SOCIAL ARCHITECTURE AND BIODIVERSITY CENTER (S.A.B. CENTER) is a non-profit organization registered on Mach 9, 2020 in California. The purpose of the non-profit was to carry a demonstration program on affordable housing. With covid-19, the project has evolved and to reduce financial risks, we have dropped the idea of purchasing a land and developing it. This is probably something we are going to attempt later and in partnership with a developer.
The past two years have raised many questions about the purpose of the S.A.B. Center. After all, there are already many local organisations to build affordable housing and to offer programs against homelessness. We started in March 2020 with a statement, we tried to offer solutions and it did not happen, but while doing this, we wrote to Ron Galperin, the controler of Los Angeles to offer our insight on the situation. The email was saying:
“Dear Mr Galperin,
Following the article of Gale Holland in LA Times, I invite you to read this post: https://sabcenter.org/affordable-housing-in-los-angeles/
I compare the prices of one proposition HHH project with the real market.
I am conducting a R&D program to debunk those kinds of over costs.
Here is the executive summary of the R&D program: https://sabcenter.org/executive-summary/
- Members of the S.A.B. Center can access the archive of executive documents with the letters and all articles.
On March 14, 2021, Ron Galperin published this article in the Daily News:Its-time-for-Los-Angeles-to-pivot-on-HHH_-Ron-Galperin-–-Daily-News
On February 23, 2022, the California Globe published an article citing Ron Galperin.LA-Controller-Questions-Proposition-HHH-and-High-Homeless-Housing-Costs-California-Globe
This was the beginning of a new communication policy from the city of Los Angeles. Same day of February 23, 2022, the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing was passing the same message: AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS TOO EXPENSIVE.SCANPH-Response-to-Latest-HHH-Audit-from-City-Controller-—-scanph
There is no evidence that the S.A.B. Center may have been behind those articles, inspiring them or opening a new reflexion on the costs, but still, we have enough evidence to know how important it is to research, to analyse, examine, make proposals, share ideas and put together the strength and the methodology to make things, build prototypes, audit projects, analyse a district, help developers, architects and contractors to find a common interest in building better quality affordable housing.
The purpose of the S.A.B. Center, as defined in our research program is to define the notion of “quality”, “affordable”, “sustainable”, “environmentally friendly”, “socially friendly” but also “smart” and “modern” in order to inspire a vision for better “social responsibility”. We don’t take ideas from the box and by only opening books. We also take our ideas from the field not only looking at problems but also looking at beauties.
As the project was maturing, we adjoined a very important tool to our methodology in order to communicate on the ground of common values. We can analyse and depict “affordable housing” in many ways and always find excuses, but what if we add “ethics”. Religiousmap.com became our field of work to analyse “ethics” through architecture and define the terms of our approach. The idea was also to fix a timeline where we have a past, a present and a future and through the architecture of Los Angeles, analyse the future.
Los Angeles is a little bit like Constantinople in its time and it committed the same revolution. Los Angeles would not have existed without the peplums, without the code Hayes and without the constant questioning about the “true” and the “false” or the way something “true” can be instrumentalized to construct a narrative with fantazy. The politics affiliated to this incredible power, how politics battle with lawmakers and how they constantly question our standards, our humanity, all this context made Hollywood, not only the movies. How to place “morals” in a story, how to build a patriotic view, how to love the “right” rather than the “ugly” has triggered interest and this “demand” created the power.
Los Angeles is widely open to tourists and not so open with its own people. There is a strong class struggle and a strong classification, but it has not always been like that. With religiousmap.com, the idea is to create a Tour about the religious history of Los Angeles and how this “purpose” of building a “new religion”, a “new humanity” and a “new evolution” placed landmarks to narrate human history. Through Los Angeles architectural landmarks, we are going to define and question the “ethics” and through ethics, we will define “affordable housing”.
“Affordable” does not have to be “cheap” or low quality. “Affordable” means that we make it affordable because this is my belief, and this is what I tend to bring in the S.A.B. Center, it is my belief that building a society where quality products are made “affordable” tends to make a better society.
Architects, when they finish school to enter the world of “business” are required to make a pledge and this pledge is to serve the common good of the public. It does not say politics or finances or businesses or land owners or tenants. It says the public in general, rich and poor, who ever they are. This is all the purpose of the S.A.B. Center.
The purpose is not to build affordable houses for the poor, but to make them rich and to make the rest of the community rich by creating the tools that can benefit the public. We are not interested in only building houses, but in creating life around them with stores, schools, hobbies and businesses. We want to build villages with a purpose. This purpose is economical through the way to finance it, to build it and choose the materials.
We don’t come with ready made ideas, but with many years of research on the field of architecture and this experience gives us enough knowledge to analyse situations, audit them, survey the solutions we may want to implement, collaborate with developers, cities and neighborhoods, then draft the lines with architects, develop our ideas, train contractors and builders, certify products and systems, work with insurance companies. We have experience in all those fields and share this experience to make it a school where students can be trained in engineering happiness.
We believe that architecture shall make the people happy, feeling safe and secured in all aspects of their lives. This is a strong political statement that a flourishing population makes a country stronger, what may have many impacts at different levels of the society. The purpose of the S.A.B. Center is to analyse all this, all the resources that we may have and the consequences. We don’t stand by the politics but we want the politics to stand by us. We want to be inspirational through our studies, our analysis, our prototypes, our demonstrations, our intellectual reflection, our commitment to quality work and ethics.
Create economic tools to make affordable housing interesting for investors, home owners, renters and interesting enough for homeless people to stay housed.
When there is an epidemy, we ask doctors what to do. Here there is an housing crisis, and we don’t ask architects what to do while it is their job to know exactly what to do.