Hive 2018 deans: (l to r) standing in for Carol Galante, Sara Draper Zivetz, associate director, Terner Center for Housing Innovation; Anne Torney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, partner, Mithun;  Fritz Wolff, co-founder, Katerra; Caroline Vary, managing director of asset management, Jonathan Rose Companies; and Natalie Bruss, partner, Fifth Wall.
Hive 2018 deans: (l to r) standing in for Carol Galante, Sara Draper Zivetz, associate director, Terner Center for Housing Innovation; Anne Torney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, partner, Mithun; Fritz Wolff, co-founder, Katerra; Caroline Vary, managing director of asset management, Jonathan Rose Companies; and Natalie Bruss, partner, Fifth Wall.

Who are these five people and what are they up to, and why does it matter to you?

  • San Francisco Bay Area architect Anne Torney sees design's power to win favor for new housing projects NIMBY activists and local agencies typically doom to city and town morgues for developments-that-might-have-been.
  • New York-based development strategist Caroline Vary considers the present-day social impact interests' moment of truth to turn the tide on conventional financial structures and capital stacks.
  • Los Angeles area based venture capitalist Natalie Bruss--in the vanguard of real estate technology's sudden release of value, from home internet of things functionality to construction's complex infrastructure itself--foresees an ongoing stream of marriages between Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Main Street, and industrial America that change housing's economics of both cost and value.
  • For Scottsdale, Az.-based real estate developer and global investment strategist--and Katerra co-founder--Fritz Wolff, the opportunity now is to "bend the cost curve" and unleash construction productivity, by applying technology, scale, and transformative private, public, and household-level currency and commitment.
  • Northern California-based educator and housing policy and affordability leader Carol Galante detects productive pathways between housing's unmet needs and a surging-like-never-before alignment of household data, building technologies, political will, relationships on the ground, and social capital to make change.

Meet Hive's deans, the heart and soul of an extensive multi-year commitment to "Reignite the Dream," and renew America's narrative of social and economic mobility for those who can and do work to earn it. You can see official titles and backgrounds on Anne, Caroline, Natalie, Fritz, and Carol, by clicking on their respective names.

Our deans' laser focus--coming from their assortment of disciplines and organizations, with a defining common DNA denominator of disruptive innovation--is on America's "missing middle" households. They're the ones who earn average wages but are priced-out of more and more of our nation's housing markets.

These five individuals--whose frames of reference, business models, geographical exposure, and measures of organizational success vary across a wide spectrum--look at asymmetries between today's barrage of runaway development and building expense trajectories and people's household means, like you and me. They see hard, hard, problems, cross-purposes, conflicting interests, enormous complexity, political ambivalence, polarization, outright antagonism, and supply-demand market forces like anybody else.

What they don't see are two things, impossibility nor externality. Impossible problems, for one. External--or exogenous--barriers that are up-to-somebody-else-to-decide and solve, secondly. Instead, they see urgency, and an opportunity to do work that matters for their businesses, and for housing stakeholders, including those in the "missing middle" of America's big and small cities, towns, and rural areas.

Instead, they imagine, wake up each day and work for, and coalesce around action, solutions, and their own self-efficacy in meeting the hard challenges for private sector, market rate, for-sale, for-rent, and affordable developers head on.

You can join us--and these innovators who've each hand-crafted a glimpse at how to be both successful as firms and effective as a business community in light of our known affordability and attainability challenge--for what will go down as a transformative moment in the shape of housing's present and future at this year's Hive event, in Austin. Register now.

You'll hear again and again from each of them and together, that the housing affordability problem today has root causes--complex, stubborn, divisive, and self-perpetuating--that, while complicated and difficult, are both addressable and susceptible to change. Tapping the deep well of community-building knowledge and relationships real estate development leaders have cultivated over time, and the equally potent accelerators of building technology and data, the deans each have a message and specific challenge to action around:

  1. Design's capacity to transform local opposition to community support.
  2. Strategy's ability to leverage financial and social impact capital to model housing, environment, and social repair and resilience among America's cities and towns.
  3. Investment's ability to marry real property value growth with technology- and data-fueled intellectual property to improve living at home, building and rebuilding housing.
  4. Building technology's fence-jumping capability to unleash unheard of productivity into construction's build-to-value stream.
  5. Data and household market intelligence's role in bringing measures--quantitative and qualitative--and maps to opportunity, action, and success.

For these five compelling reasons, and because of both the urgency and the ability to make a material difference on outcomes in both housing affordability and affordable housing for American workers in the nation's missing middle, we hope you'll be with us to listen to, heed, and act on our deans' challenges, innovative thinking, and suggested paths of action toward progress.

Whether it's building high-end housing, communities for middle class Americans pursuing social and economic mobility, or neighborhoods for our urban, suburban, and rural residents who need supportive housing options, the challenge to "bend the cost curve" is a helical series of challenges around productivity, political will, and financial structures and tools.

You can't achieve success in one of these dimensions without catalyzing new ways of thinking and acting in each of the other two. At the same time, you won't get progress on these three opportunity areas without applying brilliance, skills, and elbow grease to each separate challenge.

That's why we're grateful to be working with such a uniquely inspiring and collectively motivating team of Hive deans. See you at Hive, in Austin, Nov. 28-29, at the JW Marriott. You can and should join us there to help shape housing's near and long term future.

This article was originally published on Builder.