First Advisor

Mrinalini Tankha

Term of Graduation

Fall 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology






Housing -- Oregon -- Oregon City, Community development -- Oregon -- Oregon City, Sustainable design



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 107 pages)


Asset-based community development (ABCD) is a development framework, created in response to the dominant, top-down approach typically taken by community development projects today. Using the ABCD process and participatory design research, this project sought to investigate the needs of future residents of the Maple Lane housing complex, an intergenerational affordable housing community, in Oregon City, Oregon. I worked with the Center for Public Interest Design (CPID) and in collaboration with Community Development Partners (CDP) and Hacienda Community Development Corporation (Hacienda CDC), my research examines how the ABCD framework and socially-responsible participatory design can be used to better identify, document and serve the needs of intergenerational communities living in affordable housing. My research focused on the needs of community members and potential future residents of the Maple Lane housing complex. I conducted 37 virtual, semi-structured qualitative interviews, two virtual focus groups, and one virtual design workshop, with community-based organizations, local residents, and current affordable housing residents. Using an inductive approach and grounded theory, I found that concerns around equity, inclusion, security and accessibility were the most important considerations for communities in the design of the affordable housing development. I argue that while the ABCD process and participatory design approaches could improve residents' experiences in affordable housing developments, more transformative structural change is needed to address the historical problems of racialized inequality and narratives of stigma associated with affordable housing in America. Additionally, I argue that the discipline of applied anthropology still needs to work to make itself relevant outside of the academy, and that our temporal thinking needs to adapt to become more future-oriented.


© 2021 Hannah Lopez

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Persistent Identifier