UNC Charlotte grad students design affordable living spaces

CHARLOTTE — In the hands of a group of UNC Charlotte graduate students, there is a small step toward more affordable housing options.

Professor Mark Manack’s students designed and built ADU’s that will provide an affordable space for people to live.

“They designed a series of accessory dwelling units which are small residential dwelling units that homeowners can build in their yard to provide extra space for housing,” Manack said.

The housing units can be used in multiple ways.

“They can use it for either rental income or for other members of their family to live on their property,” Manack said.

Manack’s students designed three prototypes for the Hidden Valley and Washington Heights neighborhoods.

Graduate student Rebecca Seagondollar worked on the project.

“The northern part of Washington Heights is considered a bit more of a historic district,” Seagondollar said. “And the community there wants to preserve that. So for our design, we used materials such as garden lattice.”

Seagondollar’s design focused on giving the younger generation a lower cost housing option.

“There’s a shortage of affordable places to live and rents really high at the moment,” Seagallondollar said. “So bringing an ADU in their backyard could become a rental property and another source of income for them.”

Daniel Lynch’s design, another student, focused on accessibility for the older generation.

“To bring back, you know, the older population or keep them from being displaced from their house,” Lynch said of his design. “In Charlotte right now, there’s a big gentrification issue.”

Manack hopes the program can keep growing.

“Even though these are small houses, every little bit helps, and so the ADU program, it can be part of a series of initiatives that the city and the community does to help create more housing.

(WATCH BELOW: City leaders eye Ballantyne for affordable housing development)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

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