Eli5 Who decides what houses are built?


When your in a suburb you always see rows of houses of course those houses can be custom built but there are so many that I wonder does the city choose if they are built sometimes?thanks in advance for your answers

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When houses are built in a suburb, it’s usually not the city that directly decides to build them. Rather, developers or builders purchase the land and then construct the houses on it. However, the city may have regulations and zoning laws that dictate what types of buildings can be constructed in certain areas, how big they can be, and what they can be used for. These regulations help ensure that the neighborhood remains safe and livable for the people who live there. So while the city doesn’t usually directly choose which houses are built, they do play a role in regulating the types of houses that can be built in a given area.

When a developer is building a new subdivision, one of the ways they keep costs down is by limiting customer options so they can buy and build in bulk. As part of that, they usually have a list of four or five floorplans people can pick from. Those can be modified a little within certain parameters (3-car vs 2-car garage, extra sunroom on the back, different trim types, and so on), but that’s how you end up with hundreds of similar-looking houses in a large development like that.

(Source: I live on a cul-de-sac where both my next door and across-the-street neighbors’ houses are functionally identical to mine).

It depends. Some houses are built by the people living in them afterwards or renting them out. These are often each fairly individual buildings.

Lots of suburbs however are built by a single developer (a company building houses and selling them), which of course aims to cut costs where possible. So they build the same house lots of times (only one plan that needs to be made and approved, materials are cheaper in bulk, etc.). These might get customised over the years by the buyers, so they don’t look exactly the same anymore years / decades later.

Sometimes the city itself build the houses as well, but these are then often operated by the city instead of being sold (public housing)