Land Matters Podcast

Episode 13: Housing at a Time of Crisis
By Anthony Flint, July 9, 2020


The coronavirus pandemic and growing outrage about racial injustice have underscored the centrality of healthy, well-located, and affordable housing in society. The economic and racial disparities so starkly revealed in recent weeks and months have prompted a re-assessment of the overall approach to housing, what’s working and what needs to be changed.

“I hope that we are going to see some willingness to radically rethink things,” says Kim Vermeer, founder of Urban Habitat Initiatives and coauthor of a new book, Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, speaking on the Land Matters podcast.

“The new awareness in the white world about structural racism and equity is going to mean that there will be a reframing of so many of the NIMBY (not in my backyard) issues that are keeping anything but single-family homes from being developed. For those who say don’t build here, this could become an opportunity.”

“Covid-19 has certainly put more wind in the sails of social housing policy, as well as more environmentally sustainable and livable design,” says Andre Leroux, executive director of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, who also joined the wide-ranging conversation about housing.

An added urgency is that some predict a wave of evictions when COVID-19 stimulus aid runs out and state and local governments potentially lift eviction moratoria.

The conversation highlights both near-term solutions and strategies to change the rules of the game so more housing can be built in the future—and how perceptions are evolving about cities, sustainability, and density.

You can listen to the show and subscribe to Land Matters on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Further reading

President’s Message: Think Land Policy Is Unrelated to Racial Injustice? Think Again. Land Lines
The Destiny of Density: Affordability, Equity, and the Impacts of an Insidious Virus Land Lines
Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, by Kim Vermeer and Walker Wells
How to Block Multifamily Housing Bloomberg CityLab

Anthony Flint is senior fellow in the Office of the President at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and a contributing editor of Land Lines.

Photograph: A boarded-up business in Seattle. Credit: 400tmax via Getty Images.