The Housing Question: Tensions, Continuities, and Contingencies in the Modern City, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Housing Question

Tensions, Continuities, and Contingencies in the Modern City, 1st Edition

By Edward Murphy, Najib B. Hourani


322 pages

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In the wake of the Great Recession, housing and its financing suddenly re-emerged as questions of significant public concern. Yet both public and academic debates about housing have remained constricted, tending not to explore how the evolution of housing simultaneously entails basic forms of socio-spatial reproduction and underlying tensions in the political order. Drawing on cutting edge perspectives from urban studies, this book grants renewed, interdisciplinary energy to the housing question. It explores how housing raises a series of vexing issues surrounding rights, identity, and justice in the modern city. Through finely detailed studies that illuminate national and regional particularities- ranging from analyses of urban planning in the Soviet Union, the post-Katrina reconstruction of New Orleans, to squatting in contemporary Lima - the volume underscores how housing questions matter in a wide range of contexts. It draws attention to ruptures and continuities between high modernist and neoliberal forms of urbanism, demonstrating how housing and the dilemmas surrounding it are central to governance and the production of space in a rapidly urbanizing world.


’This insightful volume places housing at the center of our understanding (examination, exploration) of the urban. By locating the housing question at the nexus of politics, governance and space, Murphy and Hourani realign core urban studies and decenter what is often a U.S. and European based focus. While not neglecting embodied concepts of home, this volume integrates the global and local by drawing upon a range of disciplines and cities in the Global South and Eastern Europe. Ultimately Murphy and Hourani, advocate an approach that is both scholarly and activist, a critical and unique combination for addressing questions of housing inequality today.’ Setha M. Low, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, USA

About the Authors

Edward Murphy and Najib B. Hourani are both at Michigan State University, USA.

About the Series

Global Urban Studies

Global Urban Studies

This series is published in conjunction with the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University, USA.

Providing cutting edge interdisciplinary research on spatial, political, cultural and economic processes and issues in urban areas across the US and the world, books in this series examine the global processes that impact and unite urban areas. The organizing theme of the book series is the reality that behavior within and between cities and urban regions must be understood in a larger domestic and international context. An explicitly comparative approach to understanding urban issues and problems allows scholars and students to consider and analyse new ways in which urban areas across different societies and within the same society interact with each other and address a common set of challenges or issues. Books in the series cover topics which are common to urban areas globally, yet illustrate the similarities and differences in conditions, approaches, and solutions across the world, such as environment/brownfields, sustainability, health, economic development, culture, governance and national security. In short, the Global Urban Studies book series takes an interdisciplinary approach to emergent urban issues using a global or comparative perspective.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Residential
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development