3D-Printed Homes: The concept is now turning into something solid

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Homes of the future, made through 3-D printing

In a Northeast Austin neighborhood, new 3-D-printed homes are taking their distinctive shape on the grounds of the Community First Village, where about 180 formerly homeless people have found shelter and camaraderie in the most expensive city in Texas. (Regan Morton Photography)

AUSTIN — Tim Shea is counting the days until he can move into a new 3-D-printed house. Shea, 69, will be the first to live in one of six such rentals created by what some in the housing industry call a futuristic approach that could revolutionize home construction.

Shea is among a growing number of seniors in America who have struggled to keep affordable housing. He has, at times, been homeless. He has arthritis and manages to get around with the aid of a walker. He said he looks forward to giving up the steep ramp he’s had to negotiate when entering or exiting the RV he’s called home.

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Can’t find an affordable home? Try living in a pod

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It’s dorm life for adults: A PodShare co-living building in Venice Beach, Calif., where dorm beds go for about $1,400 per month with shared kitchens and bathrooms.

The cost of housing is out of reach for many residents in cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle. One solution is called co-living, and it looks a lot like dorm life. Co-living projects are trying to fill a vacuum between low-income and luxury housing in expensive housing markets where people in the middle are left with few choices.

Nadya Hewitt lives in a building in Los Angeles run by a company called PodShare, where renters (or “members,” in company lingo) occupy “pods.” The grand tour of 33-year-old Hewitt’s home takes place sitting on her bed as she points out the various things she keeps within arm’s reach: a lamp, sunglasses, a water bottle, a jar of peanut butter.

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