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Pluggable Homes: Addressing America’s Housing Crisis Incrementally

Millions of Americans today are under-housed and over-leveraged. Many of these people are trapped in a never-ending cycle of dependent rentership, where most of their money that must be spent in order to rent a structure impedes the ability to save the necessary funds to buy their own homes. This creates an increasingly growing gap between homeowners and non-homeowners in the US and traps more and more Americans each year within this cycle. More than a third of Americans rent their homes, ultimately leading to a dearth of attainable housing.

The exponential increase in housing prices and building sizes has proved to be harmful to those not able to afford a roof over their heads. The lack of successful affordable housing options that exist today makes housing an impractical investment for low-income families. The current average square footage per newly constructed homes is 2,561 square feet, which is a 78% increase over a 20-year period (US Census). With this increase in size comes a parallel increase in cost, which is a problem that must be addressed.

Architects and others involved in the housing industry have been enabled through emerging technologies to approach housing and affordable housing in a more thoughtful manner, potentially embracing an incremental manner of construction where a family can build as they are able. This in turn prevents homeowners from over-leveraging themselves and promotes a sense of stability. Incremental architecture has the capacity to alleviate the symptoms of the current housing crisis by allowing families to build as they can afford through the agency and freedom of pluggable housing modules. Incrementality will be achieved through modular components that form pluggable connections, facilitating the ability for one to build their housing configuration as they truly can afford to do so. The pluggable nature will not only facilitate the ability to grow their homes but also to subtract from them to leverage profitable investments.








Kirsten Crawford

Kirsten is a Master of Architecture student at Lawrence Technological University, where she is pursuing her research interests in affordable housing and modular architecture. Kirsten also is a Graduate Research Assistant where she aids in investigations exploring the urban design of disadvantaged communities. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University, where she worked as a Teaching Assistant for the course, Information Modeling & Simulation, and also as a Research Assistant. Kirsten now works as an Architectural Designer at Kraemer Design Group, a Detroit firm specializing in adaptive reuse and historic preservation. In the future, Kirsten hopes to continue her explorations regarding incrementality as a vehicle to aid the current housing crisis.

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