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Affordable Housing Development Competition – Testimonials

Here's what some participating students, developers, faculty, and community leaders had to say about the Affordable Housing Development Competition.


From Students

Were it not for the competition, I would not have been exposed to the opportunities in community development and the impact that housing can have on people's lives. As a graduate student, I felt like our team's work was just the beginning of the story. The competition helped me to cement my career path in community development. As a developer, the students' work has been invaluable. It has helped us initiate conversations with the community about what could be and provided us with valuable data for our organization's master plan.

Janelle Chan
Executive Director, Asian CDC, and former student participant

Every job I've held since participating as a graduate student in the 2009 competition has been related to the AHDC, from an internship with Madison Park the CDC that sponsored my team, to work with CHAPA protecting 40B, to an internship with NOAH, to my current role as a project manager at The Community Builders. While at TCB, I have twice had the opportunity to sponsor AHDC teams who applied amazing creativity and talent towards difficult issues on real pipeline projects. From building careers to building ideas, the AHDC is an amazing resource for the Boston affordable housing community.

James Madden
Project manager, The Community Builders, Inc., and former student participant

It was a great experience and worth all the hard work when we saw the gratitude of the folks at [our partner development organization.]

Christina Marin
Associate Analyst, Standard & Poor's, and 2014 student participant

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From Developers

What we're ending up doing is very close to what the students proposed. We incorporated a lot of their ideas in the interior and exterior design of the new building. It was fun to work with a group who has fresh ideas and aren't jaded yet.'

Evelyn Friedman
Former Executive Director at Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation, whose proposal took second place in the 2001 competition and was completed in 2005!

The students' work was equivalent to that done by professionals. The real value of their proposal is that they've left residents, who helped draw up the scope of the project, with a framework to move forward.

Lisa Davis
Former Director of Development, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, and 2003 participant

I definitely feel that the competition was very useful to us. It forced us to think about things in a new way.

Tunua Thrash
Former Business District Project Manager, Madison Park Development Corporation, and 2002 competition participant

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From Faculty

The Greater Boston Affordable Housing Development Competition has served as a perfect complement to my Affordable and Mixed-Income Housing Development, Finance and Management course in that it provides students with a hands-on opportunity to experience and undertake many of the critical tasks involved in creating affordable housing. The quality of the final proposals has improved each year as the program matures and the sponsors, led by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and CHAPA, incorporate lessons learned from prior years. The competition has provided an exciting, meaningful, and competitive learning experience that benefits students and also provides valuable assistance to housing sponsors.

Edward H. Marchant
Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School


I think the competition is becoming wonderfully institutionalized. It allows students to apply not only their community and technical skills but also their presentation skills to put these fabulous proposals together.

Langley Keyes
Professor Emeritus, Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, and faculty advisor for the first-place team in 2007

Each year the proposals seem to get more comprehensive.

James G. Stockard
Lecturer in Housing, retired Curator of the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and advisor for the second-place team in 2007

A critical component of learning is understanding how to apply knowledge. The Affordable Housing Development Competition is both an opportunity and a forum for students to interact with community-based organizations on a timely and substantive issue – the need for more affordable housing. The results to date are very impressive.

Nicolas Retsinas
director emeritus, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, and judge for the 2001 competition

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From Sponsors

The BSA has been a proud sponsor of this competition since 2008. We support the need for affordable housing in Boston as we understand the connection between housing and health. Also, this program embraces one of the main goals of the BSA: to communicate the value of architecture and encourage collaboration between architects, developers, and other members of the design community.

Maria Salvatierra
Marketing and Communications Manager, Boston Society of Architects/AIA

ICON supports the Greater Boston Affordable Housing Competition for its ‘best practices' approach to spreading knowledge and competency for affordable housing design and development.

Nancy Ludwig
Principal and President, ICON architecture, Inc.

CHAPA has been a proud sponsor and supporter of the Greater Boston Affordable Housing Development Competition since it began in 2000. The competition provides students the experience of working with well-established local organizations proposing real projects, an invaluable opportunity for their personal and professional growth. The competition is a great first step for these students to start thinking about their career path and building the foundation they need to be successful in our field.

Maritza Crossen
Senior Program Manager, Citizens' Housing and Planning Association

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From Judges

It really is wonderful to see such talented young people who are interested in our field.

Charleen Regan
Housing and Community Development Consultant, judge, 2014

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From Community Leaders

I welcome this competition, because even if we had all of the money tomorrow, it would be important to have ways to spend it that are both efficient and able to produce housing that is attractive.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA-4)
The Speaker at the 2003 awards ceremony

Affordable housing is the cornerstone of community revitalization and economic strength, not only here in Boston, but in every city in this country. I believe that imaginative initiatives like the Greater Boston Affordable Housing Development Competition can play an important role in encouraging the next generation of creative thinkers in this realm.

Paul S. Grogan
President of the Boston Foundation

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