You will not often find this blogger linking to publications other than my own, but here is one for you: www.residentialarchitect.com/industry-news.asp?sectionID=0&articleID=1006682. Reason I share this piece, published in late June, is to compare it to a posting on this blog this past October: www.roofingcontractor.com/Articles/Blog_Rick/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000592463.

You will not often find this blogger linking to publications other than my own, but here is one for you: www.residentialarchitect.com/industry-news.asp?sectionID=0&articleID=1006682. Reason I share this piece, published in late June, is to compare it to a posting on this blog this past October: www.roofingcontractor.com/Articles/Blog_Rick/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000592463.

I do not think results in this report on how architects see the residential market trending had anything whatsoever to do with anything I wrote, but it is interesting to be in such good company as some AIA members. The idea that we are in a “new normal” should really be sinking in right about now. And I firmly believe the size and scope of America’s housing is in for some radical change. We must “right-size” homes in order to make them more (realistically) affordable, sustainable, and efficient to operate.

But change is hard, even when it is good and right and even when it should be easy. People’s expectations for living space do not turn on a dime and the many constituencies that must come together to make a house happen. Think about it. To build a home a whole lot of stars and planets have to align: the federal banking system and lenders; federal, state and local building codes; architects, engineers and specialty designers; developers; contractors; subcontractors; real estate brokers; and ultimately, the customer - someone to either fork over the cash or sign on the many lines to complete a mortgage and move in.

Where to begin? If the various constituencies pay any attention at all to the AIA trend report and everything else going on in the world, we should all be on board with the concept. There are a ton of barriers. I see local zoning requirements as one major block to reducing the size of residential built space. That is a shame for a lot of municipalities, because the more forward-thinking zoning and planning commissions will be quick to adopt and the result will be a better tax base, not a worse one (and let’s face it - the main reason for not lowering the required size of homes is the fear of a loss of tax base).

I think getting the right size product in the housing market will be key to getting back into growth mode for residential construction. If you agree, send the link to the AIA report to the key officials in your local government. I am and will report on their response if there is one.