This past week, the Net Positive Studio, though always learning more as we proceed, has tentatively finished the research phase and has started work on our schematic design phases for the different workforce housing programs.
Amid our first on-site construction experiences with the St. Johns house, our studio began to formulate and streamline our research presentation to more succinctly address all the relevant information to the communities of Manhattan and Ogden. After receiving constructive feedback and direction form Donna Schenck-Hamlin (Program Associate-KSU Center for Engagement and Community Development), Prof. Todd Gabbard, and Prof Michael Gibson, the studio turned its focus to creating the first complete shareholder presentation.
The studio used the feedback to better present the problem of the current low-quality affordable housing options available in the Manhattan area as well as the higher cost of existing move-in ready housing. In addition, to a more focused version of the information we had during the trial presentation, we added information on the Manhattan/Ogden area climate, highlighting the natural comfort zone and ways we can use passive design strategies to increase it. We then explained the three options of workforce housing we are considering: the 3-bedroom Ogden house, the 2-bedroom Ogden house, and the Lee Mills pocket neighborhood ideas. Finally, we concluded our presentation with case studies of houses that achieved what we were looking to do on these sites both programmatically and environmentally.
We met on Friday, September 18th, to give our presentation to members of the community including Donna Schenck-Hamlin and Karmen Davenport of Habitat for Humanity, as well as representatives from the Riley County Government, The Flint Hills Job Corps, and other experts in green design and construction with stakes in the program who were eager to see what our research conclusions were, and what ideas we had to combat the issues we found.
The feedback we got was overwhelmingly positive, and the shareholders were excited to see our research and what we could all learn from it going forward. The shareholders, despite being intimately aware of many of the issues affecting housing in Riley County, were pleased to see new statistics that better helped them understand more of the housing problem than they had previously known. The brightest spot for the audience was the interesting and diverse possibilities the case study houses represented. The designs really left the shareholders in an anticipatory mood as the studio started heading into the schematic design phase. The success of our studio’s presentation heightened community interest and engagement and gave us momentum through the rest of the last week as we began formulating initial designs for our various housing types.