Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Planning, Design, and the Built Environment

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jason Lucas

Committee Member

Dr. Dhaval Gajjar

Committee Member

Dr. Elizabeth Baldwin

Committee Member

Dr. Stephen Buckman


Housing serves as a source of identity and provides privacy, a sense of security, and stability to the occupant (Skobba, Osinubi, & Tinsley, 2020). However, there is not enough housing available to support low-income households who struggle to pay rent or are homeless (Luque, 2020). According to Skobba & Tinsley (2016) 43% of the people who do not live in the metro areas of the United States are living in the South and facing unique challenges. In South Carolina, there are about 72,000 subsidized housing units, which is only enough to serve one out of every five low-income households. Many small towns are struggling to provide options for affordable housing to meet this growing need.

In a comparative study approach, this dissertation examines the affordable housing diversity opportunities, development challenges, and deployed strategies used by small towns in the upstate region of South Carolina. This was accomplished by the review of affordable housing developments completed after 2010. The cities of Gaffney, Spartanburg, Anderson, and Greenwood were evaluated for this study. The collected data and case analysis were utilized in a cross-sectional study to identify categories from the cases distinguished as unique and shared themes. The examination of affordable housing developments and community integration initiatives used to address community capitals concerns in the cases were identified, are discussed.

Through affordable homeownership developments, the city and private partners (such as nonprofits and private developers) provided affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate-income residents. This was made possible by deploying financing strategies to ensure affordability for households in the towns. Many of these strategies come with stipulations that pose unique challenges to small towns that are often difficult to overcome. This study focused on identifying these challenges and how they were approached by project stakeholders.

Variations in development objectives exist, which affect the strategies that are used during the development planning process. Findings from this study include issues of where the neighborhood’s in which the developments are located. In Spartanburg and Anderson, the affordable housing developments included in this study was in part due to neighborhood improvement concerns. All four cases expressed early developer disinvestment in affordable housing development as a major challenge to completing affording housing provision. The annexation and use of infill development in the two smaller towns was found to be a method towards the provision of diverse, affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate-income households. Allowing them to integrate into the existing neighborhoods.

This study proposes recommendations of best practices to support small towns with similar demographic characteristics in the upstate region of South Carolina in evaluating potential opportunities for neighborhood improvement and affordable housing development in their community.

Author ORCID Identifier




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