Kanye West’s Affordable Housing Under Scrutiny

August 15, 2019

Rapper Kanye West wanted to change the look of affordable housing by using what’s been compared to scenes from a “Star Wars” movie with dome-like structures in a desert setting.

West broke ground last month for an affordable housing community in Calabasas, Calif. But state authorities are reportedly threatening to demolish the village if West doesn’t bring it into compliance with construction permits by Sept. 13.

West, who owns Yeezy Home, had unveiled a unique concrete affordable housing complex in 2018 for a 300-acre forested plot of land in Calabasas. The prototypes for the development have been compared to the Tatooine settlements from the first “Star Wars” movie. Tatooine was the sand planet where the movie’s character Luke Skywalker was raised.

West’s affordable housing development has been described as igloo-like homes with rounded domes that are framed in timber and sunken into the ground, with holes cut in the top to let in natural light. Others have described the homes as “skeletons of wooden spaceships” or as large “beehives.”

A column last month in Forbes reported that West was working on designing a low-income housing prototype that he hoped to shop the idea around to investors as a potential housing solution for the homeless.

State inspectors evaluated the area after receiving noise complaints from neighbors. The inspectors reportedly were told that the structures were intended to be temporary and did not need a permit for permanent construction. But the inspectors then noticed the homes had concrete foundations, which would require a permit.

State inspectors issued a citation last week that requires West to apply for approval from the city within 45 days. If the housing units are not approved by then, his affordable housing community would need to be dismantled.