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Cityscape: Volume 17 Number 2 | Article 14


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.

Affordable, Accessible, Efficient Communities

Volume 17, Number 2

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Industrial Revolution: Rainscreens: An Established Technique for Advanced Wall Construction

Brian Wolfgang
Ehsan Kamel
Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

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

Exterior wall claddings have been found to be durable over many years when installed on poorly insulated, inefficient structures. As emphasis has been put on increased insulation in the building envelope—the lack of heat transmission across wall assemblies has reduced the ability of these systems to dry after they become wet. That is when rainscreen systems become a solution to increase the durability of light-frame wall systems. The increased ability to drain bulk water and to dry by convection allows for wall systems to have a sustainable interaction with the environment.


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