All Print Issues

Summer 2012

Issue #170

Voting Block: Neighborhood Voting Rights

Joining the fight to maintain voting rights and voter power in your neighborhoods and for your constituencies may seem like an additional burden on an already overfull and underfunded plate. Articles in this issue show how it’s the foundation to getting your issues on the political agenda, preserving the advances being made at the federal level, and electing officials who understand your work and will help your neighborhoods from the inside. We also look at two instances of NIMBY, and what happened when the developments protested against were built.


Get Back the Vote

The United States has made slow, deliberate progress throughout its history to increase the voting franchise. But now, for the second time in our history, the nation is in real danger of moving backward.

Housing and Communities Built to Last?

Shaun Donovan is secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Outside of the limelight, the Obama administration has been quietly pursuing ambitious changes to better support healthy neighborhoods and regions. Will these programs be allowed to come to fruition?


Preserving Boston’s Triple-Deckers

Boston’s 9,000 three-family, or “triple-decker,” houses are trademarks of the city’s housing stock and have long provided shelter to the city’s working class and lower-income populations. When the economic downturn […]


Learning From Mount Laurel

In the suburb whose exclusive zoning led to New Jersey’s fair share affordable housing law, new research explores what the affordable housing finally built there has meant to the town, and to the people who have gotten to move there.


Silence on the Stump

Talk of housing is notably absent from the presidential campaigns, but there are efforts underway trying to drive the housing issue home for good.


Direct Action Governing

When community developers and organizers get elected to office, how do they preserve the community-minded sensibility and ethos that got them there? What lessons can they bring back to their colleagues on the ground? Shelterforce sat down with a cadre of organizers- turned–New York City Council members to find out how to bolster the bridge between the city and City Hall.


Rep. Keith Ellison

In the spring of 2008, as the country plunged into the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, Keith Ellison, a freshman Democrat representing Minnesota’s 5th Congressional district, took to […]

Community Development Field

Where’s the Money for Democracy?

A breakdown of the funding climate for civic engagement.


Fear of Affordable Housing: Perception vs. Reality

Affordable housing developments are often controversial and give rise to claims of dire consequences for quality of life and property values. But once they are built, does anyone realize they are there?

Hanging in the Balance

Are you part of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent? As we go to press, the furor over the leaked fundraising video in which the Republican presidential candidate dismisses nearly half the […]

Housing Advocacy

Putting “Community” Back in “CRA”

The Community Reinvestment Act and regulators have been unable to hold banks accountable to distant and distinct local communities—so nonprofits have stepped in to do the heavy lifting.


Who Owns Our Neighborhoods?

Outside investors are buying up foreclosed properties in Oakland, California, at a rate that not only has Oakland residents uneasy, but has also raised national concerns about an unchecked transfer […]


Are Planners Responsible for Public Health?

Could planners have an effect on waistlines around the Beltway? Maryland’s Prince George’s County and Virginia’s Fairfax County are examining how land use and transportation policy can be modified to […]


Staying Afloat: The Ongoing Struggle for Affordable Housing

A multi-faceted approach is necessary to stem the rising number of severely cost-burdened households in the United States.

Community Development Field

Picking Up Acorn’s Pieces

The loss of ACORN and changes in election laws could keep young people from voting in 2012. Will community-based efforts to engage young, disenfranchised voters fill the vacuum?

Community Control

Q: Does Shared-Equity Homeownership Build Assets?

A: Yes! And keeps them safer than traditional homeownership does.

Redlining Around the World

Segregation: A Global History of Divided Cities, by Carl Nightingale. The University of Chicago Press, 2012, 482 pp. $35/$21 (cloth/ebook).


Defending Progressive State Housing and Land Use Policies

The fates of three venerable policies on fair share housing and sustainable land use can point the way for how to support similar efforts in other states.

Adding to What We Know

The Rise of Residential Segregation by Income, by Richard Fry and Paul Taylor. Pew Research Center, August 2012.