Thumbnail Image

Company-Produced Housing

It is getting harder and harder for people working in urbanized areas to find affordable housing near their workplace. As new urbanized office and industrial areas expand and the cost of housing increases, employees are finding themselves having to commute longer distances between work and home. This results in traffic congestion, increased pollution and decreased employee satisfaction. Some companies are finding that the lack of locally available and affordable housing is making it harder to recruit and retain employees. One solution to this problem is for large corporations to develop housing for their employees within walking distance of the job, or at least to have housing that is easily accessible to work by public transportation. Several corporations are experimenting with various ways to implement company-produced housing. While the idea might: seem revolutionary, the practice has its roots in the nineteenth century Mill Towns of the Industrial Revolution. Rather than totally reinvent the wheel, this research set out to understand the economic and social conditions underlying and leading to the development of mill town housing, with the expectation that a systematic analysis of the earlier company housing will aid in developing a strategy for developing modem company housing. While the social and economic circumstances of the nineteenth century are not commensurate with today's situation, studying them enables the creation of relevant categories of analysis for the present. The mill towns at the base of this study are Lowell, Chicopee and Holyoke, all in Massachusetts. Greater detail than presented in this report is found in the 1993 Master's of Regional Planning thesis by Michael L. Bosworth, "Company-Supplied Housing: Then and Now." The study was supervised by Professors John Mullin and Ellen-J, Pader, and Mr. William Breitbart, a housing consultant. The study examines the economic and social factors that led to successful nineteenth century mill town housing. It then develops a model by which to ascertain the potential viability of company supplied housing in urbanized areas today, using Cupertino, California as a test case. Cupertino is home to three major high technology companies: Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Tandem. Only Hewlett-Packard and Tandem are included in this study as Apple management declined requests for interviews. An interesting aspect of Cupertino is that the city is considering including in its new general plan a requirement that companies build housing for their employees if they expand. This is primarily a step to ensure that congestion does not increase any further and air quality does not decrease.
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Publisher Version
Embedded videos