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This report examines the structure, characteristics, and motivations of major participants in the housing industry to explore how innovation might be accelerated. It identifies options and strategies for the federal government to consider as it attempts to further advance innovation in housing to make homes more affordable, durable, and safe. Housing is the largest component of the nation's physical wealth, representing nearly 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Therefore, innovation in that industry would contribute positively to increase productivity and provide benefits to a broad range of participants, including homebuilders, manufacturers, insurers, regulators, and homeowners. The federal government has been involved in promoting housing innovation for more than three decades , investing in research and showing a willingness to experiment with new ideas and approaches as it works with industry and other participants. In light of this government interest, this report puts forth proposals for federal government action: enhance research activities, strengthen the knowledge base, support the technology innovation pipeline, and improve market linkages. Within these proposals, a number of specific strategies are suggested to illustrate possible government actions. The list of strategies is not exhaustive but if adopted they should allow the government to better leverage what it is already doing by better focusing resources.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    All Prefatory Materials

  • Chapter One

    Innovation in Housing

  • Chapter Two

    The Concept of Innovation in the U.S. Housing Industry

  • Chapter Three

    The U.S. Housing Industry As the Context for Innovation

  • Chapter Four

    Industry Characteristics and Motives and Their Effect on Innovation

  • Chapter Five

    Federal Efforts to Promote Innovation in Housing

  • Chapter Six

    Federal Strategies for Promoting Innovation in Housing

  • Supplemental

    Supplementary Material

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND's Science and Technology Policy Institute for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research and the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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