Housing

Housing matters. A stable, quality, affordable home is a foundation for so many other parts of life. How do we bring it in reach for everyone?

Canada Is Looking Better and Better (The Regent Park Story)

High-density public housing may seem like an idea whose time has come and gone, buried along with the ruins of notorious projects like St....
A black and white photo of Whitman, Philadelphia, residents shout and point to anti-housing demonstrators.

Integrating Whitman

A long-forgotten battle over a set of row houses in South Philadelphia makes current day NIMBYism look tame. What can housing advocates learn from how they finally got built anyway?

“Inclusive Communities” Are Inadequate for the World’s Housing Crises

Housing problems are growing and are likely to worsen with pervasive income inequality and a U.S. population projected to grow by 80 million people by 2050. Yet, the solutions do not match the demand.

Bigger Forces at Play

If social inclusion and the creation of mixed-income neighborhoods is embraced by so many, why does it seem to be so difficult to materialize this vision for the city? Let's look at some examples.

Why We Must Build

We can’t build our way out of the housing crisis . . . but we won’t get out without building.
A simple drawing of a balanced scale has a blue house labeled "before inclusionary requirements" on one side and a red house labeled "after inclusionary requirements" on the other side. Text above reads Do inclusionary housing requirements make housing prices go up for everyone else? No! followed by discussion. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Do inclusionary housing requirements make housing prices go up for everyone else?

A: No, they do not. Market-rate developers are business people. They charge as much as the market will bear. When housing prices go up . . .
Four charts and graphs illustrate how foreclosure rates are still higher than they were pre-crisis, and how recovery is slower in some neighborhoods. Image links to pdf version.

Q: Isn’t the foreclosure crisis over?

A: Not for everyone. Even after significant recovery, most of the country still has record high levels of . . .

Making Mixed-Income Developments Work

A single development with an intentional income mix involves very specific challenges—both in its design and its management.

Can San Francisco Get Mixed-Income Public Housing Redevelopment Right?

The HOPE SF program is aiming to explicitly avoid many of the problems mixed-income public housing redevelopments have faced, to create a truly inclusive process.

Using the Wrong Tools to Build Affordable Housing

Along with most Rooflines readers, I believe that having some portion of a community’s housing as long term or permanently affordable is a desirable...
Two young students wear smocks as they paint in school.

Build Mixed-Income Housing–But Not in Isolation

A focus on housing connected to education and wellness will be needed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
A white three-level building.

Don’t Build Mixed-Income Communities, Buy Them

Building when you could buy is inefficient—and contributes to economic segregation.

It’s All About Choice

Rather than just developing homes for sale, City of Lakes CLT lets buyers pick houses to bring into the land trust.

A Tale of Two Markets: Affordability and the State of the Nation’s Housing in...

For first-time homebuyers with good credit, stable employment, and savings for a down payment, buying a home is more affordable than it has been in decades. For everyone else, however, lower home prices have been a disaster.
The cover of Shelterforce's 162nd issue, Preservation or Privatization.

PETRA Perspectives: Congresswoman Maxine Waters

While PETRA is flawed, it is also the only serious attempt any administration has made to preserve public housing in quite some time.

Interview with Gabriel Metcalf, author of Democratic by Design

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO of SPUR, discusses his new book, "Democratic by Design: How Carsharing, Co-ops, and Community Land Trusts are Reinventing America."

Does Public Housing Have a Future?

Everybody hates public housing, except the low-income people who live there and the people on the long waiting lists to get in. After years of neglect, the Obama administration wants to save public housing for future generations. Let's let them.

Administration Claims Homelessness has Dropped Dramatically. Really?

On July 29, 2008, the White House issued a statement that “chronic homelessness decreased an average of 15 percent per year between 2005 –...

Are the Kids All Right? Austin Is Asking

Recently here on Rooflines, Tiffany Eng wrote about Oakland’s challenges in “family friendly” planning. Here in Austin, we're facing...

Memphis’s Unwelcome News

Hanna Rosin has caused quite a stir with her dramatically titled Atlantic Monthly article American Murder Mystery. (For the record, we writers rarely get...