Past Meets Progress: Indigo’s Innovative Take on the Future of Community Building
Just outside of Houston, a development of the future is emerging—but it is probably not what you think.
Originally published on September 11, 2023, by Steve Wright for UrbanLand Magazine.
America is in the throes of an affordable housing crisis. Many Americans are considered severely rent-burdened, as they spend more than 50 percent of their earnings on housing.
For people with disabilities and the elderly, there is a triple whammy—prices are soaring, their incomes are not keeping pace, and only a fraction of housing is built to accommodate those with limited mobility.
U.S. Department of Labor statistics consistently prove that people with disabilities are by far the most under-employed, unemployed, and impoverished of all marginalized groups. About one in four people in the U.S. have a disability. By 2030, one in five Americans will be older than 65. This means tens of millions of people cannot afford safe, quality, convenient housing that meets their needs.
Further compounding the catastrophic situation, surveys of housing stock show less than five percent of it is move-in ready accessible to people with disabilities. Less than one percent of housing is wheelchair accessible and virtually all of that is in multifamily housing. Accessible housing features a zero step entrance, accessible restroom, wider doors, lowered counters and sinks in the kitchen/bath and other features to accommodate reduced mobility due to aging or disability.
Senator Bob Casey, Democratic chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing this summer to sound the alarm over the lack affordable, accessible housing.