Government and Politics

The intellectual, ideological, negotiating, regulatory and decision-making frameworks in which decisions are made affecting the loss or gain of affordable housing in a community.

Changing The Way We See Our Neighbours

Sheryll Cashin, a professor from Georgetown University in the United States, says that we need to change our thinking when it comes to community planning. She argues that current...

Housing Help? You Could Kick Ass And Take Names Like Kwajo Tweneboa

It's not too hard to describe 'adequate housing.' The United Nations has done so. It shouldn't be all that difficult to get entire nations to commit to the principle...

Potato, Potahto, Tomato, Tomahto, Let’s Not Call Public Housing Off

Is it a name game or a blame game or a mixture of both? Let's look at the words. Developers as well as affordable housing activists from both ends of...

Countering Discrimination In The Property Tax System

If you’ve ever wondered how systems and structures contribute to discrimination, this is a great story to read. It’s about a property tax auction in Baltimore. The City holds...

Goosed By Pandemic: Walkers? Yes, Big Time! Bikers . . . Not So Much

The cost of housing is so high these days that ownership is prohibitive to many, if not most in the next generation. Meanwhile, rental housing costs can drive you...

Vision and Evidence — An Important Pairing In A Campaign For Social Housing

Renters Rising and the Center For Popular Democracy have published a vision document for social housing advocates in the United States: Social Housing For All. The document sets the stage...

A History of Evolving Planning Prejudice in America

Adam Paul Susaneck is an architect. His research and its implications might be mistaken as a focus on 'building design.' But the scope of one of his current projects...

Energy Retrofits In Older Homes: A Case Study

Climate change is a compelling argument for doing things differently. In northern climates at least, our homes contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and rising global temperatures. Researchers have...

A Key To Implementing The Right To Adequate Housing In Canada: Coordination

Now that Canada has officially recognized the right to adequate housing in legislation (The National Housing Strategy Act), knowledgeable Canadians are busy helping the country to get off to...

UK Flirts With NIMBY On Steroids! Can It Help Local Planning?

Top levels of British Government have suddenly discovered that people get passionate about neighbourhood change. As a memory jog for those who haven't considered this lately, it's a familiar...

Optical Delusion: Solving Homelessness In Texas

Nearly a year ago now, the Texas legislature with the stroke of a pen turned the homeless into criminals. Of course, the law didn't quite say that. Instead, it...

Developer Wet Dream: Housing That Fails The Test Of Time

New York City is blessed with an enormous amount of public housing that has so far withstood the test of time. Yes, it needs 40+ billion dollars for repairs....

To Stop Housing, Mass Transit, Green Energy? Just Yell

Who knew that democracy could be so easily subverted by a few angry, determined voices? A recent article in The Atlantic explores in depth how America's democratic system can...

The Plague Of High Housing Prices Spreads Across British Columbia

Tim Richter is one of the leaders behind Vote Housing, a Canadian campaign to draw attention to the affordable housing crisis. He frequently reminds us that we have created...

United Kingdom Energy Security Strategy – What’s Missing?

To mark Earth Day this year, the National Housing Federation (NHF) summarized developments in energy saving activities among social housing providers. We've chosen to pair the first subject covered: "Electric...

Breathing Health: Colorblind For All The Wrong Reasons

"You are what you eat" is a well known phrase that ties human well-being to healthy food. The deterioration of America's public housing in particular has added another important...

Bristol UK Social Housing Bootstraps Wind Power

The world is scheduling the abandonment of gas and petroleum power. So bring on electricity! That demand is being energized by activists and, increasingly, by government. And when governments...

Affordable Housing Brings Down Nearby Property Values, Doesn’t It?

Does living near affordable housing boost property values or lower them? Christina Stacy and Christopher Davis, who are based at the Urban Institute in the United States, reviewed existing...

Social Housing Development – Thorough Research Pays Off

Affordablehousingaction.org frequently trots out Singapore and Vienna as examples of 'how social housing could be done better.' Nor is this some unique trend. Governments support fact finding missions. As...

What Happens If NIMBY Takes Aim At Net Zero?

Net ZeroSee the United Nations Net Zero Coalition for more on this term: Climate Action , Social Housing and NIMBY: what lies at the intersection of these murky futures?...

Canada: Local Tools To Implement The Right To Adequate Housing

One thing you can say about local governments – they really can't turn away from the housing struggles of their residents. And to their credit, local governments in Canada have...

Homeless RV Problems Reveal The Limits of Soft-Hearted Shrug

Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are a subclass of generalized homeless problems and growing as all homelessness is in North America. An international view of officialdom seems to be that tents are...

Feeling Pissed About We The Police? Have A House On Us.

In North America, we're accustomed to Police Associations as reactive. Defending this officer or that from allegations of this or that. Lobbying this jurisdiction or that to prevent reduction...

Sacramento, CA Fights For A Legal Right To Housing For The Homeless

Over the last year, California's state capitol, Sacramento has been working hard to balance a responsibility to find or create shelter for the city's homeless. It has been a...

Homelessness Officialdom. All Dressed Up, But . . . Places To Go?

A homelessness story out of Deschutes County points to a dilemma that local authorities are wrestling this these days as they receive funding from higher levels of government. As in...

Bleeding-Heart Seattle Finds A Homeless Gun to Its Head

A Seattle City Councilmember tasked with leading up a homelessness committee, discovered that readily available police statistics on crime and violence were simply not part of homelessness decision making...

Sorting Out Who Does What In Housing And Homelessness In Canada

One of the more tiresome aspects of the housing and homelessness crisis in Canada is the issue of jurisdiction. It provides ample opportunity for elected representatives to say, “not...

The Rise Of The Land Economy. It’s Shaping Your Future

You are a young person who has done all the right things. You've got a good education and a job that pays well. You're living with your parents to...

The Wealth Gap Widened During COVID. How To Close It?

Researchers from Australia and the UK have teamed up to review and analyse what happened to the housing market during COVID. They extended their study to include New Zealand,...

West Coast U.S. Activists Struggle To Reinvent A Housing Wheel

We think re-inventing this particular housing wheel is a very positive thing. The activists themselves are understandably wary of admitting their ambitions for very good reasons, because it will...

Canada Needs To Guarantee Oldsters Won’t Die In The Gutter

"Wanted: successful house-owner-capitalist who bought early but is willing to forego selling up and reaping a juicy profit — prepared instead to merely break even, or even to take...

Facing The Facts About Renting A Home In Canada – Part II

Affordablehousingaction.org is featuring two posts about housing for renters in Canada. The first post is about is a remarkable production by students from Ryerson University. This one is remarkable in...

Facing The Facts About Renting A Home In Canada – Part I

Housing prices are going up. Housing prices are going up. Housing prices are going up. Not very catchy, but certainly a consistent reprise in the media. Many of these...

USA Climate Change: Who’s Got Junk? Everybody.

Climate change has brought new risks to America, as it has to every other nation in the world. One kind of risk, as yet little prepared-for, is debris from...

BC: Transitional Housing Gone Wrong?

Intimidation, drug dealing, drug use and overdoses, petty crime, breaking and entering — what's that all about? Well, some might say it's just the same old Not In My...

‘Vote Housing:’ Motherhood With Neither Meaning Nor Method?

In modern democracy, to what degree can activism from the "bottom" result in meaningful change at the "top"? Here's a Canadian question, with an American analysis — the same...

Rent Control Unpacked

The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence has just published a report about rent control. The report reviews evidence published in academic journals and grey literatureFor a good discussion...

NIMBY = Who Gets Heard

NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that a worldwide affordable housing crisis is opposed. The Maytree FoundationThe...

Mississauga Housing Planners Put Boots To YIMBY Fantasy

'Naturally affordable' housing is the the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker of urban housing. (Not quite as likely to be extinct, true enough. The last recorded Ivory-Bill sighting in its Louisiana swamp...

North America Fair Housing Redress Is A Worldwide Guide

The histories of many North American cities are marred by institutional acts of unfairness and cruelty towards a catalog of colors, races and religions. In this current world of war...

Canada’s National Housing Strategy – Heading Off In The Wrong Direction

Canada's National Housing Council has just released a report with a title that is hardly a headline grabber: Analysis of Affordable Housing Supply Created by Unilateral National Housing Strategy...

Reflections On The U.S. Housing Crisis In The Great Depression

The 1930's were a desperate time in the U.S. Years of drought meant repeated crop failures. Work sites were shuttered. Hundreds of thousands of people lost work and their...

Pointed Housing Protest In Montréal vs. Canuck Truckers Needling Ottawa

It was recently encouraging to see protesters in the province de Québec (PQ) with a clear sense of purpose. It happened at the same time as disgruntled Canadian truckers...

Victoria, AU Sinks $800m Social Housing Hook Into Developers

The Australian State of Victoria appears to be bucking international trends by not only announcing a massive social housing (rent geared to income) build, but actually taking the necessary...

Is EnerPHit the Future of Affordable Housing?

Can affordable housing high rises serve the needs of low-income people and cut carbon dioxide emissions at the same time — all at a competitive cost? Let's look at...

The ‘Magnet Effect’: Breaking The Heart Of Homelessness

". . .you in your small corner, and I in mine," is an evocative phrase from a children's hymn, proposing that individuals might shine in the light of a...

Giving Lived Experience Of Homelessness/Precarious Housing Their Due

Lived experience. Think about it for a moment. If you wanted to prevent homelessness, of which you had no direct knowledge, it would seem sensible to get advice from...

Housing For All: The Death Of Democracy In Victoria, Australia?

The State of Victoria in Australia has come up with an astonishing plan to actually fight homelessness with housing. It intends to do so by rapidly building some 10,000...

Denver Official Tent Communities: Admirable But Ephemeral

It's hard to picture (the following article allows that) one of Denver, Colorado's official homeless tent communities without noticing how ephemeral it is. A strong puff of wind might...

SA Homeless Network Holds ‘Stats SA’ Feet To The Fire

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), like all census organizations, is a passionate advocate for the importance of counting its citizens in as many ways possible. In the words of...

A ‘Green’ Opportunity To Make Homes Accessible

Disability rights activists have been pointing out that despite international agreement about accessibility rights, much of the built environment is not accessible. One of those activists, Graham Findlay, sees...

The Many Colours of NIMBY: Kitties On Steroids

NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that a worldwide affordable housing crisis is opposed. It's been more...

After Suitable Caution, We’re Pumping Our Fists For Norwegian Heat Pumps

Are there reasons to be cheerful about heat pumps? That's the story from Norway. Being apartment renters all, the staff of affordablehousingaction.org's own cheeriness about heat pumps is entirely...

Pricey Climate Broil: Global Crisis With Different Strokes For Different Folks

For the hot, hot, hot citizens of Phoenix, Arizona, climate change is cranking up the weather thermostat. A recent report describes rising local temperatures as "expensive," and outlines some...

U.S. Mayors Take The Heat For Homelessness — Survey

Researchers at the Boston University Initiative on Cities have been interviewing U.S. mayors annually since 2014. This isn't your standard on-line survey. The team actually speaks to mayors. Although...

Deadly Cold, Deadly Heat: North America Threatens A Continent’s Homeless

A life-ending threat to the homeless is a familiar one over large swaths of North America in the depths of winter: deadly cold. With homelessness on the increase as...

“Advanced Nation” Housing Policy: If It Doesn’t Work, Patch It. Can We Do Better?

Current housing policy frameworks in many westernized countries resemble hospitals stocked exclusively with multi-coloured bandaids. Last week's solution is now this week's problem? Rip off the old plaster. Stick...

Australian Capital Territory’s Housing Policies Don’t Stand Up To Scrutiny

Jon Stanhope is perplexed. He led the government in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from 2001 to 2011. Since retiring from the scene, housing in the ACT has become...

Post-Grenfell Fire Research – Effects Spread Throughout The Country

London's Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 was a tragedy not only for the residents, but also for a much larger portion of the population. An ongoing inquiry after the...

Subjects Of A Lawsuit, Homeless In NYC Prevail Against Poisonous Neighbours

Do governments need to institute anti-discrimination laws to protect the working poor? When it comes to other disadvantaged classes — those suffering from discrimination due to gender, race colour,...

Too Young To Fret? Social Housing Provides Outlet For Youthful Worrying

Why should children and youth worry about major world conundrums such as ongoing deadly pandemics, or human-triggered climate change that promises to soon broil more and more life on earth?...

Is Land Use Planning Accountable For Decisions That Help Some White People Get Ahead?

During the first months of COVID in England, media attention focused on the high rate of infection among Black and South Asian residents. The homes of Black and South...

Australia’s Housing Policy Is Failing Its Citizens

Complimenting some recent posts about the housing crisis in AustraliaTry: Praiseworthy Australian COVID Response A Blip In Housing Financialization Focus and Domestic Violence Costs Australia: Social Housing Can Help...

Caution For Cities Paddling Beyond Their Depth In The Social Housing Pool

Halifax, Nova Scotia's largest city, has been exploring for some time how to counter unpalatable social housing decisions made by the provinceIn this post, "social" housing refers to non-market...

Praiseworthy Australian COVID Response A Blip In National Housing Crisis

A recent study has been released by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). It's the work of their Poverty and Inequality...

Affordable Housing For All? Denmark Shows Only Voters Can Make It Happen

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, a fragment of a William Butler Yeats poem, The Second Coming Representative democracies would seem to be...

Manchester UK Breaks New Ground In Building Social Housing To Green Specs

Social housing activists on both sides of the Atlantic from USA across to the UK and Europe, fight an uphill battle against persistent remnants of neoliberal thought. By now, everyone...

Water You Waiting For? Climate Change Disaster That Needs Fixing Now

Peering south from the top half of the North American continent, a casual observer might be inclined to believe that climate-change driven floods are a crisis for the south,...

UK Council Invokes Third Monkey: Social Tenants Furious

Sandwell, UK, Social Housing tenants can practice seeing no evil, as well as hearing no evil as much or little as it suits them. Council doesn't care about that....

Why Parks Are Needed For The Poor, More Than Middle Class Or Rich

"Plant Blindness" — it's an affliction you may well never have heard of. But plants play an important role in human health. Plant blindness prevents us from taking advantage...

Glued To Their Charitable Task, “Insulate Britain” Has The UK Infuriated

Affordablehousingaction.org has as its principal interests ending homelessness,  preventing people from becoming homeless and providing truly affordable housing for the most vulnerable. How can we be expected to resist the...

When Developers Kiss & Cuddle With City Hall: A Cautionary Tale

Yes, free market developers might well be able to do "it" better, cheaper and in a more timely fashion than a public developer, such as a city government. If they...

Housing in The Far North: Familiar Unaffordability With An Ugly Climate Twist

Recently, we reported on a CBC special series that examined the financialization of rental housing in Canada's far north, which was making life difficult — often next to impossible...

Realizing Housing Rights In Canada – Embarking On A New Journey

Bruce Porter, Executive Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre, works to improve the housing situation of people in Canada who live in poor conditions. Some of his work...

An Intriguing Shelter-Almost-In-Place Response to Weather Disasters

Whether a product of climate change or not, some weather disasters have been with us forever. Flooding is one particular inevitability, thanks to human habitation near water for transportation...

Inclusionary Housing Policies and International Connections

Miriam Maina is a researcher at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She previously worked at the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa and is interested...

Permanently Overwhelmed By Climate Change? For Some It’s Already Happening

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is featuring a series of explorations about climate change. It recently took that interest south to an in-depth exploration of the impact of two...

Housing Activists Vs. Mega-Landlords: How To Be More German About It

In the war of attrition against hostile housing forces, the city state of Berlin, Germany recently gave housing activists world-wide something to cheer about. The hostile forces were (and still...

A Rhode Island Public Housing Collective Becomes An Electricity Farm

The earliest forms of energy conversion for human use were granular — many small conversions using wood or peat or coal in a fireplace for warmth or a stove...

Are You Part Of A Huddled Mass Yearning to Be Free? Then Vote!

"Free" enterprise must be something of a bewilderment for those in search of western "freedom." There would seem to be millions of people in this category, directly linking, without...

A Fix For Illegal Housing? Wanted: Politicians Who Lead

The City of New York recently declared an emergency following Hurricane Ida, which flooded homes and apartment buildings in low lying areas. Eleven of the 13 people who died...

On The Logic Of Locating Deeply Affordable Housing Close To Work Opportunities

If public housing is meant to be transitional rather than transformative Try: Public Housing Futures: Transitional Or Transformative?, it follows that public housing must be located within striking distance...

Where In North America To Find A German Housing Thunderbolt? Look To Montréal

When it comes to affordable housing, Canada might well have been holding two federal elections last month, not one. Cheerleading for the country's housing and homelessness activists, the consortium known...

Public Housing Vertical Forests in North America: Future or Fad?

As far as North America is concerned, vertical forests are not quite the future or the current fad. It seems none have arrived here yet. In Europe, it's another story....

Skip The Fiddly Bits And Just Send Cash: A Poverty Fix Proposal

When a major U.S. news outlet proposes that the best antidote to poverty is "cold, hard, cash" it's worthy of a read. There's a certain irony in the followingAXIOS article,...

Gentrification – What We Know And What We Don’t

AJ Golio, a PhD candidate at Tulane University, has penned a thoughtful article in Shelterforce about gentrificationFor an explanation of gentrification, try: Gentrification: What is it? How Does It...

Does Paris Have A Method For U.S. Public Housing Madness?

The United States is gradually waking up to the fact that it has profoundly neglected the upkeep of its public housing. This hasn't mattered under several decades of neoliberal...

A Tour Of Social Housing Revival In North America

The demolitions of Cabrini Green in Chicago and Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis, two very large public housing projects, reflect decisions made by people who had never lived there. Some...

France Plans Targets For Using Natural Materials In Public Buildings

A 15 unit public housing project in Paris's 18th arrondissement is catching the attention of architectural magazines. The building, which is built with hempcrete insulation, rises no higher than...

Affordable Housing Squeaky Wheels: Safety & Results in Numbers?

How many public housing tenants does it take to screw in a lightbulb? In the wrong light, this question might be viewed as a joke. To make it more serious,...

A Tug Of War Between The Affordable Housing Crisis And The Climate Crisis

The demolition of Cabrini Green — public housing units in that were home to 15,000 people in Chicago — is the starting point of this article in Salon about...

Climate Change And The Pandemic Drive Interest In Land Trusts and Co-operatives

News from Reuters appeared recently about low cost housing co-operatives in Thailand, which have been supported by the Thai government since 2003. As a consequence of climate change, more and...

Landlords Beware! Berlin’s Revenge Of The Renters Gets Green Light

The unremitting bumpiness of a worldwide affordable housing crisis hit a smooth patch momentarily with referendum news from Berlin that puts corporate landlords on notice that real change might...

Upzoning That Suits Housing Affordability: Off The Rack Or Made To Measure?

Upzoning! Brought to you by those developer-folks who once facilitated the American Suburban Dream! Now they want suburbanites to change their living spots, or at least nudge over a...

Scientists Champion Measures To Improve Indoor Air Quality

Thirty-nine scientists contributed to an article about indoor air quality in the May 2021 issue of Science. Their major concern is that indoor air quality is largely unregulated and...

Green Building Materials: Not 1 But 3 Little Pigs Can Be Winners

Remember the three little pigs and their variously constructed houses, only one of which survived the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolf? Well, modern, eco-aware societies need pigs...

How Much Can A Street Corner Market Stall Skew A City’s Future?

If you live in a large city anywhere, it's not hard to put eyes on the dominating concept for the municipal change: "top down" city development. Just gaze on...

National Housing Crises Everywhere? Fix Them By Killing Neoliberalism

Fine to suggest killing it, but both left-wing leaning and right-wing leaning political parties in westernized nations have been enamoured with neoliberalism for the past thirty or forty years. Is...

Public Housing: “Lean And Mean” Clashes With “Green”

American public housing over the last few decades has been an underfunded study in ignoring basic tenant health and safety. But with a growing outcry about everything from lead...

Up In Smoke: Current Fate of UK Proposals For Cannabis Construction

Insulation? It doesn't have to be a manufactured product. It can be grown. Seaweed insulation made from shallow water eel grass once provided an excellent quality of insulation, gathered...
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