Housing + Innovation: Lessons from the Ivory Prize

Location: Gund Hall, Piper Auditorium

Despite robust demand across the country for affordable starter homes and rental units, stringent land-use regulations, high construction costs, and an ongoing shortage of skilled laborers have made it difficult, if not impossible, to profitably produce middle-market housing. 

Innovative strategies to overcome these challenges is the focus of this half-day symposium, which features the finalists from the inaugural Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. The finalists, which include private, non-profit, and public entities, were honored for their ambitious, feasible, and scalable efforts to change how American housing is designed, built, financed, and/or regulated.

The presentations and discussions are designed not only to increase awareness of innovations in housing, but to spur connections and conversations that can advance new, innovative approaches to solving our country’s housing affordability crisis.


1:00 pm Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Christopher Herbert, Managing Director, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies; Member, Ivory Prize Advisory Board
  • Clark Ivory, Chief Executive Officer, Ivory Homes; Founder, Ivory Prize in Housing Affordability

1:15 pm Innovations in Construction and Design

  • Rehab with a Heart,
    David Alade, Managing Partner, Century Partners, Detroit
  • Reinventing the Construction Process with Containers,
    Pete Gombert, Executive Chairman, indieDwell, Boise
  • Momentous Modular,
    Larry Pace, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Factory OS, San Francisco
  • Moderated by Jenny French, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Architecture, Graduate School of Design; Member, Joint Center for Housing Studies Faculty Advisory Committee

2:15 pm Innovations in Finance

  • Boosting Homeownership for Teachers,
    Alex Lofton, Co-Founder, Landed, San Francisco
  • Making Equity More Equitable,
    William Young, CEO, Home Partners of America, Chicago
  • Building Homeownership, Block by Block
    Jada McLean, CEO and Co-Founder, Hurry Home
  • Moderated by Carol Galante, I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy; Faculty Director, Terner Center for Housing Innovation, College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley; Member, Ivory Prize Advisory Board

3:15 pm Break

3:30 pm Innovations in Public Policy and Regulatory Reform

  • Creatively Using Surplus Land,
    Mardie Oakes, President, Hello Housing, Oakland
  • A Systematic Approach to ADUs: Austin’s Alley Flat Initiative
    Nicole Joslin, Executive Director, Community Powered Workshop, Austin
  • A Big City Approach on Housing in Buncombe County, North Carolina
    Nathan Pennington, Planning Director, Buncombe County Planning and Development Department
  • Creating the Recipe Book for Modular Housing
    Matthew Laase, Principal, Jackson | Main Architecture, Seattle
  • Moderated by Kent W. Colton, Senior Research Fellow, Joint Center for Housing Studies; Chairman, Ivory Prize Advisory Board

4:30 pm Moving Forward: Lessons from Oregon, Minneapolis, and Massachusetts

  • Andrea Brennan, Director of Housing Policy and Development, City of Minneapolis
  • Taylor Smiley Wolfe, former Policy Director for Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek
  • Janelle Chan, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Moderated by Christopher Herbert, Managing Director, Joint Center for Housing Studies

5:30 pm Closing Reception