The biggest challenges facing housing in the urbanised world today are accessibility and affordability of a house for all. Cities around the world have delved into the idea of affordable living for decades with varied levels of urgency, focusing on different aspects of the problem and constructing solutions to address growing challenges of density.
Designers in South America have focused on affordability, unit type repeatability and onsite rehabilitation solutions for migrant populations living in the city. In Asia, examples have focused on large-scale rehabilitation in intensely populated and dense mega-cities in the form of site and service schemes as well as subsidised housing strategies funded by government grants to address the lack of formalised housing settlements.
However, in most of the western world, the housing challenge has been plagued by the concern to keep housing in cities affordable for all. Cities like New York, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago have seen a constant rise in the housing markets forcing people out to the suburbs by way of constant gentrification making downtown and inner city neighbourhoods unaffordable for most of the population. While these cities have seen a constant rise in the price of housing, it has not deterred the steady increase of migration of highly-skilled, working-class individuals seeking employment opportunities in the cities. The skilled working-class population is represented by the single male/female between 25-35 years of age looking for an affordable housing solution without an excessive demand for space. This user type represents close to 52% of the total population in need of housing in urbanised areas of the city (Graham Hill, founder of the small-living site LifeEdited.com).