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Friendship Court

A market-based plan for preserving housing affordability

  • 18K

    SF of Retail/Office

  • Charlottesville, Virginia

    Charlottesville, Virginia

Our plan preserves an affordable housing development, relinks it to its neighbors, and secures its financial health

After decades of shrinking public funding, every US housing agency struggles to pay for the maintenance of aging public housing. The nonprofit Piedmont Housing Alliance faced an even tougher task: its deteriorating housing in downtown Charlottesville needed a complete overhaul, and it had promised residents that no one would have to leave the site during reconstruction.

Working with those residents in an unusually intensive process, we drew up a plan to capture the value of the downtown location by adding hundreds of market-rate units along with additional affordable ones. That mix would generate enough value to fund high-quality replacement of every existing home. It would call for a dramatic upgrade of open spaces, unusually complex phasing (to honor the no-displacement pledge), integrated stormwater controls to end site flooding, and the addition of both a community center and preschool. The plan also ends the 11-acre site’s isolation, reconnecting it to surrounding neighborhoods and downtown.

Most important, the plan assures decades of financial stability for Friendship Court and keeps every resident in housing they can afford—in the heart of an opportunity-rich neighborhood.

At a Glance

  • Piedmont Housing Alliance
Meet Our Team

David Dixon, Vice President, Urban Places Fellow

We help communities manage change to become more livable, equitable, and resilient.
David Dixon Vice President, Urban Places Fellow Read More

Wei Jin, Urban Designer

My design focus: people and the sense of place and environment. Integrate physical design solutions with social aspects and natural systems.

Steve Kearney, Principal

Working with—and learning from—community members is what excites me most in all of my planning projects.

David Dixon

Vice President, Urban Places Fellow

Wei Jin

Urban Designer

Steve Kearney


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