The first event of what will be a housing multi-event, speaker series kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the SteamPlant Theater in Salida. Housing expert Brian Falk will be discussing the housing movement known as “Lean Urbanism,” and how its guiding principles might help Chaffee County address the joint challenges of housing and the impact of insecure housing on health.
Developed by the Chaffee County Department of Public Health and the Chaffee Office of Housing as part of a state-funded Health Disparities Grant Program, the 90-minute event is free and will include drawings for $100 and $150 gift cards. Childcare and dessert will be provided.
The national movement is known as “Lean Urbanism” has been embraced by planners, builders, architects, engineers and municipalities working to lower the barriers to community-building, creating what is known as “attainable housing” for working families. This is the first of an extended speaker series that will be held across Chaffee County over the next several months.
“Everyone knows that affordable housing is a major issue for Chaffee County,” said Chaffee Director of Housing Becky Gray. “But what not everyone understands is the link between housing and health, and the solutions that exist to help us address these challenges. Hearing from an expert…can stimulate discussion about creative approaches that might work for us.”
Falk is the director of the Project for Lean Urbanism and the Center for Applied Transect Studies, and lectures internationally on the topic. On Oct 2, Falk will also lead a lunch discussion in Buena Vista for the Economic Development Corporation, elected officials, city/town staff and planning and zoning commissions.
Chaffee County is pioneering this approach for the State of Colorado. “This speaker series is a unique program in the state,” said Chaffee Director of Public Health Andrea Carlstrom. “We’re really trying to look at health and housing in a holistic way and find solutions that acknowledge the diverse needs of our community.
“Our lack of adequate and affordable housing is directly tied to major health issues for our residents. These include chronic illnesses and environmental health problems like pollution,” added Carlstrom. “This isn’t a problem just for the housing experts. Everyone has a role to play.”