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The Future of Home Building and Residential Construction

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Photo courtesy Ivory Innovations

Ivory Innovations, an organization dedicated to addressing the housing affordability crisis, announced the winners of the 2023 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. The announcement took place at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) held in Anaheim, Calif. These four organizations have emerged as champions of innovation, demonstrating outstanding ambition, feasibility, and scalability in their efforts to tackle the urgent issue of housing affordability. Ivory Innovations will distribute a total of $300,000 in prize money to support the initiatives of these four winners.

The previously announced finalists for the award came from a selection of over 200 nominees. Finalists for the Ivory Prize are selected by the Ivory Innovations’ Advisory Board, which is composed of the top minds in housing across the U.S., according to Ivory Innovations.

"These remarkable winners of the 2023 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability exemplify the spirit of innovation and the transformative impact it can have on addressing the pressing housing affordability crisis," says Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes and Founder of Ivory Innovations. "Their visionary approaches, from harnessing industrial-scale robotics to empowering marginalized communities, streamlining processes, and bringing transparency to zoning laws, inspire us to push boundaries and create a more accessible and equitable housing future for all."

1. Diamond Age

Construction & Design Winner

Diamond Age uses cutting-edge industrial-scale robotics to build homes at scale. Its automation platform allows for increased efficiency and productivity on the jobsite, driving affordability and speed in single-family home construction. Read more about Diamond Age's innovative process here.

“Winning the Ivory Prize is a milestone event in the short history of Diamond Age—it’s a tribute to our team's dedication to create affordability in single-family housing,” said Jack Oslan, CEO of Diamond Age. “The current state of innovation in construction technology, though robust, is primarily focused on incremental improvements vs. systemic change. Diamond Age is focused on changing the way homes are built—converting physically demanding manual labor into technology-focused jobs that will attract a new generation of workers into the industry. Although capital intensive, our first principles approach to replace not all, but the majority of onsite manual labor with automation, enables a practical, affordable, and scalable solution with a clear roadmap to profitability.”

2. Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth

Finance Winner

Committed to closing the racial wealth gap and promoting Black homeownership, the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth provides down-payment assistance to first-time Black and African American homebuyers.

"Many Black and African American families are considered 'mortgage-ready,' but lack the capital needed for a down payment due to historic housing discrimination that has prevented Black people from building wealth. Moreover, the rising cost of housing in many U.S. cities leaves families vulnerable to displacement due to rising rents. To address this centuries-old issue and advance housing stability, we've created a new financing tool that invests in and alongside Black homeowners in the form of returnable down-payment assistance," said Aisha T. Weeks, Managing Director of the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth. "The Ivory Prize is meaningful to us because it recognizes the program for our place-based impact, and elevates the Dearfield Fund as a scalable and replicable solution that can be used nationally to address housing affordability and to build generational wealth."

3. National Zoning Atlas

Policy & Regulatory Reform Co-Winner

The National Zoning Atlas is a collaboration of researchers dedicated to digitizing, demystifying, and democratizing approximately 30,000 U.S. zoning codes.

"For the first time, the National Zoning Atlas is democratizing, demystifying, and digitizing our nation's 30,000 or more zoning codes," said Sara Bronin, founder of the National Zoning Atlas. "By analyzing a hundred different regulatory characteristics on every inch of zonable land, we're informing state and local policy decisions about housing, transportation, climate change, and public infrastructure. We are so grateful to be recognized by the Ivory Prize for this work, and we hope with this recognition that more people will use our data to catalyze reform - or even join or start an atlas team.”

4. PermitFlow

Policy & Regulatory Reform Co-Winner

PermitFlow streamlines construction permitting processes, expediting housing development in ways that can lower costs and increase affordability.

“We are grateful for the Ivory Prize recognition and it will help us further our work of improving the construction permitting process,” said Francis Thumpasery, CEO of PermitFlow. “Permitting processes and timelines can vary greatly for each project, and this lack of standardization makes it hard for builders to develop new units in a timely and cost effective manner. We are excited to scale our solution across the industry and look forward to continued technology adoption to lower costs, increase efficiency, and improve housing affordability.”

"This year's winners represent the very best in innovation and their solutions offer a glimpse into what the future of housing can be," said Abby Ivory, Managing Director of Ivory Innovations. "We are honored to showcase their groundbreaking work and remain dedicated to supporting and amplifying their impact in making housing more affordable for everyone."

Click here to read more about the winners and the Ivory Prize award.

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