Can major housing problems be solved through computer games and simulations? Some scientists believe they can, or at least provide a great testing ground for research. We’re talking about sophisticated programs that look at many different variables and run highly detailed and complex algorithms to determine the best way to undertake urban planning, including affordable housing and efficient neighborhood layouts. These programs are more complex than popular video games like SimCity, CityVille, Club Penguin or Poptropica, but they share a common component: unlike the real world, if things don’t work out you can delete and start over. This dynamic allows scientists and urban planners to take several iterative passes at their planning. And have a little fun at it, too.
Affordable housing is a term used to describe dwelling units whose total housing costs are deemed reasonable to those that have a median income. Although the term is often applied to rental housing that is within the financial means of those in the lower income ranges of a geographical area, the concept is applicable to both renters and purchasers in all income ranges.
In the United States and Canada, a commonly accepted guideline for housing affordability is a housing cost that does not exceed 30% of a household’s gross income. Housing costs considered in this guideline generally include taxes and insurance for owners, and usually include utility costs. When the monthly carrying costs of a home exceed 30–35% of household income, then the housing is considered unaffordable for that household. These are only guidelines and you should do further research like a champ.
Remember, too, that the cost of housing is only one element to consider in the total picture. Overall cost of living needs to be taken into account. Rents and mortgages are only one part of the picture. Food, incidentals and other costs come into play. Of course, every home needs furniture, and whether you have a fancy bedroom and kitchen setup or just something simple with a cheap mattress, and a basic table and chairs, having a solution for furniture needs is all a part of affordable housing.
Affordable housing comes in all shapes and sizes, but is usually found in urban areas where there is dense population. But affordable housing can be found everywhere in the United States, from the densely urban streets of New York City or Los Angeles to the most remote towns in America like El Latino, Arizona and Point Barrow, Alaska. For more information on affordable housing in your area, consult your local neighborhood association, town or city government, or other local resources.