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When Americans think of manufactured housing, images of the typical singlewide and doublewide mobile homes come immediately to mind. However, this industry has now expanded to include designs and materials that closely resemble site-built housing while still retaining the affordable nature of manufactured housing. HUD's Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) program is exploring new and innovative designs for manufactured housing as part of an ongoing effort to increase affordable housing opportunities. The report, Innovations at the Cutting Edge—New Ideas in Manufactured Housing, recently released by PATH in partnership with HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research, discusses a broad range of manufactured housing designs, construction techniques, and materials that demonstrate these innovative ideas.

HUD contracted with Steven Winter Associates, Inc., to work with the industry through the Manufactured Housing Institute to develop the NextGen project. NextGen uses today's technology to address current problems, creating the "Next Generation of Manufactured Housing." Although many of these innovations in the design and materials of manufactured housing are unusual or even untried today, the products, systems, and designs incorporated in NextGen designs are likely to move into the mainstream of industry practice within the next 5 years.

The report introduces subdivision, infill, and design plans that use new urbanist ideals to incorporate manufactured housing into the surrounding neighborhoods. Included in the first section are detailed site plans, floor plans, drawings, and pictures that clearly illustrate the changing face and limitless possibilities of manufactured housing. Manufactured homes once resembled long boxes, but they are now being designed with second-story additions, pitched roofs, and cathedral ceilings. Screened porches, decks, and garages are quickly becoming standard onsite additions. Neighborhood zoning and deed restrictions, density issues, local topography, orientation, climate, surrounding neighborhoods, and access to homes are aspects of the siting and subdivision planning that influence the design of these homes.

The structure of NextGen homes is discussed in the next section. Focus is placed on how manufactured homes can have innovative designs and still meet the standards of a HUD-Code home. The structure of these homes determines how well NextGen projects can adapt manufactured housing to blend with surrounding housing and meet HUD construction requirements. This section features descriptions of projects with perimeter frames, floors that can stack, building envelopes made from structural insulated panels, and various schemes for tilting roofs up onsite.

Other sections of the report address such pragmatic concerns as home foundations and window, door, roofing, siding, and insulation enclosures. Alternatives to typical floor installation methods allow them to be supported on stacked, anchored blocks. Permanent foundations are featured as an economical flooring choice. Innovative mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems are also profiled.

Other sections discuss housing interiors; interior surfaces of the unit, such as hardware, cabinetwork, closet fittings, and appliances; and sunrooms, access ramps, porches, and other exterior elements that are not part of the basic structure. Consideration is also given to interior floor plans and surfaces that are accessible for the elderly or those with disabilities. The report concludes with a list of resources for further information from organizations, periodicals, published articles, books, and products that exhibit innovations in the manufactured housing industry.

Order Innovations at the Cutting Edge—New Ideas in Manufactured Housing from HUD USER for $5. Use the order form.

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