The Secret to More Jobs isn't Home Creation, its Rehabilitation

Emily Badger of The Atlantic Cities explores the economic and environmental advantages of refurbishing old buildings over constructing new ones.
November 8, 2011, 1pm PST | Kayla Gordon
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Badger suggests that cities should start looking towards retrofitting and repairing pre-existing homes, rather than using their limited funds to spend on materials for new home construction.

Heidi Garrett-Peltier, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, ran some data to support this claim, and found that "repairing existing residential buildings produces about 50 percent more jobs than building new ones. Nationally, about 41 percent of the cost of residential repair goes to labor. For new construction, that number is just 28 percent, meaning considerably more than half of any investment in a new home goes not to construction jobs, but to materials, equipment and things like trucking services."

John McIlwain, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute noted in the article that, "There's hardly a city that doesn't have housing stock that's in need of rehabilitation or retrofitting." It's not that we don't need new homes, it's that we certainly can use a lot of what we have."

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Published on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 in The Atlantic Cities
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