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Housing Perspectives

Research, trends, and perspective from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

Our Spring Events Focus on Homelessness, Urban Revitalization, Housing Finance, and Equitable Development

Addressing homelessness, spurring urban revitalization, reforming housing finance, and encouraging equitable development are among the topics that will be discussed at our major events this spring. In addition, speakers in our bi-weekly Housing Research Seminar will discuss such topics as Airbnb’s impact on housing prices, promising strategies for reducing the cost of building housing, and the ongoing rental affordability crisis.

Featured Events

The Center’s major events, most of which will be livestreamed, kick off on February 27 with Saving America’s Cities: The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Revitalization, which will feature a presentation by Harvard historian Lizabeth Cohen, author of Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age, followed by a conversation with former HUD Secretary and OMB Director Shaun Donovan and GSD Dean Sarah Whiting. Together, they will discuss what Logue’s work suggests about how policy, planning, and design can address current urban challenges.

On March 24, architect Michael Maltzan will deliver the 20th Annual John T. Dunlop lecture on Addressing Homelessness: What Can (and Can’t) Architecture Do? Drawing on the work his firm has done for the Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles, Maltzan will reflect on the ways in which architecture and other design professions can help address problems of housing affordability. Mike Alvidrez, CEO Emeritus of the Skid Row Housing Trust and Helen Leung, Co-Executive Director of LA-Más, a non-profit urban design organization in LA, will provide context for Maltzan’s remarks.

On March 31, Don Layton, the former CEO of Freddie Mac who is now a Senior Industry Fellow at the Center will discuss Housing Finance Reform: The $11 Trillion Fight Over Public Policy, Ideology…and Money. A self-described technocrat who had a long career in banking and finance, Layton will draw on his experience to assess current proposals for housing finance reform and outline practical suggestions for policymakers who believe government should play a positive role in housing finance.

On April 17, the Center, along with GSD’s Department of Urban Planning and Design and the Loeb Fellowship program, are co-sponsoring the half-day symposium In Pursuit of Equitable Development: Lessons From Washington, Detroit, and Boston. The afternoon will feature presentations by practitioners, civic leaders, and public officials involved with efforts to bring equitable development to low-income and largely minority neighborhoods in Washington, DC, Detroit, and Boston.

Lunchtime Seminars and Student Conferences

Our bi-weekly Housing Research Seminar Series, which are held at lunchtime on Fridays, will include presentations this semester on such topics as the continued problem of rental affordability, promising strategies for reducing the cost of building multifamily housing, and Airbnb’s impact on housing prices in New York City. These sessions, which begin on February 7, are also livestreamed on Twitter. The Center is also co-sponsoring several other lunchtime events including one examining Boston’s Approach to Housing Innovation (February 13) and a talk with George Galster, author of Making Our Neighborhoods, Making Our Selves (April 23).

Finally, we are providing support for several student-organized conferences this semester, including the Black Policy Conference at HKS, the Harvard Real Estate Weekend at GSD, and conferences organized by both Students for the Alleviation of Poverty and Inequality (SAPSI) at HKS and by Doctor of Design students at GSD.

We hope to see you (in person or online!) at one of our spring events. More information is available on our website.