Summary and Talking Points

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Dom-i-city proposes a different approach to the housing problem. It is one that engages simultaneously the issues of design, affordability, land, neighborhood, and implementation. In the process it resolves the dilemma of growth versus preservation with a solution based on innovative and repurposed ideas. 

  • New housing typology.  A new urban housing typology is introduced, one that reconciles the competing needs of families, neighborhoods, and efficient use of land. A mid-rise building of 15 family-sized homes with a landscaped courtyard and concierge also delivers benefits to local residents and their neighborhood. Features are incorporated that improve the quality of urban living while simultaneously addressing issues of climate, water conservation and sustainability.
  • Neighborhood benefits. A ground floor space in each building is dedicated to serve neighborhood purposes.  Social and cultural meeting places, child day care centers or small convenience retail and personal services are among the options that are decided by local residents.
  • Affordability.  In an era of rising housing prices but stagnant wages, conventional mortgages based on income are no longer able to close the affordability gap. The gap is closed with a two-tier model in which a conventional first is combined a silent second financed by shared equity.
  • Strategy. Changing the dynamic of neighborhood opposition is based on Dom-i-city’s benefits to local residents. Building a pilot version of Dom-i-city is the strategy to deliver this message convincingly. Allowing neighbors to “kick the tires”, the physical presence of the pilot is both a reassurance and a commitment.
  • Land creation. Although landlocked with little vacant land, San Francisco has large quantities of underutilized land. More than 175,000 standard-sized lots are occupied by a single dwelling. A land exchange program is proposed whereby homeowners swap their old houses for new Dom-i-city homes. Pilot versions of Dom-i-city are essential to the exchange process. It is a voluntary program involving no evictions or displacements.
  • Seniors benefit from the opportunity to exchange an old home no longer suitable to their life situation for a new, safe home without stairs in a building with elevator and concierge services.
  • Protection. Wood houses nearly 100 years old and built cheek-by-jowl are vulnerable to catastrophic fire. The concrete Dom-i-city structure provides an added layer of protection for life and property.
  • Scaling . Dom-i-city is scalable to achieve the goal of 10,000 new homes. Modular to the city’s more than 200,000 standard-sized residential lots enables it to be built throughout the city. The standard building template streamlines construction and helps to reduce cost.
  • Efficient land use. Dom-i-city increases land use efficiency by a factor of five.
  • Reducing costs. Dom-i-city’s design, based on a standard building template, reduces construction costs.
  • Reclaiming the Street. With improved streetscapes Dom-i-city begins the process of reclaiming neighborhood streets for purposes and pleasures for local residents.
  • Sustainability. A multi-unit building of 15 homes supports the increased costs of sustainable construction and technologies such as cisterns, green roofs, photo-voltaic panels, wind turbines, as well as durable concrete structures, and  low maintenance materials.
  • Air quality. The combination of landscaped courtyard, streetscape, green roof, and rear yard increases the amount of vegetation to improve air quality.