The pieces below engage with a range of timely topics. Several articles and a special series deal with contemporary housing issues, from the rise of tax-credit investment at the expense of affordable housing to the struggle to preserve public housing. A special series on financialization highlights the growing involvement of financial actors and instruments in the production of urban space and the consequences for cities, while another piece on the topic discusses how activists can respond to the global problem. They raise important questions about land, urban revitalization, and post-Covid urban policy.
If you are crafting syllabi for the upcoming academic year, we encourage you to consider these articles and explore our archives, which are full of accessible scholarly research perfect for both undergraduate and graduate courses. If you are a researcher, we hope you will submit a manuscript for review. A short-form piece in Metropolitics can help you to develop an embryonic idea, draw attention to a book or longer academic article that you have already published, and engage with a broad public audience. You can find Metropolitics’ style guide and word limits here.
Starting in September, board member James DeFilippis will be taking over from me as the journal’s editorial director. It has been a privilege to serve as Metropolitics’ editorial director, and I look forward to continuing on the editorial board under James’ leadership.
Have a wonderful summer!
Hilary Botein (Baruch College, City University of New York)
Editorial Director, academic years 2018/2019, 2019/2020, and 2020/2021
Series | Contemporary Housing Struggles: Crises, Activism, and Critical Research
In this series, Metropolitics focuses on the intersection of organizing, technology, politics, and policy in urban rental housing struggles. It seeks to place the increasing salience of contemporary housing struggles in the context of the transformation of urban housing markets following the financial crisis and the additional precarity induced by Covid‑19.
Essays | Shelters for Profit, Not People: The Rise of Tax-Credit Investment in US Cities
Tax-credit investment in US cities provides tax havens for investors, and squanders taxpayer resources on market-rate housing at the expense of affordable housing. Tax credits deplete public coffers, leading to cuts in social spending and concentrating power and profit at the top.
Essays | The House is Ours: How Moms 4 Housing Challenged the Private-Property Paradigm
In the midst of a global housing affordability crisis that has been heightened by the Covid‑19 pandemic, it is time to reconsider how the right to profit from property ownership is privileged in policy, funding, and ideology in the United States. Oakland-based Moms 4 Housing’s bold direct action presented a concrete challenge to the status quo.
From the Field | The Contestations and Contradictions of the New York City Housing Authority’s Plan for Mixed-Income Redevelopment
Valerie E. Stahl
The New York City Housing Authority, faced with a capital shortfall of nearly $40 billion, is pursuing a series of privatization plans. Its residents are resisting. As Valerie Stahl asks, when public housing is seen as an avenue for profit, is it actually being preserved?
Essays | What is Land?
Sai Balakrishnan and Mattijs van Maasakkers
Market-oriented land-use instruments presume that is possible to delink development or pollution rights from a particular plot of land, transfer these rights across space, and assemble them at some other location. When the social, ecological, and economic value of land is separated from its location, these processes can produce idiosyncratic planning outcomes, and a priori narrow understandings of land, which run counter to the planning ethic of getting to know a site’s identity and of keeping the meanings of land contestable, and can reorder the meaning of “land” in land-use planning.
From the Field | Manifested Stories: An Alternative Narrative to the Urban-Frontier Myth
Rebecca Blythe Pryor
Rebecca Pryor traces the history of the revitalization of the Bronx River, illustrating an alternative narrative to the urban-frontier myth—one that centers Black and Brown communities and is community-generated.
Essays | We Have Been Here Before: Crisis, Response, and the Stasis of Urban Policy
Robert W. Lake
The disruptions produced by the global pandemic have spawned predictions of sweeping change that are unlikely to materialize. An example from a century ago explains why, and what we can do about it.
Series | Cities in the Age of Financialization
Martine Drozdz, Antoine Guironnet and Ludovic Halbert, translated by James Christopher Mizes and Oliver Waine
Over the past four decades, the financialization of capitalism has transformed economies, societies, and urban space. This series of articles examines the growing involvement of financial actors, instruments, and rationales in the production of the urban built environment; the role of public authorities in this process; and their social, political, and spatial consequences.
Essays | A Global Right-to-Housing Movement Versus Financialization
Financialization enables a wealthy transnational class to accumulate capital through land, enhances inequalities through housing, and denies and deprives human rights. Housing activists must articulate an internationalist response to this global conflict, setting aside political and cultural differences and looking beyond the local scale of every housing conflict.
Bonne lecture et bon été !