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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.

  • American Neighborhoods: Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Volume 16, Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

The Remodeling Conundrum: When the Order Matters

Patrick H. Huelman
University of Minnesota

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 elizabeth.a.cocke@hud.gov.

During the past several decades, too many homebuilders, remodelers, and homeowners tried to make positive change in their houses but ended up with unintended consequences. In fact, many of those consequences could have and should have been predicted. To move our current housing stock forward—whether to make it more energy efficient, healthier, or perhaps more durable—we need to determine how we can increase the potential for success while we reduce the potential for harm. In remodeling and renovation efforts, the changes unfortunately often are implemented out of order; we tighten the enclosure before addressing critical ventilation issues, we upgrade furnaces without ensuring the water heater will continue to operate properly, we add insulation without resolving critical moisture or air leakage problems, and we replace windows without considering potential water management or indoor air-quality effects.

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