Manufactured housing : overcoming public resistance
"The United States mobile home industry is the most efficient building industry in the world", says Massachusetts Institute of Technology Architecture Professor, Arthur Bernhardt, who just completed an in-depth study of the mobile home industry. This statement confirms studies and research conducted over the past ten years by the author of the following research project. After publication of "Mobile Homes: Challenges for Today and Tomorrow" in 1974, local government officials, representatives of the mobile home industry and individual mobile home dwellers began to use this publication as a guide to overcome and solve the problems created by the proliferation of mobile homes. As a result, slow but significant progress has been made in Missouri to gain acceptance for mobile homes. However, during the last three years the country went through an energy crisis (which is still with us), inflation, recession and stagflation which crippled not only the home building industry but the mobile home industry as well. In addition, new state laws pertaining to mobile homes were passed and the federal government enacted construction and safety standards for mobile homes which became effective in summer of 1976. In light of all this it became evident that a new study should be undertaken to not only up-date the 1974 study, but also to address issues which will exert pressures on local governments, financial institutions, private developments and last, but not 2 least, on the individual citizen, the ultimate consumer. Intentionally, the problems of mobile home assessment and taxation are not covered in this study as these issues constitute a research project in themselves. Again, during 1976 surveys by mail and spot visits were conducted. In total, 340 municipalities with population over 1000 were contacted, 22 counties (with regulatory authority), 100 mobile home dealers and 300 mobile home parks. The response was almost 100 per cent. In addition, financing problems were discussed with lending institutions, and home builders were asked their views with regard to the housing market in Missouri and to mobile homes. Also, over the past few years numerous inquiries were received by the Governmental Affairs Program on how to design a good mobile home subdivision (mobile home park). Therefore, one section has been added to this study to explain and emphasize good subdivision design. The resuIts of the 1976 study are presented in the sections that follow. Reflecting on the decades past, the "trailer" has come a long way; it is going to stay with us, better built, better designed, refined and more conventional in looks.--Preface.
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