Shifting the Fair Housing Narrative

The nation's fair housing policies are built on a foundation of assumptions that neglects the community and culture of low-income neighborhoods.

January 18, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Minneapolis Protests

Sam Wagner / Shutterstock

Edward G. Goetz, Anthony Damiano, and Rashad Williams explain the work of a coalition called Equity in Plan to shift the discussion about fair housing in the Twin Cities. According to the article, Equity in Place (EIP) has shifted the discussion about fair housing with a simple question: "Why do we think moving to white neighborhoods will solve our problems?"

The question has its roots in the fair housing battles surrounding disparate impact and affirmatively furthering fair housing, which attempt to overcome a history of discriminatory planning and development policies that concentrated public housing resources in areas of high poverty. EIP makes the case that the fair housing narrative neglects the communal and cultural identity of these neighborhoods.

"EIP first emerged in 2013, in response to the Metropolitan Council’s decennial regional plan, Thrive MSP 2040," according to the article. The regional plan was built on a "a Fair Housing Equity Assessment that, in accordance with HUD’s directives,  emphasized the identification of both 'racially concentrated areas of poverty' (RCAPs, later amended by HUD to RECAPs—racially/ethnically concentrated areas of poverty) and 'high opportunity areas,'" according to the article.

EIP organizers created a three-pronged response: regarding narrative, EIP wanted to challenge the dominant storyline that portrays RECAPs as the central problem of regional equity; in policy terms, EIP wanted to challenge the dominant housing strategy that focused on moving people to “opportunity neighborhoods”; and, in political terms, the group demanded a place at the table for low-wealth communities of color when decisions about those communities are being made. Most fundamentally, EIP wanted to redefine regional equity in ways that include “building the economic, cultural, political, human and social capital of the places people of color already call home”

"Between 2013 and 2020, a central element of EIP’s work was investigating the unstated assumptions of this opportunity framework and expressing them in easily understood language," according the article.

A lot more detail on the fruits of that work is included in the source article.

Monday, January 4, 2021 in Shelterforce Magazine

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.