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In law reform, as in life, the foam rubber pillow is often the best metaphor for the unforeseen effects of earnest efforts: just when all energy is directed at the annoying lump on one side, the far side springs out vengefully. During the 1960's, legal scholars and presidential commissions pressed earnestly for statewide building codes to serve as ceilings on local standards which are expensive impediments to mass-produced low-income housing; the legal scholars of the 1980's are eager to preserve historic structures whose rehabilitation is impeded by the inflexible floor of state codes under local standards. This article will evaluate the success of state building codes in achieving anticipated goals of the 1960's and the unanticipated effects of these codes in the 1980's.

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