Race and Real Estate [Module]

The course is dedicated to an examination of race and real estate, in which we will explore their historical and contemporary intersectionality throughout the United States. We will review the history of land ownership and housing as it was shaped by the legacy of slavery and framed by the codification of race and prejudice, defining trajectories of intergenerational wealth, class, and lived experience across America to date. We will critically evaluate the role of not only state-sanctioned, but state-sponsored segregation, in which real estate served as a tool to reinforce racial divides and class across the built environment through discriminatory actions such as redlining, predatory lending practices, and real estate steering. The course will further unveil the impact of race and real estate on social outcomes, such as public health, education, and political structures.

While the course principally focuses on race and ethnicity in the United States, we will also examine race and real estate through international precedents, offering parallel and distinctive case studies with varying socioeconomic complexities. We will also review case studies that explore the role of gender, religion, class, and intersectionality as they have each impacted real estate. Using these diverse frameworks, we will discuss future trajectories of race and real estate, identifying and critiquing mechanisms to correct past wrongs and inequities.

Race and Real Estate is a seven-week elective module designed for real estate students along with others interested in the intersection of race and real estate. The goal is to provide future developers, designers, urbanists, and thinkers a more robust framing of the role of race in real estate and its consequential shaping of urban conditions. This broadened perspective will allow for more socially and historically responsive, equitable, and inclusive real estate development in the future.

Classes will include a range of lectures, group discussions on readings, a series of presentations from guests in the real estate profession, and student presentations on varying research topics. Students will be evaluated by their participation in and contributions to group discussions, an in-class presentation, and a final paper. There are no prerequisites for this course.