Each year, first-year graduate students at the Yale School of Architecture are tasked with designing and then physically building a new single-family house in an economically depressed neighborhood. Sometimes, like this year, the house may have multiple dwelling units.
I have always thought that this is a great exercise both from a pedagogical standpoint and from a positive impact standpoint. Young architecture students get to experience designing and building something from scratch, and lower-income families get a new house. I toured one of the completed houses in New Haven back in, I think, 2005.
This building project, which was started in 1967, is fairly unique among architecture schools, though others have replicated the model. When I was living in the US, I spent a few weekends working on homes for Rebuilding Together Philadelphia. But the scope was fairly limited. It was nothing like this.
I think more schools should do this. And I also wonder if there aren’t permutations of this model that could live outside of the university context.