Architects and government officials are joining forces to tackle Hawaii's housing shortage. They hope an active discussion with stakeholders will lead to sustainable solutions.

Kevin Miyamura from AMA/AE Architecture joined Good Morning Hawaii for a Q & A.

Q: What's your housing project about?

A: The Ola Ka`Ilima Artspace Lofts is a mixed-use affordable housing and arts community. 84 units of affordable live/work rental apartments are housed above street front arts retail space and also a new home for the PA`I Foundation, a local non-profit advocating for and practicing Native Hawaiian arts.

Q: How does that contribute to the overall goal of providing more housing for Hawaii?

A: In terms of numbers of units, our project barely makes a dent in what's needed. But we hope that this project provides just one built alternative to the typical housing project to demonstrate what can be done, and encourage others to also take up, provide, and improve on. It takes a broad scale of team effort - developers, planners, housing operators, community stakeholders, and not just architects & engineers - to make this happen.

Q: Talk about how housing projects like yours and others contribute to housing sustainability and walkability. Also, define those terms for us, please.

A: I think housing sustainability, like the environmental kind, means treating it like a resource and ensuring it remains for future generations, not just our own. It takes some hard work and sacrifice, but also means sharing it in equitable ways - which is easier said than done. Walkability is similar in that you're trying to ensure the the same access to your daily needs for all the residents of a city, without getting into a car. Mixed-use projects help you do that, by accommodating places for those ordinary retail services - i.e, the mom-and-pop stores - that accompany increased density.

Q: Any other talking points?

A: We're hoping that the work and discussion at this symposium builds on the same discussion and questions that've already been started by others, which is: how do we move forward with actionable steps to create and ensure housing appropriate to our islands and culture? What can each of us contribute to the effort?