Social Enterprise Development: A preventative approach to homelessness and displacement in Point Breeze, Philadelphia
Huntington, Cassandra Aaryn
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Social enterprise development focuses on creating economic value to help solve social problems. This thesis tests the viability of this concept by creating a mixed-use, mixed-income property in a low-income neighborhood in South Philadelphia. A profit-sharing financial model is used to support both affordable housing and transitional housing for homeless adolescents. The thesis uses biophilic design principles and values to explore architecture’s role in healing from adolescent trauma and preventing future health issues. This thesis presents a preventative solution to social issues rather than a reactive solution. Prevention of chronic homelessness and prevention of displacement are key to addressing social injustice and help break cycles of poverty in low-income communities. This thesis exemplifies architecture’s ability to provide equal access to both housing and services to help the most vulnerable members of society and help them become self-sufficient and contributing members of the community.