David Smith


Sure! I Can Do That!

Ep. 6 - A visionary, David Smith feels we need to answer "Sure! I can do that!" to create value in the sky. His vision of changes needed for the future to supply affordable housing include transportation, more highrises in urban areas, zoning and infrastructure. As the family composition changes and technology revolutionizes home construction and home use, the physical and financial structure of housing needs to change.

Top Takeaways:

• How giving women opportunities to explore and be better benefits the community in general
• How to fight for the affordability of low-income housing for everyone involved
• Learn about the 'magic' phrase that answers every question of the affordable housing financing
• The four plus one sustainable jobs in the 21st century that exist in the sky
• How the physical and technological aspect of housing has changed in the last 50 years than in the 200 years prior

Learn about the fight that David put up against the federal government to benefit everyone in the low-income affordable housing sector.

"The most important words in my entire professional career and the answer to almost any question in affordable housing and finance is, "Sure! I can do that."

David Smith is a self-taught pioneer in affordable housing, building two successful companies including the Affordable Housing Institute which has worked in over 65 countries, with partners including World Bank, USAID, the Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. His financing of housing in India and many other countries has provided stability and quality in the home, providing women with home-businesses with disposible income to make a better life for their families.

David has 44+ years' of continuous professional focus on affordable housing in all its forms, AHI's founder and CEO David A. Smith has a global track record of conceptualizing, designing, negotiating, sourcing, and closing innovative transactions that create new products, programs, and entities. He has a reputation for insight, creativity, adaptive innovation, passion, client commitment, and problem‐solving. He knows the housing ecosystem of over forty countries, including comprehensive knowledge of the US ecosystem. David structures transactions, programs, policy models, and business strategies, and then can operationalize these into real practice.

Recognized globally as a forward‐looking thinker who spots, defines, and helps channel and productively reshape emerging housing and financing trends, David is a regular speaker at the World Bank's biannual Global Housing Finance Summits, a frequent keynote at US affordable housing conference, and the author of the affordable housing industry's must- read The Guru Is In monthly column, which he has published continuously for ten years. Many times he has been recognized by his peers with awards such as NH&RA's Vision Award, the Appraisal Institute's Robert H. Armstrong prize, and NAHRO's Lange Award for international work and accomplishment. He has taught or co‐led executive‐education at, among others, Harvard Business School, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the American University of Cairo.

Listen in to learn how the affordable housing sector has changed over the last 50 years and what is needed to develop it further in the future.

Key Moments:

He explains the project he created with AHI with grants from Gates and Rockefeller foundations to help women in the informal sector in India [2:28]

He describes how he fought the government in court for a long time and finally won and created to LIHPRHA 1990 that helps all people involved in low-income housing [11:04]

How the housing sector has changed in the last 50 years and lots of sectors that need to be rethought to make it even better for the future [21:16]

How to create a successful housing community where people live in close proximity while treating them like humans and with equality- the reinvention of public housing [31:39]

Affordable Housing Institute

David A. Smith | Harvard GSD Executive Education

LinkedIn David Smith

David Smith Receives 2014 Presidents Award

Making Poverty Housing History
AHI's Solution to the Problem of Global Affordable Housing

Health Secure Housing

Guide Star

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