First Advisor

Matthew Gebhardt

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Social Science and University Honors


Social Science


Accessory apartments, Sustainable development




American housing has, on the average, trended larger over the last 42 years. This pattern has been challenged by a new generation of developers and builders who are embracing small construction. Accessory dwelling units and micro apartments are two typologies of small housing which have recently gained prominence. This paper finds that these two typologies have the potential to offer significant benefits to communities by providing affordable housing, decreasing the environmental impact of new construction and by providing options to diversify the homogeneous American housing stock. Several major barriers are identified which hinder the implementation of these small housing typologies, including neighborhood resistance, institutional uncertainty and hostile zoning and planning codes. Finally, a direction forward focused on increasing familiarity with small housing is presented in order to facilitate the further development of accessory dwelling units and micro apartments.


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