About our lab

An aerial shot of the University of Alberta area in Edmonton's River Valley with campus buildings, apartment and condo complexes, and various other types of residences.

Photo by Richard Siemens.

Purpose

The Affordable Housing Solutions Lab (AHSL) empowers citizens to innovate, co-create and develop effective local affordable housing solutions.

Using a community-based participatory approach and an equity-centered community design, we work in partnership with a diverse group of housing stakeholders to collectively generate and scale up transformational housing solutions suited to the specific needs of individuals, families and neighborhoods in Edmonton.


Vision

A participatory action-research and innovation lab that is a catalyst for expanding the supply, diversity and accessibility of safe, affordable and adequate1 housing choices in Edmonton, Alberta and beyond.

Objectives

1. Raise awareness of the right to housing
2. Research innovations in affordable housing2

How are we a "Lab"?

Social innovation labs are spaces (not always physical) for people to come together and work on complex social challenges and come up with innovative solutions. They involve diverse stakeholders, especially those with lived experience; they are experimental (trying out new things, learning from mistakes as well as successes); and they look at problems through a systems lens to try and identify and address the root causes.

The AHSL is a civic social innovation lab, meaning that in addition to the above, our work is focused locally and is reliant on citizen participation that reflects truly diverse understandings of housing affordability and adequacy in Edmonton.

We are a space to clearly and collectively identify our local housing capacity and affordability problems, as well as co-develop creative and well-matched solutions for the public benefit. Our work is grounded in a community-based action approach3 and an equity-centered community design framework4.

The activities of our research groups and the broader work of the lab over the next two years are articulated by The Pivot.


Our people

Governance

The Affordable Housing Solutions Lab is supported by a 5-person management board to advance the mandate and action areas of the lab.

AHSL Staff

Dr. Joshua Evans, University of Alberta
Research Lead
Laura Murphy, University of Alberta
Research Coordinator
Dr. Leo Wong, MacEwan University
Research Lead
Rhea Kachroo, MacEwan University
Program Coordinator

1 UN Human Rights Council, Adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, 13 August 2008, A/63/275, available at: English | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese

2 This objective is all-encompassing and inclusive to all innovative affordable housing design possibilities, such as physical features and architectural design; to models for building and managing social housing; to research measures, methods and methodologies; financing models for social housing builds and operations, etc.

3 This means that the information produced and shared through the lab is intended to be actionable.

4 Created by the Creative Action Lab, "a unique creative problem solving process based on equity, humility-building, integrating history and healing practices, addressing power dynamics, and co-creating with the community."