5.23.2009

Little Homes, Big Impact


I haven't yet gotten around to reading C.K. Prahalad's book, "Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid," but I love the premise: by figuring out ways to serve the poorest customers possible, your company will invariably learn how to operate more efficiently and creatively. So it bodes well for Tata that, having conquered the $2,000 Nano car, it's now turning it's attention to "Nano" houses that will sell for $8,000 to $13,000.

When we artificially muck around with prices, people suffer: price caps on gas led to massive shortages and long lines in the 1970's, and exclusionary zoning prevents builders from offering products at the low end of the housing market. Here's hoping Nano houses work, and that even more places can get this sort of stuff built in order to meet the yawning demand for housing that is cheap enough to be affordable even for people who don't make much, but that is safe, well-designed, and strategically located.
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