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Profs and Pints DC presents: “The Foundations of Housing Inequality” with Richard D. Kahlenberg, a professorial lecturer of public policy and administration at George Washington University, senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and author of Excluded: How Snob Zoning, NIMBYism, and Class Bias Build the Walls We Don’t See.
High mortgage rates are hardly the only daunting obstacle faced by today’s home buyers. Overall, housing has become so expensive that people are having to move further and further out into the periphery of metropolitan areas to find dwellings they can afford. With metropolitan areas increasingly segregated by income many of those searching for homes find themselves shut out of safe communities with good schools. Some of the cities with the best jobs are priced out of the reach of the workers their employers hope to attract.
How did things get that way?
Gain a firm understanding of the structural basis of today’s housing woes from Richard Kahlenberg, a leading scholar of the forces that divide rich from poor and puts the American Dream out of much of society’s reach.
In examining what determines who gets to live where in America, he’ll focus on the big role played by what he calls “snob zoning laws”—local ordinances that make it illegal to build anything other than single family homes, sometimes on at least half-acre lots. As Kahlenberg recently explored in an article published in The Atlantic, some of the worst forms of exclusionary zoning are often found in politically liberal areas, where people somehow reconcile their opposition to a wall on the border with Mexico with their support for whatever walls keep the less-fortunate out of their town.
We’ll examine who benefits from such laws and what advantages they reap from them. We’ll also look at who is hurt by them, and how.
Finally, Kahlenberg will discuss the growing movement for change. You’ll learn how unusual cross- partisan political coalitions have come together in states across the country, from California and to Vermont, to try to tear down the invisible walls that divide us. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Photo by Mark Moz / Creative Commons.