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Law and Architecture Panel to Explore Alternatives to Multi-Family Housing

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Cost efficiency, as well as social and architectural diversity, are some of the reasons that multi-family buildings are becoming increasingly popular in some parts of the world. A lecture and panel discussion at Miami Law this week will explore "Building Communities in Germany: A Democratic Alternative to Multi-Family Housing."

Sponsored by Miami Law and the School of Architecture, the lecture on Friday, Sept. 28, will be given by Dr. Natan Hogrebe, a German lawyer and partner in the Berlin-based firm Schwenke & Schuetz. He specializes on legal advice for "building communities," in which private individuals collaborate in the construction of multi-family buildings according to their own ideas and for their own use. In Germany, this type of development has reached such a point of maturity that it is about to lose its niche status. In several places, it has become so favored by municipal officials that public land is being allocated exclusively for such building communities.

In addition to Dr. Hogrebe, the panel will feature Andrew Frey, a Miami-based lawyer, developer and urban activist; Robert Chisholm, a Miami-based architect and former city planner; Arden Shank, Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida; and Douglas Bischoff, Director of Miami Law's Graduate Program in Real Property Development.

Moderated by School of Architecture Professor Eric Firley, who recently wrote about housing types and planning processes, the panel discussion will focus on several issues, such as the primary legal, economic and cultural factors that have prevented such new concepts from taking hold in the U.S., and whether South Florida is an appropriate market for this type of community.

The panel discussion will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Faculty Meeting Room on the fourth floor of the Law Library.