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Invisible City

Poverty, Housing, and New Urbanism

By John Ingram Gilderbloom

Publication Year: 2007

A provocative look at the true forces that shape housing markets, challenging mainstream theories of supply and demand and calling for a new way to provide shelter to our cities’ most overlooked inhabitants—the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

It’s possible to be deeply caring, as John Gilderbloom is in this book, about the poor, the distressed, the homeless of his “Invisible City.” But can one also be pragmatic, rigorous in analysis, and focused unflinchingly on demonstrated results?...


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pp. xiii-xvi

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Chapter 1: Introduction and Overview

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pp. 1-12

In The Sociological Imagination, C. W. Mills (1959) asserts that social scientists should document the problems of society, find the causes of these problems, and advocate for policy changes. Invisible City refers to the people in our society whom we walk past every day and never truly see: the poor...

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Chapter 2: Economic, Social, and Political Dimensions of the Rental Housing Crisis (with Richard P. Appelbaum and Michael Anthony Campbell)

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pp. 13-46

Housing is one of the most important problems facing the United States. Affordable, attractive, and accessible housing remains a major concern for millions of citizens in the United States and elsewhere. This chapter documents the dimensions of the housing crisis from an economic, social, and political...

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Chapter 3: Why Rents Rise (with Zhenfeng Pan, Tom Lehman, Stephen A. Roosa, and Richard P. Appelbaum)

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pp. 47-66

In this chapter we will explore the factors that help to determine rents across U.S. cities, an issue that has long been a topic of controversy. A comprehensive theory of urban rent that integrates the insights of sociology with economics has not been developed. In a previous study, my colleague...

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Chapter 4: Pros and Cons of Rent Control (with Lin Ye)

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pp. 67-101

This chapter presents an overview of the impacts of modern rent control laws in the United States on landlords and tenants and on the supply, condition, and value of rental units. We will make clear that passage of a rent control law is not enough to ensure success. Renters need to have a strong...

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Chapter 5: Invisible Jail: Providing Housing and Transportation for the Elderly and Disabled (with Mark S. Rosentraub)

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pp. 102-114

In this chapter we look at how barrier-free and affordable housing and transportation services for elderly and disabled persons have generally not been developed.1 As we show later, very few books on housing address the considerable and important housing and transportation needs of the disabled...

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Chapter 6: Hope VI: A Dream or Nightmare? (with Michael Brazley and Michael Anthony Campbell)

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pp. 115-143

In this chapter we address the dramatic change in direction that housing policy has undergone since 1989, when the U.S. Congress enacted the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act. The act entailed establishing the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public...

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Chapter 7: Renewing and Remaking New Orleans (with Richard Layman)

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pp. 144-158

In this chapter we explore how historic preservation can be a tool for creating affordable housing. Oddly, there has been a disconnect between historic preservation and housing affordability, but as we showed in Chapter 3, older housing stock provides a large array of affordable housing. In this chapter...

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Chapter 8: University Partnerships to Reclaim and Rebuild Communities

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pp. 159-174

In this chapter we show how universities can play a vital role in helping to address the housing crisis. This crisis impacts seniors, the disabled, and the working poor. Yet only a handful of the 3,650 higher education institutions are allocating resources of faculty, staff, and students to meet this urgent...

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Chapter 9: Housing Opportunities for Everyone

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pp. 175-202

In the previous chapters we have investigated the limits of the supply-and demand housing policy promoted mostly by conservatives and the “regulation” approach advocated by liberals. I argue that the best kind of affordable housing is homeownership—especially as a long-term strategy—as Steven...

Appendix: Why Cities Need Affordable Housing: A Case Study of Houston (with Roger K. Lewis and Stephen Hornburg, Housing Strategies for Houson Task Force)

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pp. 203-213


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pp. 215-217


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pp. 219-242

About the Authors

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pp. 243-245


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pp. 247-263

E-ISBN-13: 9780292794580
E-ISBN-10: 0292794584
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292717091
Print-ISBN-10: 0292717091

Page Count: 281
Illustrations: 30 b&w illus., 4 figures, 19 tables
Publication Year: 2007