Cities offer access to so much of what people want: jobs, transportation, healthcare, safety, education, variety, mobility. But cities also have limited spatial and geographical dimensions. And so, the land on which the physical infrastructure of cities is constructed - the space for buildings, parks, streets, utilities - has a price tag. WHO? has the right to this valuable space, and HOW? its value should be regulated, are core questions to the complicated topic of affordable housing. It is a subject central to the studies and pursuits of urbanists, architects, engineers, and designers, as well as sociologists, economists, and politicians.

As history has shown, affordable housing relies only in part on design. Its success or failure is dependent on a number of complex factors including trends in the housing market, local and regional incomes, transportation, zoning, and land use policies. The construction or re-purposing of existing infrastructure for affordable housing requires the support of politicians, city planners, and residents.