Challenges in Pre-Approved Building Plans – Congress for New Urbanism [Video]

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This webinar from January 2024, hosted by the Congress of New Urbanism, provides a useful overview of some of the key challenges posed by pre-approved designs for gentle density homes, but also detailed the many benefits that these can bring to a community.

Featuring insights from Edward Erfurt, Director of Community Action at Strong Towns, Jennifer Krouse of Liberty House Plans, & Allison Thurmond Quinlan, principal architect and landscape architect with Flintlock LAB (who also presented at the Small Housing Gentle Density Leaders Summit 2024).

As this accompanying CNU article outlines, the panel described the many benefits of pre-approved plans, including:

  • Increasing community familiarity and understanding of missing middle housing types, like small apartment buildings, duplexes, and accessory dwelling units
  • Encouraging higher quality design so that small developers proposing similar projects will have an easier time. If housing is expedited, there is a risk that low-quality design will boost opposition. A collection of context-sensitive building plans offers greater predictability because the architectural review is complete, Krouse says.
  • The programs are designed to reduce regulatory friction in a housing delivery system that many people recognize is overly complex. This helps to level the playing field between small and large developers, the latter of which have developed ways around bureaucratic red tape.