Designing for affordability


I recently read the opinion piece about “Welcoming more racial diversity through affordable housing” by Shane Czarnecki (Re: Guest Column, Dec. 24, 2020), and I have a different take on this on-going problem for Boulder and many other cities across America. 

As someone who has considered the option of affordable housing both in Boulder and in Austin, Texas, I can say that there is something far bigger happening in this industry than meets the eye. But first, I really do take issue with Mr. Czarnecki’s assumption that a) diverse families are lower-class and that b) diversity comes in the form of low-income minority residents. In fact, I second R. Lawrence (Re: “More on housing,” Letters, Jan. 7, 2021) in questioning the long-standing tradition of equating minorities with low-income and in need of affordable housing. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t this in itself a racist perspective?

As a feng shui consultant, I look at homes differently than most people. Specifically, I look at how they will match the desire to be abundant and successful once there. One of the things that I have noticed the most about housing created specifically with the intention of being affordable is that it does not offer the potential for long-term abundance or success. Let me say that again in a different way. The layouts of all the affordable housing floor plans I’ve seen have crucial design flaws which perpetuate a state of lack and dependency. I doubt that this has been done intentionally, but it has been done, nonetheless.

This theory has its roots in my 20-plus years of feng shui consultations and studies which demonstrate time and again that our homes are an external expression of our often hidden internal fears, beliefs and vibrations. You could even say that the home attracts the belief pattern of the person and vice versa. Our homes reflect us in all the life areas that are contained within the study of feng shui such as health, wealth, family and relationships, to name a few. Therefore, it is no surprise that a person who is initially stuck in a pattern of low-income opportunities will match the typical “affordable housing” layout. The ethnicity of that person is irrelevant. 

I have an acquaintance who has lived in affordable housing since moving to Boulder more than 10 years ago. This also happens to be the same time that she became a single parent. Over the years, her ability to stay in this rent-controlled apartment has been dependent on her making no more than $60,000 a year. While there have been times that she has been close to exceeding this amount, she has simultaneously been encouraged by the apartment management to dial back her success in order to live within the limits set. So, I must ask, where is the incentive to break free from this restrictive income ceiling when doing so means that eviction is guaranteed? Wouldn’t it be better to create affordable homes that evolve with the person? 

It is my opinion that homes designated as “affordable” need to be designed so that they help those with a financial need, but which also encourage them to break free from this energetic trap of limitation. The question then is can affordable housing be designed to eventually promote abundance? I believe it can, but it will require thinking outside of the box and viewing this controversial topic from a totally new perspective. While some may point to a need to build more affordable housing on the protected and much-loved lands surrounding Boulder, it is more advisable to create affordable housing that supports rather than suppresses a person’s financial growth and independence.  

Logynn B. Northrhip is a Boulder-born, Texas-raised feng shui consultant, yoga instructor and freelance writer. 

This opinion does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.


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