Ivory Innovations, a leading organization dedicated to addressing the housing affordability crisis, announced winners of the the 2023 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability on Wednesday, May 24, at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference held in Anaheim, California.
Four exceptional organizations 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 transformative initiatives of these deserving winners.
The winners of the 2023 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability actively address the challenge of affordable housing through interconnected approaches. The Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth empowers Black homebuyers by providing down-payment assistance, enabling the creation of generational wealth. Diamond Age uses cutting-edge industrial-scale robotics, revolutionizing new home construction and addressing the labor shortage while increasing affordability. The National Zoning Atlas brings transparency to zoning laws, illuminating their impact on housing availability. PermitFlow streamlines construction permitting processes, expediting housing development in ways that can lower costs and increase affordability. These winners embody innovation, equity, transparency and efficiency, collectively driving solutions for housing affordability.
“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,” said 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.”
Additional details about the four winners are included below and here.
Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth (Denver, Colorado)
Committed to closing the racial wealth gap and promoting Black homeownership by providing crucial 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.”
Diamond Age (Phoenix, Arizona)
An automation platform that makes people more efficient and productive to drive affordability in single-family home construction.
“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 creating 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.”
National Zoning Atlas (Ithaca, New York)
An extraordinary 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.”
PermitFlow (San Jose, California)
Accelerating the construction permitting process to reduce risk and costs, creating new avenues to build housing more affordably and efficiently.
“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.”
These visionary winners embody the spirit of innovation and demonstrate the power of transformative ideas in solving the housing affordability crisis. Each organization’s unique approach showcases the potential to revolutionize the housing industry, from leveraging advanced robotics to promoting generational wealth and addressing regulatory barriers.
“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.”
The Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability is a testament to the transformative power of innovation in creating a more equitable and accessible housing landscape. Ivory Innovations remains committed to championing innovators, inspiring change, and fostering collaborations that drive tangible solutions to the housing affordability crisis.
About Ivory Innovations
Ivory Innovations is dedicated to catalyzing innovative solutions in housing affordability. Utilizing its network and resources, Ivory Innovations promotes the most compelling ideas in housing affordability, working across sectors and providing monetary awards with the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. Additionally, in partnership with the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, Ivory Innovations places students at the center of its efforts, through Hack-A-House—an annual entrepreneurial competition—as well as scholarships, a course on housing innovation, and internships that place students at the core of the Ivory Prize search. For more information about the Ivory Prize and Ivory Innovations, visit ivoryinnovations.org.