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Issue 3.1

Backyard Housing Boom: New Markets for Affordable Housing and the Role of Digital Technology

In an effort to address California’s affordable housing shortage, lawmakers recently passed statewide legislation removing barriers to the development of accessory dwelling units (ADU). Not since the postwar suburban housing boom has such a significant new market for residential production been created in Los Angeles and, more broadly, across the entire state. Simultaneously, new digital technologies are overcoming constraints in finance models, design processes, and construction practices that restrict ADU production. Through interviews conducted with emerging ADU service providers in Los Angeles, this paper identifies how digital technologies and regulatory change are enabling emergent forms of practice and production for addressing a significant housing shortage. Specifically, it asks what role digital technologies may play in facilitating the mass production of affordable housing in the post-suburban city.

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