost-burdened almost half of American families who spend 30% or more of their gross income on housing. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated previously grim outlooks for the office market. Cities nationwide are experiencing historic highs in office vacancy rates and catastrophic deficits in net absorption. Adaptive reuse is an innovative, sustainable, and viable solution to this two-pronged problem. It is the process of taking an older or underutilized structure and repurposing that structure for a new or different use. In this present situation, city officials have the ability to work with owners of underutilized office buildings to assist in repurposing these structures into residential units through a number of tools such as tax credits, grants, expedited permitting, trusts, affordable housing incentives, and much more. Adaptive reuse is a multi-dimensional solution to an emerging problem which encapsulates the real-estate market, city dynamics, zoning, housing stock and prices, homelessness, and long-term sustainability of cities. This paper serves as a guide to planners, students, and citizens to elaborately define the problems at hand, explore a successful case study, provide a repeatable and thorough analysis, present feasible tools and policies to enact change, and discuss the challenges of doing so. With this research, planners in large urban areas can assess the need and usefulness of adaptive reuse to help curb the constantly changing problems cities face and the effects of COVID-19 in their communities.
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  • Whittemore, Andrew
  • Master of City and Regional Planning
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  • 2021

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