Blog round-up

Recommendations on subsidizing dwellings from the Toronto Public Library

The Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. now houses the collection of the Urban Affairs Library, formerly located at Metro Hall. As a specialized collection devoted to all aspects of urban planning and local government, the library contains far more than the materials cited here. Titles were selected by librarian Cynthia Fisher to give you an overview of some new and some old books and reports that you can find at the library to complement (and perhaps contradict) some of Jane Jacobs’ views. When viewing the catalogue records for the books, click on some of the subject headings to give you a broader range of materials.

From despair to hope : HOPE VI and the new promise of public housing in America’s cities

For decades, the American federal government’s failure to provide decent and affordable housing to very low-income families has given rise to severely distressed urban neighborhoods that defeat the best hopes of both residents and local officials. Now, however, there is cause for optimism. From Despair to Hope documents the evolution of HOPE VI, a federal program that promotes mixed-income housing integrated with services and amenities to replace the economically and socially isolated public housing complexes of the past. As one of the most ambitious urban development initiatives in the last half century, HOPE VI has transformed the landscape in Atlanta, Baltimore, Louisville, Seattle, and other cities, providing vivid examples of a true federal-urban partnership and offering lessons for policy innovators.

This vibrant, full-color exploration of HOPE VI details the fate of residents, neighborhoods, cities, and public housing systems through personal testimony, interviews, case studies, data analyses, research summaries, photographs, and more. Contributors examine what HOPE VI has accomplished as it brings disadvantaged families into more economically mixed communities. They also turn a critical eye on where the program falls short of its ideals. This important book continues the national conversation on poverty, race, and opportunity as the country moves ahead under a new president.

Understanding housing finance : meeting needs and making choices 2nd ed.

One of the biggest challenges for students of housing is understanding the financial principles which underpin the place of housing in the wider economy. By taking a political economy approach, Peter King’s Understanding Housing Finance makes the basic principles of the subject accessible, without requiring detailed prior knowledge of economics or financial systems.
The book explains housing finance by exploring the way in which markets and governments react together. It takes a conceptual approach to consider the advantages and limits of housing markets and why governments intervene. The consequences of intervention are explored in detail using examples of housing subsidy systems and policy mechanisms such as rent control, housing allowances and subsidies to owner occupation.

Housing policy in the United States

The most widely used and most widely referenced “basic book” on Housing Policy in the United States has now been substantially revised to examine the turmoil resulting from the collapse of the housing market in 2007 and the related financial crisis. The text covers the impact of the crisis in depth, including policy changes put in place and proposed by the Obama administration. This new edition also includes the latest data on housing trends and program budgets, and an expanded discussion of homelessnessof homelessness.

Good places to live : poverty and public housing in Canada

Public housing projects are stigmatized and stereotyped as bad places to live, as havens of poverty, illegal activity and violence. In many cities they are being bulldozed, ostensibly for these reasons but also because the land on which they are located has become so valuable. In Good Places to Live, Jim Silver argues that the problems with which it is so often associated are not inherent to public housing but are the result of structural inequalities and neoliberal government policies. This book urges readers to reconsider the fate of public housing, arguing that urban poverty — what Silver calls spatially concentrated racialized poverty — is not solved by razing public housing. On the contrary, public housing projects rebuilt from within, based on communities’ strengths and supported by meaningful public investment could create vibrant and healthy neighbourhoods while maintaining much-needed low-income housing. Considering four public housing projects, in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax and Winnipeg, Silver contends that public housing projects can be good places to live — if the political will exists.

Online resources

Heather Ann Kaldeway

Heather Ann Kaldeway

Heather Ann Kaldeway is the Project Manager and Communications Coordinator for the Centre for City Ecology and is a member of her local community association in downtown Toronto. She loves vibrant cities, terrible jokes, and challenging books.

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