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Cityscape: Volume 11 Number 1: Chapter 9


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lessons for the United States From Asian Nations

Volume 11 Number 1

Insulating Concrete Forms: Walls for a Better Home

Mike Blanford

Industrial Revolution

Every home makes compromises among different and often competing goals: comfort, convenience, durability, energy consumption, maintenance, construction costs, appearance, strength, community acceptance, and resale value. Often consumers and developers making the tradeoffs among these goals do so with incomplete information, increasing the risks and slowing the adoption of innovative products and processes. This slow diffusion negatively affects productivity, quality, performance, and value. This department of Cityscape presents, in graphic form, a few promising technological improvements to the U.S. housing stock. If you have an idea for a future department feature, please send your diagram or photograph, along with a few, well-chosen words, to

This article reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


The status quo for a home's walls, both foundation and above-grade walls, has been concrete masonry units (concrete block) or cast-in-place (poured) concrete and wood stud construction, respectively. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) offer a viable alternative to the status quo. ICFs provide energy efficiency and structural strength advantages over conventional wood or concrete construction.