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Just Below the Line

Disability, Housing, and Equity in the South

Korydon H. Smith, Jennifer Webb, and Brent T. Williams

Publication Year: 2010

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 The South—with its high rates of poverty, older residents, residents with disabilities, extensive rural areas, and out-of-date housing policies and practices—serves as a “canary in the coal mine” for the impending, nationwide housing crisis.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 by: University of Arkansas Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iv-v


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pp. vi-vii

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pp. viii-xi

We tend to look at issues of design of housing from the perspective of our own disciplines and professions, but barriers between these social worlds obscure our understanding of reality. By breaking down the “silo effect” and using a regional perspective as a lens, the authors of this book present a cogent and powerful...

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p. xii

The authors want to acknowledge several supporters of this work. First, thanks go to Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, and the UAMS Partners for Inclusive Communities for their sponsorship of the Arkansas Universal Design Project, which assisted in the research and publication of this book. Likewise, our gratitude goes to Jeff...

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Introduction. Just Below the Line: Housing and Marginalization in the South

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pp. xiv-xxviii

With the first wave of baby-boomers entering retirement in 2008, significant media focus has been placed on healthcare, retirement financing, and creating leisure activities for retirees. Simultaneously, an equal amount of press has been given to the economic slump and deceleration in housing production over the first decade of the twenty-first century. Relatively little...

Toeing the Line

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1. Defining Disability

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pp. 3-19

Johnny Cash described Pete paradoxically as “crippled” and “gifted.” The nature of Pete’s disability, “infantile paralysis,” is the predominant characteristic through which Johnny initially understands and relates to Pete. However, as John came to know Pete better, he ceased to regard Pete as disabled, but as talented,...

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2. Defining Home

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pp. 21-48

In the first chapter of Jimmy Carter’s book, An Hour before Daylight, the former president describes memories of his home in Plains, Georgia. From the physical environment, “flat and rich,” to the cultural environment, “separate but equal,” Carter learned that the land provided daily sustenance and that hard work garnered respect and financial success. For Carter, home...

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3. Defining Equality

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pp. 49-76

Ensuring equality, presumably, is among the highest missions of democracy in the United States. As the disability scholar Douglas Baynton states, “Since the social and political revolutions of the eighteenth century, the trend in western political thought has been to refuse to take for granted inequalities between persons or groups.”1 Nevertheless, as the population of America has grown...

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4. Defining Policy and Practice

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pp. 77-109

The housing industry is the largest economic force in the United States, and with it, for good or ill, goes the U.S. economy. The American housing machine is fueled by the collective value in homeownership, substantiated both by federal housing policy and by the behaviors of the American public. Homeownership...

Redrawing the Line

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5. Redefining Disability

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pp. 113-131

In 1962, Ed Roberts entered the University of California, Berkley against the protests of university and state officials who claimed he could not be successful either in school or, later, in the workplace. Living on the third floor of the university hospital, Roberts and eleven other classmates with severe disabilities, self-named...

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6. Redefining Home

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pp. 133-161

Eleanor Smith, founder of the Atlanta-based Concrete Change, knows firsthand the importance of housing design. As a leading advocate of the “visit-ability” movement, Smith has seen the negative impacts that traditional housing design has on persons with disabilities: “I have known people who had to crawl on the floor in their own house to get to the bathroom.”1 What makes...

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7. Redefining Equality

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pp. 163-206

Dunbar goes on to describe and compare the industrial and social shifts that have resulted in widespread poverty in these areas, but does so with a sensitivity that these are “real places . . . the home of real people.” As Robert Coles states, in the introduction to Dunbar’s book:...

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8. Redefining Policy and Practice

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pp. 207-230

The interrelationships between health and housing are not tacitly obvious, yet their reciprocity is substantial. As previously stated, one of the primary purposes of this book is to illustrate the synergistic relationship between these fields, that housing design affects physical and psychosocial well-being, while personal...

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pp. 231-246

Looking closely, one can see that housing, like country music, is a clear marker of the subcultures and values that make up American society. In Cash’s rendition of “Southern Accents,” the paradoxical relationship between Southern pride and anxious self-consciousness is clearly evident. Cash is singing about...

Appendix A, B, C, and D

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pp. 247-256


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pp. 257-274


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pp. 275-278


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pp. 279-280


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pp. 281-289

E-ISBN-13: 9781610752213
E-ISBN-10: 161075221X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557289230
Print-ISBN-10: 1557289239

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 102 color images
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 794700455
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Just Below the Line

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Housing policy -- United States.
  • People with disabilities -- Housing -- United States.
  • People with disabilities -- Dwellings -- United States.
  • Home ownership -- United States.
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