Urban affordable housing planning and development is a challenging enterprise. Practitioners, which range from small neighborhood community development corporations to county-level agencies to nonprofit developers operating at the regional level, routinely solve problems involving multiple stakeholders, competing objectives, funding sources, production processes, strategies and outcome measures. Academic research addressing the design and evaluation of policies that address community concerns and generate significant social impacts is limited. Using surveys and in-depth interviews with affordable housing providers in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, this paper describes current practices and organizational values and test hypotheses that address the relationships between organizational characteristics, neighborhood characteristics and residential real estate development choices and methods. These findings are used to formulate quantitative planning models that address two problems faced by providers: choice of parcels to develop in order to maximize the social benefit associated with low-income housing search, and choice of parcels to develop to maximize neighborhood-level benefits.
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