Housing and Urbanization in the United States

This course examines housing as an object of policy and planning as it relates to urban form and issues of social concern. It is intended to provide those with an interest in urban policy and planning with a broad background on why housing matters and how its unique attributes a) give rise to certain policy and planning challenges and b) should shape how practitioners respond to these challenges.
After laying out a conceptual framework for understanding the unique role housing plays in the constitution of urban areas and its implications for public policy and urban planning, the course provides an overview of critical topics in housing and US urbanism. These include: the role of homes as co-constitutive of the private and domestic realms; housing as a commodity; housing as an icon and encoder of social status; housing as constitutive of “neighborhoods” and how it influences resident outcomes; participatory planning for community development; capital formation and housing investment; theories of housing and urban spatial form; the suburbs and their discontents; exclusionary and inclusionary zoning; development exactions; provision of municipal services, public economics, and residential choice; trends in and theories of residential segregation; theories and responses to the concentration of urban poverty; community development and housing’s role in it; affordable housing policy, planning, and development; transit-oriented development and mixed income housing; housing investment for transformation of distressed communities; low-income homeownership and its spatial aspects; addressing communities hardest hit by foreclosures; sustainable infill development, master-planned development, and regional governance and planning.
Upon completions, students will have a firm grasp of housing and urban issues, a theoretical frame for understanding them, and a working knowledge of the planning and policy tools used to address these issues. The course will involve lectures and discussions. Students will be graded based on course participation and the completion of written assignments.