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The Affordable City : Strategies for Putting Housing Within Reach (and Keeping it There) - Shane Phillips

The Affordable City

Strategies for Putting Housing Within Reach (and Keeping it There)

By: Shane Phillips

Paperback | 12 January 2021

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From Los Angeles to Boston and Chicago to Miami, US cities are struggling to address the twin crises of high housing costs and household instability. In most cities, debates over the appropriate course of action have been defined by two poles: building more housing or enacting stronger tenant protections. These options are often treated as mutually exclusive, with support for one implying opposition to the other.

Shane Phillips takes on this tension in The Affordable City, arguing that effectively addressing the housing crisis requires that cities support both tenant protections and housing abundance. To improve affordability, cities must build new homes that serve all people and accommodate the needs of a growing population and changing demographics. At the same time, they must also protect existing residents from harm and help them share in the benefits of investment in their communities.

Phillips explains that the solution to America's housing crisis comes down to three priorities that he calls the Three S's: Supply, Stability, and Subsidy. Supply is about having enough homes for everyone. Stability is about recognizing and upholding the dignity of housing, especially related to tenant protections and rental housing preservation. Subsidy is about ensuring that everyone enjoys the benefits of abundant housing and stable, accessible communities. Far from being in conflict, these three goals can and should be mutually reinforcing, both technically and politically.

In The Affordable City, Phillips offers 55 policy recommendations, beginning with a set of principles and general recommendations that should apply to all housing policy. These are followed by sections covering the Three S's of Supply, Stability, and Subsidy, with a moral and economic case for why each is essential and recommendations for making them work together. Phillips ends with a policy blueprint and implementation plan for each policy, including whether it should be pursued as an immediate, medium-term, or long-term priority.

To address the housing crisis, we need everyone in the fight. The Affordable City is an essential tool for professional city planners, policymakers, public officials, and advocates working to improve affordability and increase community resilience through local action.

About the Author

Shane Phillips is an urban planner and policy expert based in Los Angeles. He is currently managing the UCLA Lewis Center Housing Initiative and teaching public policy as an adjunct instructor at the University of Southern California. Phillips previously worked as the Director of Public Policy for Central City Association, a Downtown LA business advocacy organization, and has held roles with the Los Angeles Streetcar project and in City Hall. He has kept a blog on housing and transportation issues, Better Institutions, for many years.
Industry Reviews
"The Affordable City is an incredibly thorough review of modern affordable housing initiatives written in a way that can be understood by many. Phillips writes effectively, cohesively, and offers an insightful curation of policies and guidelines.... Housing is a robust and complex topic that must be discussed with curiosity, compassion, and cohesion--Phillips offers all this and more in this book."-- "Carolina Planning Journal"
"The Affordable City as an excellent jumping-off point for nuanced, difficult, and hopefully, constructive conversations about how we can use policy to create a housing system that meets everyone's need for a safe, clean and stable home."-- "Spacing"
"Exceptionally and effectively well written, organized and presented, The Affordable City: Strategies for Putting Housing Within Reach (and Keeping it There) is an extraordinary instructional guide and reference that is especially and unreservedly recommended for community, college, and university library Urban and City Planning/Development collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists."-- "Midwest Book Review"
"[The Affordable City] provides pragmatic solutions to the housing affordability crisis facing many cities before the pandemic, which is all but a certainty to last well beyond the final infections."-- "Planetizen: Top Urban Planning Books of 2020"

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