Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version



Hulse, Travis M. Use of Accessory Dwelling Units as a Housing Strategy: A Case Study of Lawrence, Kansas. MCRP Thesis. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 2015.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under the Supervision of Professor Gordon Scholz. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 8, 2015.

Copyright (c) 2015 Travis Hulse


Accessory dwelling units have long been utilized as an alternative strategy of homeowners within single-family neighborhoods of the United States in response to changing needs in living arrangements. The American Planning Association defines an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) as either a self-contained living area located within the walls of an existing home or a freestanding structure on the same lot as the principal dwelling unit. While it is difficult to accurately identify all of the municipalities that allow the creation of ADUs in single-family neighborhoods, their presence was long established prior to the enactment of zoning regulations in cities across the United States. It is expected that current population trends and changing demographics will result in greater demand for a diversity of housing types to provide for the growing needs of society. For many U.S. communities the potential effects of the ADU strategy may help address their present and future needs in relation to overall community goals. Research suggests there is a reemerging interest for accessory dwelling units within single-family neighborhoods to accommodate the rise of non-traditional households. For many communities it is becoming increasingly important, with the facilitation of local city officials, to draw upon the experience of other communities that have incorporated ADUs in order to better understand the positive and negative consequences associated with the ADU housing strategy. Recent research efforts have revealed a number of key factors that have limited communities in the past from realizing the full potential of a successful ADU program. My research was conducted with a specific focus aimed at the efforts of local planning as a division of municipal government. The City of Lawrence, Kansas, was selected as the sole case subject to be studied. The conclusion of this study suggests a variety of factors that, if improved at the local level, could better support an effective ADU program. The overall results of this research should be applied both specifically to the city of Lawrence, as well as to create generally applicable guidelines for other municipalities that are either exploring how to improve their current ADU program or are in the process of introducing provisions to support ADUs.

Adviser: Gordon Scholz