Not only can low-income housing, like this Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans, produce more Democrats - it can look good, too!
- The Gazette tries its hand at election forecasting by looking at who Burtonsville voters have picked in the past. While the precinct served by Burtonsville Elementary School - which covers the Agricultural Preserve north of Route 198 - narrowly voted for Bush in 2000, it's slowly turning blue. A spokesperson from the county Democratic Party says an "influx of lower-income residents" on the east side and MoCo as a whole will translate into more Obama votes.
- Speaking of lower-income residents: the newly-dedicated Habitat for Humanity homes that went up in Linganore Woods (off of Greencastle Road in Burtonsville) are very, very unattractive. They're affordable - $140,000 each, according to the Gazette - which was the intention, but it's demeaning to lower-income families that they have to live in homes that look like they were value-engineered into submission.
Habitat's capable of building attractive, well-designed homes at a low price. Last summer, I visited Musicians' Village (above), a project in New Orleans' Ninth Ward built for artists displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The homes here are derived from traditional "shotgun houses" in the surrounding area, and they blend in well, using bright colors and wide front porches, and well-proportioned facades. They're simple, but because of a few minor details they don't scream "AFFORDABLE HOUSING." And they'll retain that value over time. East County has enough cheap housing that looks cheap - people in need deserve better.
- Check out my weekly column in the Diamondback - this time, I'm writing about the ICC and its effects on my neighborhood in East County. It's loosely adapted from a post that appeared here a few weeks ago.