The Housing Question

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The Housing Question: Tensions, Continuities, and Contingencies in the Modern City
Edited by Edward Murphy, History and Global Urban Studies and Najib Hourani, Anthropology and Global Urban Studies, Michigan State University
Published: November 2013, Ashgate Publishing

Examining high modernist and neoliberal forms of urbanism, this volume explores how housing raises a series of vexing issues surrounding rights, identity, governance, and justice in the modern city.  The volume analyzes the ways in which homeownership and other types of housing tenure embody suppositions about the proper nature of the urban order, such as the rights of citizenship, ideologies of the nation, and forms of spatial development.  Through finely detailed studies that illuminate national and regional particularities— including analyses of urbanism in the Soviet Union, the post-Katrina reconstruction of New Orleans, and squatting in contemporary Lima— the volume underscores how housing questions matter in a wide range of contexts.  Drawing on approaches from architecture, sociology, anthropology, history, and geography, the book develops an interdisciplinary, integrated perspective.  This approach illuminates ruptures and continuities between high modernist and neoliberal forms of urbanism, ultimately demonstrating how housing and the dilemmas surrounding it are central to modern governance.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Edward Murphy

I. Modernist Planning Reconsidered

    1.    The transnationalization of the ‘housing problem’: social sciences and
           developmentalism in postwar Argentina, Leandro Benmergui
    2.    Modernity unbound: Tol'iatti as the new Soviet city par excellence,
           Lewis H. Siegelbaum
    3.    Infrastructural thinking: urban housing in former Czechoslovakia from
           the Stalin era to EU accession, Kimberly Elman Zarecor
    4.    The politics of housing in a divided city: examples from Berlin, Carolyn Loeb

II. The State of Uneven Geographic Developments

    5.   The housing question of disaster reconstruction: rebuilding New Orleans
          on the tenants of an ownership society, Christopher Herring
    6.   Public transit planning and austerity in neoliberal Chicago, Stephanie
          Farmer and Sean Noonan
    7.   Privatization, marketization, and deprivation: interpreting the
          homeownership paradox in post-reform urban China, Guo Chen
    8.   Reinventing favela aesthetics: from shacks to public housing buildings, Gustavo Rivera

III. The Place of Home in the City of Rights

    9.   Between housing and home: a dilemma for citizenship, a challenge for
          analysis (notes from Chile), Edward Murphy
    10. Citizenship and the city: creating a new infrastructure of belonging, Tony Samara
    11. Recognizing (dis)order: topographies of power and property in Lima’s Periphery,
          Kristin Skrabut

Conclusion, Najib Hourani