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Michigan nonprofit releases open-source floorplans to build more houses

Courtesy of Michigan Municipal League

New houses could be built across the state soon—and they might not stand out.

That’s because they’re made to blend into the neighborhood while providing living space for up to four families.

The patterns are based on historic pre- and post-World War Two designs, and it's the first statewide program of this kind in the nation, said Melissa Milton-Pung, manager of the project with the Michigan Municipal League.

She wants to retain the urban fabric of different municipalities in Michigan by using historic designs with modern comforts, like air conditioning, she said.

“A lot of our cities already have vacant lots that are leftover from blight removal or that were never built out," Milton-Pung said. "So we provide an idea to consider: how do you build new housing in your already beloved neighborhoods?”

The open-source plans cut down on design costs, she said. The first house could be up and for sale by the end of the year, with more construction planned and more houses on the way in the new year.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.