Revisiting Rental Housing: Policies, Programs, and Priorities

Brookings Institution Press
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Rental housing is increasingly recognized as a vital housing option in the United States. Government policies and programs continue to grapple with problematic issues, however, including affordability, distressed urban neighborhoods, concentrated poverty, substandard housing stock, and the unmet needs of the disabled, the elderly, and the homeless. In R evisiting Rental Housing, leading housing researchers build upon decades of experience, research, and evaluation to inform our understanding of the nation's rental housing challenges and what can be done about them. It thoughtfully addresses not only present issues affecting rental housing, but also viable solutions. The first section reviews the contributing factors and primary problems generated by the operation of rental markets. In the second section, contributors dissect how policies and programs have—or have not—dealt with the primary challenges; what improvements—if any—have been gained; and the lessons learned in the process. The final section looks to potential new directions in housing policy, including integrating best practices from past lessons into existing programs, and new innovations for large-scale, long-term market and policy solutions that get to the root of rental housing challenges. Contributors include William C. Apgar (Harvard University), Anthony Downs (Brookings), Rachel Drew (Harvard University), Ingrid Gould Ellen (New York University), George C. Galster (Wayne State University), Bruce Katz (Brookings), Jill Khadduri (Abt Associates), Shekar Narasimhan (Beekman Advisors), Rolf Pendall (Cornell University), John M. Quigley (University of California–Berkeley), James A. Riccio (MDRC), Stuart S. Rosenthal (Syracuse University), Margery Austin Turner (Urban Institute), and Charles Wilkins (Compass Group).
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About the author

Nicolas P. Retsinas is director of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies and a Senior Lecturer in Real Estate at the Harvard Business School. Eric S. Belsky is managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and a lecturer in the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Anthony Downs is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. His specialties are housing, real estate, real estate finance, metropolitan planning, demographics, and transportation. His books include New Visions for Metropolitan America (Brookings/Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, 1994), and Still Stuck in Traffic: Coping with Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion (Brookings, 2004).

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Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 2008
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Pages
370
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ISBN
9780815774129
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Best Books of 2017
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In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.

Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as "brilliant" (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north.

As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know. Now, Rothstein expands our understanding of this history, showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods. While urban areas rapidly deteriorated, the great American suburbanization of the post–World War II years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans. Finally, Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded. Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Minneapolis show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest. “The American landscape will never look the same to readers of this important book” (Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund), as Rothstein’s invaluable examination shows that only by relearning this history can we finally pave the way for the nation to remedy its unconstitutional past.

The ups and downs in housing markets over the past two decades are without precedent, and the costs—financial, psychological, and social—have been enormous. Yet Americans overwhelmingly still aspire to homeownership, and many still view access to homeownership as an important ingredient for building wealth among historically disadvantaged groups.

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