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AARP Nebraska Announces Winners of “An ADU for U” Omaha Design Competition

This past July, AARP Nebraska announced the launch of a rare and unique Omaha architecture design competition called “An ADU for U.” An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a small house or apartment residing on a single-family residence’s property lot. They can be located within, attached, or detached from the primary residence.

“The growing population of older adults in the Omaha area and across the U.S. is putting a squeeze on the supply of housing for this demographic. ADUs are an affordable but underutilized housing option that could be the answer for many families,” shared AARP Nebraska’s State Director Todd Stubbendieck.

The idea behind the competition was to increase awareness of how ADUs may be employed to help meet Omaha’s housing needs, including those of older adults. One aspect of outreach included Omaha’s ACE Mentoring Program which provides local area students with opportunities.

“Many Omaha residents desire to age in place; however, their current homes are either too large, too maintenance heavy, or simply not designed for them to live safely and independently,” added Karna Loewenstein, AARP Nebraska’s Volunteer Lead on this effort.

The initiative drew a positive response from various architecture and design firms with some choosing to submit multiple entries. Judging was conducted by a panel of housing experts. The panel was looking for viable, buildable ADU plans offering key design elements that were truly age-friendly and consistent with home styles in the area. Age-friendly features included step-free routes, removal of upper cabinetry, easily accessible controls, as well as placement of common household appliances such as microwaves and washer-dryers.

This select group of winning entrants includes: First Place - Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture ( in partnership with Assistology, LLC (; Second Place - Straightline Design, Inc. (; Third Place - Actual Architecture Co. (; and Honorable Mention - Macondo LLC.

These award recipients will be honored at a reception in late November and are now eligible to work with the City of Omaha as part of their new Fast Track permitting program.

To learn more, visit the competition’s website at AARP Nebraska, in conjunction with the RL Mace Universal Design Institute, sponsored the 2023 “An ADU for U” Accessory Dwelling Unit Design Competition along with local partners including the City of Omaha, Front Porch Investments, Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, Omaha by Design, and Spark CDI.

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