City launches housing innovation competition for compact living units

The City has released a request for proposal (RFP) for a housing innovation competition that encourages teams of architects, developers, and contractors to come up with new ways to build compact housing units, according to a press release.

The housing innovation competition was designed as part of Mayor Martin Walsh’s goal to get Boston recognized nationally and internationally for pioneering innovative housing models.

The competition specifically is intended to determine if well-designed compact units built at reduced development costs will result in financially feasible developments with a mix of affordable prices.

“We want Boston to be a place that all residents can call home,” said Walsh, according to the press release. “To do so, we must look beyond the options that currently exist and activate new and original ideas. The housing innovation competition is a chance for Boston to take its place at the forefront of housing innovation.”

The competition is run by the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development in partnership with the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab, the Garrison Trotter Neighborhood Association (GTNA), and the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). These organizations are soliciting proposals for a pilot initiative on five City-owned vacant land parcels in the Garrison Trotter neighborhood. These properties are 71 and 73 Holworthy St., 29 and 31 Hollander St., and 24 Westminster Ave.

Teams of architects, developers, and contractors are asked to submit entries that use creative designs that meet the community’s goals in compact units. These goals are for units to have smaller footprints and offer residents an affordable option to renting or owning closer to the city center and transit-oriented areas.

“This competition provides an opportunity to stimulate the architect, contractor, and developer communities to collaborate on the creation of lower-cost prototype dwellings that may solve fundamental housing needs throughout Boston,” said Tamara Roy AIA, 2016 Boston Society of Architects/AIA president, according to the press release.

For inspiration, a prototype-housing model, the Urban Housing Unit (UHU), is available for daily tours at the Boston Society of Architects space on Atlantic Wharf.

Proposals for the competition are due Dec. 19. For more information about the RFP, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *