Building Tomorrow

Building Tomorrow

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Few detailed studies that involve complex interactions of social, economic, and technical factors have much direct and immediate impact on the real world. This study could well be one of those few exceptions. Arthur Bernhardt, an internationally known building industry expert, recognized as the leading authority on the mobile home industry, has compiled in this book overwhelming evidence that applying the efficient methods and techniques of that industry to other, older sectors of the building industry will enable the United States and countries around the world to overcome the housing crisis, making it possible to divert some of the expenditures for public subsidization of housing to other social priorities. Far from advocating an endless sprawl of mobile home parks as the basis for tomorrow's housing, Bernhardt states at the outset that qas the housing crisis continues to worsen, many people are asking whether mobile homes might become a viable housing alternative.... My personal answer is 'I hope not!'q Rather, his goal is to transfer the innovative spirit and built-in efficiencies of the mobile home production and delivery system to a full range of housing configurations. Bernhardt reached this conclusion only after overcoming an initial skepticisma€”he originally shared a widespread negative predisposition toward the mobile home industry: qThis basic conclusion is the exact opposite of what I expected to find when I first looked at the mobile home industry years ago. Then, sharing with many others in the United States a strong bias against this industry, I decided to devote a few weeks to writing a negative case study on 'how notto industrialize the building industry.' One of the first findings of this investigation, however, was startling: The mobile home industry is the most efficient building industry in the world.q The author then undertook a full-scale study of all aspects of the industry, in a seven-year project at MIT. He built a staff of more than a hundred professionals in such fields as engineering, economics, finance, law, management, political science, and sociology, scattered throughout the country. Supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Bernhardt and his staff conducted thousands of surveys and interviews in all sectors of the building industry and at all levels of government. The results of this research were compiled in a massive, five-volume, 5000 page report to HUD. Bernhardt's up-to-the-minute booka€”which is richly illustrated with halftones and drawingsa€”condenses that report, and sets forth in a vigorous and explicit way the conclusions and recommendations that the full weight of the evidence compels.... are questionable because a majority of firms indicated that less than 20 percent of their customers requested products by specific brand names. ... Further information on dealer product differentiation is given in Part II on the mobile home distribution system. ... It still carries less risk for the manufacturer to focus aquot;stylingaquot; efforts on the homea#39;s interior, where they have historically been concentrated.

Title:Building Tomorrow
Author:Arthur D. Bernhardt
Publisher:MIT Press (MA) - 1980


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