How Tiny Shotgun Houses Can Help Solve the Housing Crisis — If We'd Just Stop Knocking Them Down

It should come as no surprise that in Dallas, a city known (or perhaps notorious) for its mansions and McMansions, the lowly shotgun house has become an endangered architectural species. These small houses, typically with three rooms aligned back-to-back (a shotgun blast ostensibly could go straight through without hitting an interior wall) were once common in low-income and working-class areas, especially neighborhoods designated for African-Americans during the Jim Crow era.A combination of obsolescence, neglect and development has pushed the shotgun house to the brink of extinction in Dallas. Just a few weeks ago, on Valentine's Day, the city demolished a shotgun house on Cliff Street in the Tenth Street Historic District for code violations, despite protests from preservation advocates. "The city of Dallas for years has made end-runs around historic protections and has not recognized the value of the district except by lip service," says Robert Swann, a Harvard-trained architect who has studied the shotgun house.  Continue reading...

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