Affordable and Resilient Housing for New Bern

Project Description

The lack of affordable housing is a national problem. It is particularly acute in underserved communities that have suffered from disinvestment, structural inequality, and environmental impacts due to climate change. The Duffyfield neighborhood in New Bern, NC has a rich history as a vibrant and resilient African-American community that has withstood racial, economic, and land use discrimination. More recently it has suffered years of periodic flooding, disinvestment, and population and housing loss.

The Affordable and Resilient Housing for New Bern Project focused on the design of affordable and resilient housing prototypes for Duffyfield. During Spring Semester 2022 eleven students in an advanced architectural design studio produced research and visualized housing solutions for rebuilding housing in the community. Throughout the semester, students produced scholarly and design research aimed at solutions to the housing problems faced by the Duffyfield community.

The research included affordable and resilient housing precedents, equitable, sustainable and resilient design and development practices, leading-edge construction materials, methods, and delivery systems, and emerging concepts of meaningful placemaking. The project research assistant also researched and documented pertinent demographic, historical, environmental, housing and transportation contexts, current planning documents, zoning and building codes, building and site inventories, and other areas germane to the project. Substantive community development studies produced by the City of New Bern informed the project’s focus, including the Greater Five Points Transformation Plan (2016) and Redevelopment Plan (2020) informed the project research and design. Videos of the research outcomes can be viewed below.

The project process included presentations to specialists in affordable and resilient housing and city partners, and design workshops with visiting experts. It did not include community engagement, which had been successfully accomplished in the Greater Five Points study, but was a research and design project focused on affordable and resilient housing prototypes. In particular, the project focused on the design of single family housing, but also included “missing middle” housing of duplexes, triplexes, quads, townhomes and accessory dwelling units.

Demonstration projects on scattered sites in three focus areas identified by the city addressed site-responsive, accessible, affordable, sustainable, and resilient housing, including construction materials, assembly, and delivery systems and strategies for flood-prone areas. Additionally, each project included local placemaking that included streetscapes of sidewalks, on-street parking, lighting and, in some cases, community parks and greenspaces.

The goal is to provide the city of New Bern best practices, strategies and housing prototypes that will productively inform their goals of revitalizing the physical community of Duffyfield, including providing affordable and resilient housing that allows existing residents to stay in their community and attracting others to move there.


Project Conducted Spring Semester 2022


Thomas Barrie FAIA, Director: Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative

Project Partners

Frank Lopez, Extension Director, NC Sea Grant & Water Resources Research Institute

Nadia Abdul-Hadi, Planner, City of New Bern

Matthew Schelly, Interim Director of Development Services, New Bern, NC

Alice Wilson, GIS Manager, City of New Bern

Visiting Experts

David Maurer AIA, Principal, Maurer Architecture/TightLines Designs

Byron Mouton, Director of Urbanbuild, Lacey Senior Professor of Practice, Tulane University

David Perkes, Professor and Director, Mississippi State Gulf Coast Community Design Center

Project Consultants

Andy Fox FASLA, PLA, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, Co-Director, Coastal Dynamics Design Lab

David Hill FAIA, Professor and Chair, School of Architecture, Co-Director, Coastal Dynamics Design Lab

Gavin Smith Ph.D., AICP, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Research Assistant

Gayatri Ganesh (M.Arch.)


Clayton Johnson

Mark Storch

Harish Palani

Tenecia Jones

Golsa Motevalli

Brianna Creviston

Hima Thaker

Erin Kennedy

Gayatri Ganesh

Mairead Maley

Brailey Lee


Project Report

AH+SC_NCSU_New Bern 2022


Project Research

• Project Introduction


• Community Capacity Building and Placemaking

Mark Storch and Brailey Lee


• Equity, Sustainability and Resiliency | Housing + Development Practices

Erin Kennedy, Harish Palani and Meg Maley

• Affordable and Resilient Housing

Tenecia Jones, Gayatri Ganesh, Brianna Creviston and Golsa Motevalli


• Leading Edge Construction Methods and Materials

Clayton Johnson and Hima Thaker


Selected Student Projects

Single Family Houses | Clayton Johnson


Presentation_Single Family_Clayton Johnson


Single Family House + Accessory Dwelling Unit | Brianna Creviston

Presentation_Single Family+ADU_Brianna Creviston


Flood Resilient Single Family | Harish Palani

Presentation_Flood Resilient Single Family_Harish Palani


Disaster Response Single Family | Gayatri Ganesh

Presentation_Disaster Response_Gayatri Ganesh


Cottage Court Duplexes | Hima Thaker

Presentation_Cottage Courts_Hima Thaker

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