How can we realize environmental outcomes in affordable housing?
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Year Completed
The City of Calgary, Attainable Homes Calgary, Alberta Ecotrust, Dr. Sasha Tsenkova
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Better Housing Lab Final Report
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Intelligent Futures led the design and delivery of this innovation lab focused on the intersection of affordable housing, environment, livability and economics.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Solutions Lab program is intended to catalyse action and innovation in the affordable housing sector. It also enables opportunities to enhance sector viability and sustainability by providing roadmaps from successful solution development to full-scale uptake. This Solutions Lab occurred at the intersection of environment, economy, housing and community. Environmental performance is often seen as an expensive, non-essential feature of affordable housing solutions. However, when considering broader implications of sustainability and livability, integrating environmental performance into affordable housing makes sense.
An innovation lens on environmental performance in affordable housing

Intelligent Futures has successfully coordinated a group of 30 professionals and stakeholders with diverse backgrounds ranging from architecture to policy makers to tackle the challenge of improving housing in Calgary and across Canada. The process involved five phases starting with defining the problem and culminating in identifying five potential solutions that were tested for their viability to positively impact the housing industry in Calgary. The potential solutions include the use of renewable resources to construct affordable housing, a decision-making tool to surface environmental and social issues, an approach to incorporate environmental considerations into the affordable housing site selection criteria, among others. The success of this process highlights Intelligent Futures' ability to create multidisciplinary innovation labs that produce tangible results.

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What We Heard
"One common theme in the interviews was the importance of the role Intelligent Futures played in effective design and facilitation of an ambitious lab with a broad scope. Both the amount of focused and supplementary information given to participants and the good balance between freedom of flow that creates emergence, and structured facilitation that created an eðcient collaboration process among a wide range of participants were identified as the strengths of the lab. In addition, the transition and the iterative and back and forth process between the big ideas generated in the lab and more grounded approach to addressing the lab question were often very effectively orchestrated by Intelligent Futures during the process."
Peyvand Forouzandeh
PhD Candidate and Researcher, University of British Columbia