Terner labs


Terner labs

Policies and regulations Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact
Urban Design

Main objectives of the project

Terner Labs, affiliated with UC Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation, utilize data, transparent methodologies, and innovative approaches. Their aim is to support policymakers in devising more effective solutions to California's housing crisis.


  • 2019: Implementation


  • Terner Center


Continent: North America
Country/Region: San Jose, United States of America


In response to California's significant housing crisis, UC Berkeley established the Terner Labs as part of the Terner Center, aiming to tackle the issue head-on. The mission of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation is to develop innovative strategies to provide affordable housing for families from diverse backgrounds in sustainable and vibrant communities. Founded in 2015, the Terner Center has swiftly emerged as a leading advocate for identifying and advancing solutions to the nation's most challenging housing issues.

The Terner Labs, the main innovative arm of the center, comprises three distinct labs. The oldest among them is the Housing Venture Lab, established in 2019. This lab serves as an accelerator, offering comprehensive support to entrepreneurs with fresh and bold ideas aimed at enhancing the accessibility, equity, and sustainability of housing. Through the lab, entrepreneurs gain access to a network of leading figures in construction, policymaking, nonprofits, and entrepreneurship on a national scale. Moreover, they receive guidance from experienced professionals and strategic partners to chart a course for substantial impact. Then, they can test the ideas and analyze how they work.

The Data Solutions Lab focuses on developing data-driven tools for housing and land use modeling, enabling policymakers, researchers, and advocates to make well-informed decisions regarding community housing. A notable tool developed by this lab is the housing supply simulator. This simulator assesses the potential impact of policy changes, such as adjusting height limits or unit numbers, on the types of housing developed at different scales. Furthermore, it evaluates the financial viability and likelihood of development across various building types, zoning categories, and neighborhoods. Additionally, it predicts how policy alterations could affect housing production in proximity to transit, in areas susceptible to displacement, or in regions prone to wildfires, among other considerations.

Lastly, the Builders Lab, set to launch in 2024, will collaborate with emerging leaders in architecture, engineering, and construction to implement and scale innovative methods that streamline housing delivery nationwide. The lab aims to cultivate a cohort of ventures that pioneer advancements in construction techniques to facilitate the provision of affordable housing.

Collectively, these three labs exemplify how leveraging data, engaging stakeholders, and harnessing technology can pave the way for more effective housing policies.