In this vivid portrait of life in Chicago in the fifty years after the Civil War, Margaret Garb traces the history of the American celebration of home ownership. As the nation moved from an agrarian to an industrialized urban society, the competing visions of capitalists, reformers, and immigrants turned the urban landscape into a testing ground for American values. Neither a natural progression nor an inevitable outcome, the ideal of home ownership emerged from the struggles of industrializing cities. Garb skillfully narrates these struggles, showing how the American infatuation with home ownership left the nation's cities sharply divided along class and racial lines.
Based on research of real estate markets, housing and health reform, and ordinary homeowners—African American and white, affluent and working class—City of American Dreams provides a richly detailed picture of life in one of America's great urban centers. Garb shows that the pursuit of a single-family house set on a tidy yard, commonly seen as the very essence of the American dream, resulted from clashes of interests and decades of struggle.
This book investigates the efforts of homeowners to maintain and improve their dwellings. Their behavior, it has found, depends on economic variables as well as the sociological structure of their neighborhoods. Residential satisfaction, expectations of the neighborhood, and mobility plans were taken into account.
Multivariate statistical analyses of models were conducted using household data from Minneapolis and Wooster, Ohio. Three important findings emerged. First, homeowners' sense of solidarity with their neighbors is as significant in determining their efforts at home upkeep as are their income or age. Second, the optimism of homeowners toward increases in property values results in behavior opposite to that produced by optimism about neighborhood quality of life. This implies that different kinds of predictable gaming behavior occur among homeowners, depending on the neighborhoods in which they live. Third, both short-term and extremely long-term plans to move prove damaging to home upkeep.
The results of this study form the basis for a better understanding of such residential phenomena as class succession, racial transition, and gentrification. Galster's findings will also be valuable for analyzing policies that attempt to encourage neighborhood reinvestment.
Based on three extensive surveys carried out by research teams from Caracas, Mexico City, and Santiago, In Search of a Home investigates the nature of owners, tenants, sharers, and landlords and exploring the relationships between them.
With America on the brink of the largest number of older adults and persons with disabilities in the country’s history, the deceleration in housing production during the first decade of the twenty-first century, and a continued reliance on conventional housing policies and practices, a perfect storm has emerged in the housing industry. The lack of fit between the existing housing stock and the needs of the U.S. population is growing pronounced. Just as housing needed to be retooled at the end of WWII, the American housing industry is in dire need of change today. The South—with its high rates of poverty, older residents, residents with disabilities, extensive rural areas, and out-of-date housing policies and practices—serves as a “canary in the coal mine” for the impending, nationwide housing crisis. Just Below the Line discusses how reworking the policies and practices of the housing industry in the South can serve as a model for the rest of the nation in meeting the physical and social needs of persons with disabilities and aging boomers. Policy makers, designers, builders, realtors, advocates, and housing consumers will be able to use this book to promote the production of equitable housing nationwide.
Published in collaboration with the Fay Jones School of Architecture.
Though New York’s Lower East Side today is home to high-end condos and hip restaurants, it was for decades an infamous site of blight, open-air drug dealing, and class conflict—an emblematic example of the tattered state of 1970s and ’80s Manhattan.
Those decades of strife, however, also gave the Lower East Side something unusual: a radical movement that blended urban homesteading and European-style squatting in a way never before seen in the United States. Ours to Lose tells the oral history of that movement through a close look at a diverse group of Lower East Side squatters who occupied abandoned city-owned buildings in the 1980s, fought to keep them for decades, and eventually began a long, complicated process to turn their illegal occupancy into legal cooperative ownership. Amy Starecheski here not only tells a little-known New York story, she also shows how property shapes our sense of ourselves as social beings and explores the ethics of homeownership and debt in post-recession America.
The urgent demand for housing after World War I fueled a boom in residential construction that led to historic peaks in home ownership. Foreclosures at the time were rare, and when they did happen, lenders could quickly recoup their losses by selling into a strong market. But no mortgage system is equipped to deal with credit problems on the scale of the Great Depression. As foreclosures quintupled, it became clear that the mortgage system of the 1920s was not up to the task, and borrowers, lenders, and real estate professionals sought action at the federal level.
Well Worth Saving tells the story of the disastrous housing market during the Great Depression and the extent to which an immensely popular New Deal relief program, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), was able to stem foreclosures by buying distressed mortgages from lenders and refinancing them. Drawing on historical records and modern statistical tools, Price Fishback, Jonathan Rose, and Kenneth Snowden investigate important unanswered questions to provide an unparalleled view of the mortgage loan industry throughout the 1920s and early ’30s. Combining this with the stories of those involved, the book offers a clear understanding of the HOLC within the context of the housing market in which it operated, including an examination of how the incentives and behaviors at play throughout the crisis influenced the effectiveness of policy.
More than eighty years after the start of the Great Depression, when politicians have called for similar programs to quell the current mortgage crisis, this accessible account of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation holds invaluable lessons for our own time.
Is there anything more American than the ideal of homeownership? In this groundbreaking work of transnational history, Nancy H. Kwak reveals how the concept of homeownership became one of America’s major exports and defining characteristics around the world. In the aftermath of World War II, American advisers urged countries to pursue greater access to homeownership, arguing it would give families a literal stake in their nations, jumpstart a productive home-building industry, fuel economic growth, and raise the standard of living in their countries, helping to ward off the specter of communism.
A World of Homeowners charts the emergence of democratic homeownership in the postwar landscape and booming economy; its evolution as a tool of foreign policy and a vehicle for international investment in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s; and the growth of lower-income homeownership programs in the United States from the 1960s to today. Kwak unravels all these threads, detailing the complex stories and policy struggles that emerged from a particularly American vision for global democracy and capitalism. Ultimately, she argues, the question of who should own homes where—and how—is intertwined with the most difficult questions about economy, government, and society.