Earlier this year, The Economist ran a piece making the case that the West’s “obsession” with home ownership “undermines growth, fairness and public faith in capitalism.” The roots for this go back to a shift in public policy in the 1950s to encourage home ownership over renting. The benefits of home ownership, writes the author, are overblown. What’s more, the “cult of owner-occupation has huge costs. Those who own homes often become NIMBYs who resist development in an effort to protect their investments.”
This article is the topic of discussion on today’s episode of Upzoned, with host Abby Kinney, an urban planner in Kansas City, and regular cohost Chuck Marohn, the founder and president of Strong Towns. Abby and Chuck discuss whether there really is an infatuation with home ownership in the United States, and what effect that infatuation may be having on the housing crisis and economic inequality. They talk about the role of home ownership in giving residents a stake in creating wealth and stability. And they discuss why it’s important to resist oversimplifying the phenomena of housing unaffordability.
Then in the Downzone, Chuck talks about finally finishing Union, by Colin Woodard, a great book he started before his accident. And Abby recommends The Myth of Capitalism, co-authored by Denise Hearn, who was also a guest on Monday’s episode of the Strong Towns podcast.Additional Show Notes
“Home ownership is the West’s biggest economic-policy mistake” (The Economist)
Abby Kinney (Twitter)
Charles Marohn (Twitter)
Gould Evans Studio for City Design
Theme Music by Kemet the Phantom (Soundcloud)
Further reading from Strong Towns on the housing crisis
“What Can Hives and Barnacles Teach Us About Solving a Housing Crisis?” by Patrick Condon
“How Do You Solve a Problem Like Housing Prices” (Podcast)
“Could This Bottom-Up Method to Address the Housing Crisis Work Where You Live Too?” by Rachel Quednau
“Want to make housing more affordable? Start by designing neighborhoods, not just buildings.” by Quint Studer
“We Used to Just Call These Houses,” by Daniel Herriges
Housing is About Capital Flow, and Always Has Been
Has Infrastructure Become the "Ultimate Partisan Battleground"?
Does Subsidizing Electric Vehicles Promote Car Dependency?
How People-Centered Is Toronto's "People-Centered" Vision?
"If you have a property in the city, you should not leave it empty."
How a Small California Town is Charting Its Own Course to Energy Resilience
How Christchurch, New Zealand became a lesson in how NOT to rebuild after a disaster
When (If Ever) Should States Preempt Cities?
A Game-Changer for Economic Development in Arizona
Does Increasing Available Housing Cause Gentrification?
What Can We Hope For from a Mayor Pete D.O.T.?
Parking's "Free Ride" Is a Financial Disaster for Cities
Public Housing and the Housing Crisis
The Problem with Creating “Slow Streets” Too Fast
"Will Cities Survive 2020?"
For Teens, No Room in the Pandemic City
Will Wyoming Have to Start "Abandoning" Its Small Towns?
COVID-19 and the Boom in Multigenerational Housing
Winds of Change in Kansas City
Local and Diverse > Networked and Global
Turning the Tide, Saving the Chesapeake Bay
NALC’s Postal Record Audiobook
Going Direct with CAL FIRE Local 2881
Navigating Change With Shane and Mike
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