This semester's Fibiger Prize for Research has been awarded to third-year architecture student Ashley Grzywa. The $1000 award is given every semester to the University of Minnesota College of Design student whose Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) project is ranked #1 among all of the College's applicants and proposals for that semester. The Fibiger Prize is made possible by the generosity of the John A. & Barbara M. Fibiger Endowment.
Grzywa's project, Affordable Housing Alternatives: Analysis of Community Land Trusts (CLTs), compares two CLTs in the Mid-West to identify the methods used by each to create and ensure affordable housing options to homeowners. Specifically her research identifies the programmatic elements of each CLT in order to assess the most affordable operation methods and programs which suggest long term solutions to affordable housing problems. She will then compare the two CLTs to one another, and to the model of a CLT as identified by the Institute for Community Economics, to determine the extent to which certain programming fulfils the long term affordability goals of CLTs.
"I first became interested in the issue of affordable housing through my studies in the School of Architecture and my involvement as a board member for the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity," said Grzywa. "Last year my interest in the subject was further ignited by an elective class I took in the Housing Studies department. My professor, Dr. Ann Ziebarth, has become my faculty research advisor and helped me identify Community Land Trusts as unique subject matter for my research."
Upon completion, Grzywa will share her conclusions with the CLTs so they may identify areas within their programming where changes and improvements might be made to better enable the CLT to persist as an affordable housing alternative. Grzywa will also discuss her findings with her peers at a research symposium, and hopes to have them published in a journal or newsletter - accessible to the greater design and housing community.
UROP helps undergraduate students become involved in research and creative activity. It aims at stimulating the minds of students; broadening their perspectives, expanding their intellectual and social networking and strengthening their connections to the University of Minnesota community. For more information on UROP, please click here.
To see more of the work the College of Design is undertaking with Habitat for Humanity, visit design.umn.edu/hfh. To contribute to our students so that they may continue their important work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, please make a secure donation here.