Peter Licavoli: Can you tell us a little about your background and how you became involved in the housing initiatives for Miami?
Adrian Madriz: Born in New Orleans and raised in South Florida, Adrian is a community organizer by trade, with political, campus and non-profit organizing experience. His past causes include both of Barack Obama’s Presidential campaigns in Florida, student organizing at the Episcopal Chapel at the University of New Orleans and Housing Organizing in Liberty City through the Miami Workers Center.
Adrian is very active on local housing and resilience issues and has sat on the boards of the Urban Environment League, the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation, the Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida, the Steering Committee of the Miami Climate Alliance, the Housing Committee of the South Florida Community Development Coalition and he chairs the Housing Policy Sub-Committee of the Miami-Dade Democratic Executive Committee as well as the Transitional Housing Strategy Committee of the HOMY Youth Homelessness Collective. Adrian also participates in the Overtown Cohort of the Allegany Fellowship for the Common Good, and the Miami cohort of the Maven Leadership Collective for Queer and Trans People of Color working on various community development projects. He is also an alumni of the University of Miami Community Scholars in Affordable Housing. He is a proud worker-owner of Miami’s first, majority-black cooperative business dedicated to video game events, WORLDS.
Peter Licavoli: What are the housing strategies currently being used and what policies could be put in place by the city to help address the scarcity of affordable housing?
Adrian Madriz: An affordable housing innovation district would enable the expediting prototyping and market readiness of construction materials and assembly methods that could bring down the cost to build to as little as $4/sq ft
A Community Land Trust with ample participation from residents affected by slum conditions and families at 30% of the Area Median Income would ensure that any investment of public funds in the creation of affordable housing stays affordable and sustainable permanently, which is significantly better than the 15 and 30 year sunset provisions on most tax-credit funded projects with simple covenant restrictions.
Peter Licavoli: Our students have visited and created a number of architectural visions for affordable housing projects, can you discuss the development concept and programming for this project?
Adrian Madriz:SMASH’s proposal, the Expedited Housing Project is an eco-friendly 3-Unit Building with affordable and LGBTQ transitional housing programs mixed with market rate rentals on a Community Land Trust in Liberty City, Miami, FL
Peter Licavoli: How do we design a sustainable community as it relates to the issue of gentrification?
Adrian Madriz: Gentrification is caused by development that does not take the inputs and concerns of local residents into account. A Community Land Trust solves this problem by making the community the developer.
Peter Licavoli: What role does the architectural design have to play in the affordability question?
Adrian Madriz: Architecture is very important to the quality of life for the residents, especially when it comes to interior design. This project is aiming to achieve the WELL Platinum standard for living ergonomics. Long term, advances in architecture at the local level can allow for experimentation with new technologies that bring down the cost to build and stretch financing even further.
Peter Licavoli: Are there cities that have best practices for managing housing needs for changing and growing populations?
Adrian Madriz: Boston is a good example. In the 80s, they created their first Community Land Trust in the Dudley Street Neighborhood by placing land into the public control through eminent domain. I have yet to see another city engage in such an aggressive policy for the production of affordable housing.
Peter Licavoli: Affordable Housing has been called a “wicked problem” because of the multitude of stakeholders involved? What is the incentive for local governments, public and private industry to create more affordable housing in Miami?
Adrian Madriz: It is a wicked problem, especially because the pace of affordable housing production will always lag behind the increases in demand. Moreover, jobs and wage increases alone will never be able to rival year-to-year increases in living costs. Local governments and businesses will face labor costs that spiral out of control as their workforce moves further away from job centers, thus requiring more resources to cover the cost of their daily commute. By pursuing aggressive inclusionary zoning policies, they can bring those costs under control.
Peter Licavoli: Are there other factors we should take into consideration when we think about this issue?
Adrian Madriz: Gentrification is a symptom of the affordable housing crisis, which is in itself a symptom of late-stage capitalism, and the ongoing fallout from racist policies like redlining and zero regulations against payday lenders. The majority of people who face the burdens of these challenges are single-mothers who are more limited in their housing options, thus also making it a patriarchal problem. There are any policy prescriptions that have emerged from American communities of color regarding how to overcome these challenges, but not every situation is the same, and some solutions will work in places where it would not in others. The consisting guiding value for all who work for a more sustainable housing future should be to make the voices of the most affected people the most elevated and heard.
Peter Licavoli: What role do you see for community groups and non-profits like ours?
Adrian Madriz: Our role as an organization is to be the vehicle that neighborhoods use to get to their destination - a future with affordable homes for all.