Affordable housing must be healthy housing.
Receive updates about healthier affordable housing, healthy materials, and more.
The construction of affordable housing has been chronically underfunded and regulated by racist housing policies. After years of widespread use, low-cost, substandard, and toxic building materials are now directly linked to more serious health risks for low income families.
Harmful chemicals coat our food. Poisonous lead contaminates our water. Carcinogenic flame retardant-filled insulation fills our walls. Indoor air pollution has resulted in an alarming rise in childhood asthma. In the face of this health crisis, even minor renovations can drastically improve the health of communities.
Armed with better knowledge about the impacts of material choices, designers and architects can strive to create healthy affordable housing today—and make a profound difference in many peoples’ health and lives. Healthier affordable housing is primarily in the hands of designers, developers, and builders, but working with future residents we can make well-considered choices to foster healthier lives.
How We Make Affordable Housing Healthier
Innovate — Use healthier building materials to reduce exposure to toxics and improve human health (find spec guidance here)
Educate — Foster knowledge and awareness of material alternatives to empower planners, builders, and residents
Market — Elevate successful products with a proven track record to be affordable and expand availability
Celebrate — Champion manufacturers, builders, and contractors who work to promote transparency and drive innovation
Our Resources for Affordable Housing Providers
We provide curated collections of vetted, affordable materials, Detailed Specification Guidelines for quicker and better product selection, and targeted education courses for professionals, students, and community members
About Healthy Materials Lab
We are Healthy Materials Lab, a design research lab at Parsons School of Design. We are dedicated to placing people’s health at the center of all design decisions.
We are committed to raising awareness about toxic chemicals in building products and to creating resources for all designers and architects, to change design practice and make healthier places for all people to live.
In the broadest sense, our goals are to create healthier spaces and support healthier lives. To achieve this, we strive to:
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