As pretty as Mid Mod homes may be, today, many are not affordable, despite their builders’ original intentions. But in the midst of a growing housing crisis, where there are only 29 units available for every 100 families in need of low-income housing, affordable housing is more important now than ever. But the affordable housing solutions of today are not the Brutalist-esque structures of the Mid Century. Instead, the inspiring affordable housing of the 21st century is embracing sustainable living, outdoor space and great design.

inspiring affordable housing
Courtesy of Will Crocker Photography via Dezeen.

New Orleans

The newest project of New Orleans’ Starter Home initiative, which seeks to provide affordable housing in gentrifying areas of the city, is Saint Thomas at Ninth. Saint Thomas at Ninth features 12 metal cladding-wrapped units, all with different rooflines and window arrangements to break up any visual sameness. The homes are built to be energy-efficient and contain a shared courtyard for porches and car parking. Learn more here. 

inspiring affordable housing philadelphia
Courtesy of Paseo Verde.


Located in North Philadelphia, Paseo Verde, a 120 unit mixed-use building offers more than just a home to its residents—it also offers gardens, medical and fitness facilites and a transportation hub to the rest of the city. It has received three Platinum LEED certifications, and the building has transformed what was once an empty parking lot into a thriving city block. Learn more here.

inspiring affordable housing chicago
Courtesy of Dezeen.


Independence Library and Apartments, located in northwest Chicago, were built as a replacement to a local library that burned down a few years prior. The lower two stories of the building house the public library, while the upper stories house 44 affordable housing units for tenants 62+. The upper half the structure is filled with pops of bright color and recessed balconies, which intentionally do not follow a perfect grid. Together, these elements make for a building that is a fun and whimsical sight, even on the gloomiest of Chicago days. Learn more here.

inspiring affordable housing san francisco
Courtesy of Architizer.

San Francisco

32 affordable housing units make up San Francisco’s Filmore Park, which offer homes to first-time home buyers making 70%-100% of the area’s median income. The housing complex, which features apartments and townhomes, brings a peaceful oasis to an otherwise bustling district. The homes are centered around a private courtyard with a guitar-shaped planter (a reference to the area’s musical past) and sit above a 24-car underground parking garage. Learn more here.

inspiring affordable housing the bronx
Courtesy of Architizer.

The Bronx

Via Verde, a 222-unit affordable housing unit located in the Bronx, features over 34,000 sq. ft of rooftop green space ready for gardening, stormwater run-off and relaxing. The cascading roofline also offers a place for solar panels that power interior lighting in the building’s common area. The building is packed full of sustainable features, like sunshades, energy-efficient windows and community programs that encourage green living, making Via Verde hold both the LEED Gold certification and exceed the NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program and Enterprise Green Communities guidelines. Learn more here. 

Learn more about some (less) inspiring affordable housing at Brutalist Architecture 101. And of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest for more Atomic Ranch articles and ideas!