Four Kinds Of Affordable Housing That Can Work In A Democracy

Market Estate from Caledonian Clocktower photo by caledonianpark is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Market Estate, North London, symbols of a failed public affordable housing solution.

Social housing has been largely abandoned by democracy. Or at least by those democracies that have participated most fervently in the East-West Cold War, where socialism became viewed in the west as a kind of embodiment of evil.

Did social housing projects die a natural and deserving death in western countries? Or were they a workable and affordable system assassinated by political opponents? The answer will no doubt endure as a subject of academic debate.

But in spite of a recent U.S. election dominated in part by Bernie Sanders-inspired left-wing social activists, as well as the rehabilitation to a small degree of the philosophy of socialism, a new democratic socialist movement will come to nothing. Mature democracies, such as those of the American and the United Kingdom govern from a compromising centre, not the far right, or the far left. Short of an unlikely revolution, the social housing experiment will grace the sidelines of democracy, at least in America, for some considerable time to come.

It is abundantly clear that home ownership in a free-enterprise democracy is both a sacred right, and the greatest source of wealth (or at least notional wealth) for a huge number of its citizens. Land and housing speculation can not, and will not, be sacrificed to affordable housing needs, even as kludged-together public/private affordable housing partnerships attempt to navigate the democratic, free market environment and show themselves to be entirely unable to solve the affordable housing crisis at its current scale.

So the big question is: are there affordable models besides social/public housing that can coexist with market-rate housing and citizen rights to flip land and flip housing for profit?

The answer, it would seem: there are at least four.

Read more at Fast Company: 4 Radical Real Estate Ideas To Fix Our Broken Housing System