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Housing Policy in the United States Paperback – Feb 2 2010


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"This is THE book to use for courses on housing policy and programs.The book conveys the strengths and weaknesses of America’s crazy-quilt system of housing development, regulation, finance, and policy. Kudos again to Alex Schwartz for making a complex topic understandable, even enjoyable, without over-simplifying."—Peter Dreier, Politics, Occidental College

"This book could not be more timely. At the height of a global financial meltdown brought on by outrageous predatory mortgage lending practices just a few short years ago, this book shines a bright line on both the long term and short term policies that brought us the most devastating economic crisis since the Great Depression."—Gregory Squires, Sociology, George Washington University

"Housing Policy in the United States was already in a class by itself. Now with its updated statistics and analysis of the recent housing crunch, the second edition becomes a "no-brainer" choice as foundational text for social scientists and planners interested in contemporary housing problems and policy responses."—George Galster, Urban Studies and Planning, Wayne State University

About the Author

Alex F. Schwartzis Associate Professor at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy and Chairman of the school's Department of Urban Policy Analysis and Management.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Overall....Nicely Done Nov. 13 2006
By Fred McGhee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're searching for an introductory one-volume treatment of this subject that is also well written and researched, you'd be hard-pressed to top this book. That's not to say that I don't have quibbles; the book could have contained more critical insight and still would have worked fine as an introductory level text.

For example both the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and the public housing chapters (chapters 5 and 6) seem to take the inherent value of "deconcentration" and "mixed income" at face value, at a time when both notions are finally beginning to receive long overdue critical attention from social scientists (besides William Julius Wilson), not just planners, pundits, and politicians. It turns out that these notions are highly problematic in their actual application. As Edward Goetz and others have pointed out about the HOPE VI program for instance, "the program is not so much about improving the conditions for previous residents as it is about reclaiming urban neighborhoods for middle- income families." This is a stronger statement than Schwartz makes on p. 118 of the book where he observes instead that the program "does not necessarily improve the lives of all the residents of the original public housing."

It is also neither fair nor balanced for Schwartz to neglect to mention that the 1937 U.S. Housing Act, as one of its many compromises, ITSELF required segregated housing projects (in the book he suggests that segregated public housing was more of a local phenomenon). He also overemphasizes the role of elected officials in Black neighborhoods who he says did not want integrated housing because it would have affected their political base. Does he mean to honestly suggest that the black desire to hold on to what limited political power it possessed during the Jim Crow 1930's is somehow to blame as much for segregated public housing in America as the actions of people such as Rep. Henry Steagall (the House sponsor of the bill) of Alabama? Schwartz's simple and direct discussion of racism in the FHA earlier in the book is better and more honest.

Then there's the simple but honest critical question that Schwartz doesn't really tackle: at a time of record profits in the secondary mortgage market (discussed in pages 56-62), how is it that housing affordability problems continue to exist and in some cases even worsen in city after American city?

On the plus side, the fair housing chapter (chapter 11) is excellent, as is the "stubborn facts of housing policy" section of the last chapter. Also, Schwartz's summary of HUD's programs for the homeless and disabled is one of the most concise I have read.

In the end my nitpicks do not detract from the fact that Schwartz has written the most accessible and comprehensive introductory text on American housing policy out there. By explaining the often byzantine laws and rules governing housing finance, he has performed a much-needed public service. And by clarifying why housing matters (and will continue to matter) in the way that he does, he is positively contributing to a growing and much needed debate.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Most complete book on the subject. May 10 2006
By Susan Jacobs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Professor Schwartz has written simply the most complete book on public housing available today. It's easy to follow, and covers every aspect of the public policy and finance behind the shaping of our urban landscape. This is not only an excellent classroom text, but useful for anyone interested in learning more about the growth -- and possible decay -- of our great American cities.
Without a doubt the best possible introduction to housing policy April 13 2014
By Anne W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Alex Schwartz's Housing Policy in the United States is without a doubt the best possible introduction to housing policy. I have used the current edition (2nd) and the previous edition in teaching graduate seminars, but it is accessible enough to be useful in an upper-division undergraduate course or for practitioners, elected officials, or others who simply want to know more about U.S. housing policy.
Great book May 28 2013
By E. Cohen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for a course on real estate development. It was very helpful, especially for its discussions of federal affordable housing programs such as Low Income Housing Tax Credits and HOPE VI. Well written, clear, and a great reference material for real estate developers and urban planners working in the housing policy sector.
Fantastic Resource Oct. 31 2012
By Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Schwartz's "Housing Policy in the United States" is a wonderful resource, providing useful data and analysis on a broad range of housing issues. This was my textbook for a course on the intersection of urban housing policy and law - couldn't have asked for a better text.


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