Another Housing Policy Is Possible: The Current and Past Housing Crises, Homeowner Ideologies, and the Opening for Social Housing

Jake Carlson, Brown University
Gianpaolo Baoicchi, New York University (NYU)

Over the past century, the struggle for home and access to it has animated social movements, motivated public policy, and driven American financialized capitalism. This paper examines three economic crises: the Great Depression, the 2008 Financial Crisis, and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Each era saw housing as a central issue of both the economic and social dimensions of the crisis. Yet the policy responses to the crises diverged widely. The Great Depression created the modern housing system in the US. The 2008 Financial Crisis led to few substantial reforms to expand access reduce market speculation. But what will come of the COVID-19 Pandemic? The pandemic has made many new policies possible, but which ones will prevail? This paper examines the social movements and policy makers in each period, as well as the role of ideas in determining the policy outcomes. In exploring the past, we hope to theorize and explain the present, as it emerges in real-time.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 75. Social Struggles in the City