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Segment 1: Some residents say big, new homes on small, old lots are changing the nature of the Kansas suburb.

Home teardowns are not a new problem in Prairie Village, but the issue is receiving a lot of new attention. Today, we asked city leadership how they would strike a balance between property owners' ability to build what they want on their own land, and preserving the look and feel of what's long been known as a modest, affordable community.

Social Good Week / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: How hyper-connectivity and technology have democratized power.

Our world has changed a lot in the 21st century. New technologies like Twitter and KickStarter have enabled worldwide social movements. But how does this new power work?  One activist described the ways public influence is shifting, and what it might mean for our future.

Empty Houses

Aug 31, 2017
Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

In Kansas City, there are so many vacant properties that the city tried to sell some of them for a dollar. We take a look at the stories of abandoned homes — why are they empty and how do they affect communities, both urban and rural?

Guests:

Maj. Geoff Legler / Oklahoma National Guard

Donald Trump took over the Oval Office two months ago, and his trade policies are having an effect. Today, we'll find out how his search for better deals is creating divisions in Dawson County, Nebraska. Then, learn how building techniques, borrowed from construction practices in hurricane zones, can help Tornado Alley homes stand up to spring's strong winds.

Johnson County Museum

Drive around some of Johnson County’s neighborhoods and you may be able to guess when the neighborhood was developed — based on the architecture alone.

Following World War II, ranch houses were being built at record levels. The single-story, open concept style was the perfect starter home for new families.

“It was the first house ever to be mass produced in the United States,” said Mary Van Balgooy.

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

Kansas City architect Clarence Shepard was deeply influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School Style when he designed more than 600 homes and churches in the region a century ago.

Shepard was a native of New York, grew up in Clay Center, Kan., and came to work in Kansas City at the beginning of the 20th century for the Kendall Co. and the J.C. Nichols Co., among others.

armchairbuilder.com

Housing construction is showing a 30 percent gain in the first quarter in the Kansas City region, compared with the same period of 2012.The reference is to permits for residential building  and amounts to 832 single family houses. There were 640 in the first three months of last year.

The numbers bear watching, as the  executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City notes.  Sara Corless said, should the trend hold or increase, construction might be back at 2007 levels by end of the year. 

New Houses Shrinking By Request

Mar 19, 2013
susanka.com

As the economy drags, the size of homes is diminishing… and it’s by consumer demand.