Prefab micro-units as a strategy for affordable housing

William Riggs, Menka Sethi, Wesley L. Meares, David Batstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Increasingly large cities find themselves with a scarcity of affordable housing stock and cannot increase inventory quickly enough to meet urban growth trends. Some limitations include, lot size, regulatory barriers as well as environmental concerns. We focus on these barriers, first providing a background on these trends in the United States and then offering cases of how these opportunities might be applied as supply-side solutions to housing market demands, specifically using prefab technology for the micro-unit typology. We then use a proforma-based approach to model the impacts of this combination. We find that combining prefabricated or modular technology with small unit design can be effective in increasing affordable housing production across markets, and that addressing limitations with zoning and providing additional financial tools can accelerate this trend.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)742-768
Number of pages27
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • Affordable housing
  • micro-units
  • prefabrication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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