Santa Fe, N.M.–Tribal lands in the U.S. are no stranger to the green movement and a new initiative is in place to take the trend to a higher level for affordable multifamily and single-family housing projects.
Enterprise Community Partners has joined forces with a group of architects, affordable housing specialists and sustainability advocates to establish the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNC Collaborative). The collaborative will be operated from Santa Fe, N.M.
The purpose of the SNC Collaborative is to work with Native American communities to ultimately create a development roadmap for environmentally sustainable affordable housing design appropriate to American Indian communities. Activities will initially focus on the Southwest.
“We want to learn the culturally appropriate best practices, and our hope is that they can be replicated on tribal lands throughout the country,” Jamie Blosser, director with Atkin Olshin Schade Architects and founder of the SNC Collaborative, tells MHN.
With a new $55,000 start-up grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, the SNC Collaborative and San Francisco-based nonprofit design services firm Architecture for Humanity will commence the first phase of the program. That first phase entails the research of tribal development activity in an effort to cull a series of case studies of housing and master planning projects that are in the planning or design phase on native lands.
“We are going to select projects based on the interest of a tribe do to a sustainable project and its ability to obtain tribal leadership approval,” Blosser explains. Six projects will be chosen as case studies, at which point, she says, the SNC Collaborative “will provide the tribes with technical assistance to help them achieve their long-term sustainable goals.” The research will also allow the consortium to collect information from the 70-plus tribes in the Southwest region to create a green project database and establish new relationships with tribal housing developers and authorities.
The SNC Collaborative anticipates that the case study selection process will take six to eight months to complete. In the meantime, additional funding is being sought for the initiative, which may also eventually provide financial support for the construction of sustainable housing on tribal lands.