Casa y Comunidad: Latino home and neighborhood design
Fernando Pages Ruiz reviews Henry G. Cisneros's lastest book, Casa y Comunidad
Why should homebuilders care about Latino home and neighborhood design? For the same reason that any businessperson should be paying attention to a burgeoning market. According to the Hispanic Realtors Association, Latinos accounted for 40% of the total household growth from 1990 to 2000, and the trend is expected to accelerate. In 2000, the most-common homebuyer names were Brown, Miller, and Davis. By 2005, these names were expected to be replaced by Rodriguez, Garcia, and Hernandez. Although nearly 80% of the Anglo-American population already owns a home, only a small fragment of the increasing Latino segment of prospective homebuyers has put a down payment on the American Dream. But they can afford it in growing numbers.
This is good news for guys like me, homebuilders who cater to Latinos. And this is why I hope you do not read Henry G. Cisneros’s insightful new book about the rise of the Latino homebuyer, and the means and methods of reaching this community. Why should I invite more competition? It took me a lifetime to learn some of the secrets in this book; and still, I found much new information.
Cisneros, a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has brought together architects, builders, designers, and financiers specializing in the Latino market to lend their expertise for this collection of essays. Of special interest is Michael Anthony Mendez’s piece on the easy fit of New Urbanism with the Latino lifestyle. Warren Hanson’s chapter on building sustainable affordable housing is worth the price of the book and pertains to any market regardless of ethnicity.
Cisneros’s compelling introductory chapter details the importance of Latino home-buying power as a demographic rivaling the baby boomers. For anyone with a serious stake in home building or in real estate, this cogent, enlightening book bears reading, and re-reading.
—Fernando Pagés Ruiz is a builder in Lincoln, Neb.