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Participatory Politics and America's Housing Crisis
Since the collapse of the housing market in 2008, demand for housing has consistently outpaced supply in many US communities. The failure to construct sufficient housing - especially affordable housing - in desirable communities and neighborhoods comes with significant social, economic, and environmental costs. This book examines how local participatory land use institutions amplify the power of entrenched interests and privileged homeowners. The book draws on sweeping data to examine the dominance of land use politics by 'neighborhood defenders' - individuals who oppose new housing projects far more strongly than their broader communities and who are likely to be privileged on a variety of dimensions. Neighborhood defenders participate disproportionately and take advantage of land use regulations to restrict the construction of multifamily housing. The result is diminished housing stock and higher housing costs, with participatory institutions perversely reproducing inequality.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'An excellent resource for those interested in housing policy and politics in the US.' D. Schultz, Choice 'Neighborhood Defenders is an incredibly important book that sharpens our understanding of how privileged voices are fundamentally advantaged in local politics. The book reveals that land use regulations restrict housing development and equal access to housing by offering the opportunity for motivated residents to delay, alter, and sometimes even veto development through the public hearing process.' Jessica Trounstine, University of California, Merced 'Neighborhood Defenders is a book of nuances, to be read with your thinking cap on and your mind open to new insights. It shows that, while participation can be a powerful source of inequality, NIMBYISM is only one slice of the whole reality of housing politics.' Clarence Stone, George Washington University