Ivory Innovations Recognizes New Approaches to Tackle Affordability Crisis

Courtesy ICON

Ivory Innovations’ third annual Ivory Award recognizes ambitious, workable, and scalable engineering and design, finance, and public policy reform solutions to address the country’s affordability crisis.

The top 25 finalists for the Ivory Prize – selected from 160 nominations from 39 states – offer new approaches to addressing rising material and labor costs, efforts that have helped communities and individuals respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and solutions for that Affordability, which will be sought to address historical inequalities of race and housing.

“This year has shown how closely housing, and especially affordability, is linked to our social and economic fabric,” said Abby Ivory, director of ivory innovations and strategic projects at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. “The 2021 class of our Top 25 is a pioneer in new approaches, in breaking down historical barriers and in focusing on solutions that address diverse and complex problems from the point of view of the affordability of living space.”

The 25 best finalists for the Ivory Prize for Affordable Housing 2021 have been selected by the Ivory Prize Advisory Board. The top 10 finalists will be published in April and the final winners will be announced in May. More than $ 200,000 in prize money will be distributed to at least three winners. In addition to financial support, the Ivory Innovations network includes interns, capital partners and strategic planning.

Ivory Innovations, an applied academic and corporate foundation dedicated to promoting innovation in housing affordability, is also partnering with the Housing Lab of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley to bring a top contestant over to dispatch his accelerator.

The finalists are:

Construction and design

  • Autovol, Nampa, Idaho: Autovol is addressing affordable housing by using innovative technology to automate the modular construction process and cut 40% of traditional construction time. The company is led by CEO Rick Murdock and co-developed by leading affordable property developer The Pacific Cos.
  • BamCore, Windsor, California: BamCore is a frameless framing solution that uses wood bamboo to provide bespoke, code-compliant wall systems that redefine the low built environment.
  • Blokable, Sacramento, California: Blokable’s comprehensive modular development model reduces the cost and time it takes to build and operate new apartment buildings.
  • Building Talent Foundation, Washington, DC: The Building Talent Foundation addresses the severe and persistent labor shortage in all craft occupations by connecting trained talent with builders.
  • Community first! Village, Austin, Texas: Community First! Village is changing the model that cities use to tackle chronic homelessness – from an initial approach to housing to an initial approach to community.
  • ICON, Austin: ICON develops advanced building technologies. With proprietary 3D printing robotics, software, and advanced materials, ICON is changing the paradigm of housing construction. In March 2020, the company completed a series of 400 square meters of 3D printed houses that, as part of Community First, will serve as a fresh start for six formerly homeless people! Village.
  • Park Avenue Green // CG + A, New York City: The Park Avenue Green designed by Curtis + Ginsberg Architects by Omni New York is currently the largest affordable passive house development in the country. and affordability.
  • Tiny Home Village Project, Albuquerque, New Mexico: The Tiny Home Village, which opened to residents in February, is a unique approach to combating homelessness and racial justice with an emphasis on helping the local Native American community.
  • UNITY Homes, Walpole, New Hampshire: UNITY Homes combines the latest technology and machinery to build a paneled home that a client’s builder assembles at a very affordable price.


  • Acts Housing, Milwaukee: Acts Housing assists families in buying and redeveloping distressed properties into stable homes by advising home buyers, representing families on a transaction, and providing mortgage loans.
  • Deepblocks, Miami: Deepblocks leverages technology to reshape development and eligibility decisions through real-time analysis of financial and market data combined with local building codes.
  • EarnUp, San Francisco: EarnUp is a financial technology platform that helps consumers better manage expenses, avoid expensive short-term borrowings, and provide savings options to prepare for home ownership.
  • Housing Impact Fund, Charlotte, North Carolina: The Housing Impact Fund is a social impact equity fund designed to sustain and make affordable thousands of Charlotte residents who earn between 30% and 80% of the median area income in neighborhoods with opportunity.
  • KeepHome, Boston: KeepHome is a free app that guides potential homeowners through the entire home buying process, focusing on helping those facing structural and persistent racial barriers.
  • Nico, Los Angeles: Nico is a neighborhood investment company that enables local tenants to participate as financial actors in neighborhoods where housing values ​​are rising.
  • Rhove, Columbus, Ohio: Rhove works with multi-family landlords to enable tenants to build equity in the buildings they live in.
  • Silvernest, Denver: Silvernest is a home sharing platform that offers empty nests, baby boomers, and those with extra space the opportunity to find a roommate and generate additional income.

Public policy and regulation reform

  • Affordable Development: City of Austin, Austin: Affordable Affordability is a proactive, incentive-based approach to advancing housing affordability, with a goal of building around 60,000 units by 2027.
  • Accelerating ADUs: City of Pasadena, Pasadena, California: The ADU program for the second unit in Pasadena provides comprehensive assistance with the financing, planning, approval and construction of a new additional housing unit (ADU) in the City of Roses.
  • Casita Coalition, San Francisco: The Casita Coalition is a statewide, multisectoral organization and leader in small housing that is starting an ADU revolution – that resulted in 19,000 ADUs with no public subsidies in the past three years.
  • CoUrbanize, Cambridge, Massachusetts: CoUrbanize is an online platform solution that connects developers and planners with their neighbors. With the COVID-19 pandemic, CoUrbanize has become a resource for community members who can continue to participate in development processes while face-to-face public / community meetings are taking place.
  • Hello Landlord, Lehi, Utah: Hello Landlord is helping tenants avoid evictions in a COVID-19 environment based on their answers to a number of questions. With the help of the free tool, renters can write a letter informing a landlord that he or she has financial problems and the law may not allow an eviction.
  • Impact Justice / The Homecoming Project, Oakland, California: The Homecoming Project is focused on reducing relapses by removing the most important factor, housing. Previously incarcerated people can more easily integrate into the community by moving them straight from prison to stable housing.
  • University of Miami: Land Platform, Miami: The Miami Affordability Project is an online interactive map focused on distributing affordable housing and housing needs in the greater Miami area. The interactive map has the potential to unlock public wealth and empty land, as well as support improved viability, equity, and responsible growth that takes into account the effects of climate change.
  • Telluride Foundation, Telluride, Colorado: The Telluride Foundation is focused on integrating donated land, prefabricated paneled apartment buildings, and low-cost home finance to help teachers and other key workers, particularly among the Latin American population, provide housing in rural communities .

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