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Cityscape: Volume 16 Number 2 | Guest Editors' Introduction


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.

Form Follows Families: Evolution of U.S. Affordable Housing Design and Construction

Volume 16, Number 2

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Guest Editor's Introduction: The Most Common of Buildings: The Design and Construction of U.S. Homes and the Households That Occupy Them

Carlos E. Martín
Urban Institute


During our nation's recent housing boom and the subsequent contraction, images of homes of varying size and designs, and in various stages of luxury or disrepair, littered the covers of popular magazines and newspaper articles. Any glimpse at cable television programming devoted solely to consumers' stylistic preferences would extol the latest and greatest in housing size, functional layouts, and architectural finishes. All these images have served as visual markers of their times and, in some recent cases, historical ruins.

Behind the facades and walls, however, the design and construction of housing of all types are manifestations of numerous industrial, economic, and cultural trends as much as they are symbolic of those trends. The physical structure, function, and aesthetics of homes also contribute to numerous social outcomes—not the least of which are resident well-being, household financial outlays, and social status. Indeed, the connections between our physical housing and housing’s social and economic import are numerous.

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