Housing in America : An Introduction book cover
1st Edition

Housing in America
An Introduction

ISBN 9781138233638
Published April 6, 2018 by Routledge
194 Pages

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Book Description

Housing is a fundamental need and universal part of human living that shapes our lives in profound ways that go far beyond basic sheltering. Where we live can determine our self-image, social status, health and safety, quality of public services, access to jobs, and transportation options. But the reality for many in America is that housing choices are constrained: costs are unaffordable, discriminatory practices remain, and physical features do not align with needs. As a society, we recognize the significant role housing plays in our overall quality of life and the stability of our communities. We have made a national commitment to decent housing for all yet this promise remains unrealized.

Housing in America provides a broad overview of the field of housing, with the objective of fostering an informed and engaged citizenry. The evolution of housing norms and policy is explored in a historical context while underscoring the human and cultural dimensions of housing program choices. Specific topics covered include: why housing matters; housing and culture; housing frameworks and political ideologies; housing and opportunities; housing and the economy; housing discrimination; and housing affordability. Readers will gain an understanding of the basic debates within the field of housing, consider the motivations and performance of various interventions, and critically examine persistent patterns of racial and class inequality.

With an exploration of theoretical frameworks, short case studies, reflective exercises, and strong visuals, this introductory text explores improving housing choices in America.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Housing in America, Acknowledgments, Note to Intructors and Students Chapter 1. Unique Qualities of Housing Chapter 2. Housing and Culture Chapter 3. Framing Housing: Disciplinary Approaches and Ideologies Chapter 4. History of Federal Involvement in Housing Chapter 5. Housing and Discrimination Chapter 6. Housing Needs, Affordability, and Federal Responses Chapter 7. Housing and Opportunity Chapter 8. Housing and the Economy Chapter 9. Public Housing Chapter 10. State and Local Housing Initiatives Chapter 11. Homelessness Chapter 12. Conclusion, Index

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Marijoan Bull, PhD, AICP, is a practicing urban planner and Associate Professor Emerita of Geography and Regional Planning at Westfield State University, USA. In her career of over thirty years she has focused on making urban planning the work of all, and engaging the public in the design of a just and sustainable future.

Alina T. Gross, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Regional Planning at Westfield State University, USA, where she teaches students the importance of cultural diversity and community inclusion in the context of becoming effective planners and engaged citizens. Her teaching, research, and professional planning work focuses on housing, public participation, and community-based planning.


"This book offers a clear look into the fundamental cultural and ideological foundations of US housing policy. Understanding these underlying influences is crucial to understanding why the United States continues to struggle with housing affordability, discrimination, and opportunity."

J. Rosie Tighe, Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, Cleveland State University


"Housing in America is an engaging book about the complex role housing plays in our lives. The authors begin by looking at the social, cultural and psychological meaning of home. Subsequent chapters take an interdisciplinary approach and examine the government’s role in housing, housing discrimination and segregation, affordable housing, and housing’s relationship to opportunity. This important and insightful work is elevated by its recognition that humanity is at the center of our housing dilemmas."

Meris Bergquist, Executive Director, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center 


"Housing in America is the broadest survey of the largest asset class in the economy ever undertaken. Without bias, the authors address the many ways housing affects the economy, the family, demographics, the role of race, public policy, affordability, and homelessness. An essential overview of this vital element of life."

Christopher B. Leinberger, Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate, George Washington University School of Business

"Housing in America is an introductory textbook and, for the most part, an excellent one. The book would serve very well for undergraduate classes in housing or urban studies. It might also serve as an introduction for masters level students with little or no background in housing or on the American context. As someone who has taught housing policy for 30 years, I found myself ticking off all of the boxes of what I consider essential elements of understanding the American housing system as I read this book: They are all there."

Edward G. Goetz Prof.,  International Journal of Housing Policy, 19:4