Building Better Homes: Government Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Housing

Building Better Homes: Government Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Housing

Building Better Homes: Government Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Housing

Building Better Homes: Government Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Housing

Synopsis

This study examines the rationale and strategies available to the federal goverment for promoting and accelerating innovation in housing.

Excerpt

Housing in the United States comes in varied forms depending on land, climate, and available resources. Over time, changes in design, materials, building techniques, financing, and planning have changed what homes are made of, how they are built, what we can do in them, and who can afford them. As a result of these changes— referred to as innovations in this report—the quality and nature of housing have improved significantly, although not evenly for all inhabitants in all places and times.

The true value of innovation is that it is a means to an end. For example, innovations in housing provide homeowners with more for less; enable homebuilders to build more-desirable homes at lower cost; and help governments address major challenges such as making homes more affordable, improving energy efficiency, and reducing susceptibility to natural disasters.

As will be discussed in this report, the housing industry is often described as having many characteristics that challenge the development and deployment of innovations. If this description is true, then a poorly functioning housing innovation system will undoubtedly deprive homeowners, homebuilders, and society of the benefits that innovation can provide. These concerns have led to recommendations that the federal government support innovation in housing.

The Congress and federal agencies have, in fact, been involved in innovation in housing for more than three decades through investment in research and programmatic activities. Federal efforts to promote innovation have also modified strategies and tactics over time to better work with industry, and this evolution continues today.

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