Spring 2020 - 58445 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
Practices and Policies in Latin America
This one semester course is part of a sequence of classes tied to the Latin American Housing network (www.lahn.utexas.org) and blends sociology, planning and public policy. Early twentieth century industrialization among the working classes was largely associated with rental housing markets, often in and around the inner city. Factories occasionally created their own neighborhood housing, but for the most part rental housing was developed by private landlords. From the second half of the century import substituting industrialization (ISI) prompted mass migration into the larger cities and quickly saturated the rental housing market, and without alternative rental or ownership options workers began to develop housing informally by squatting or purchasing un-serviced land at the periphery, engaging in self-help and mutual aid to build homes and communities. By the 1970s and 1980s anything from 30-60 per cent of the built-up area of many cities was informal and unplanned. As a result, research and policy making pivoted to develop policies of “regularization” of property titles and infrastructure that supported and integrated informality into the urbanization process. By the 1980s and 1990s these policies were often the general conventional wisdom for supporting housing ownership Latin America. However, it is increasingly understood that home ownership does not suit not all workers (formal or informal), and many individuals and households continued to rent either in the inner city, or more usually in newly created rooming houses (tenements), or by renting rooms in those same self-help neighborhoods, or by living long-term “close-up” with kin, sharing accommodation with kinsmen or by remaining to live as adults with their parents. Renting and sharing has become commonplace, but until recently there was little research let alone policy advocacy for the development of rental housing markets to attend to the demand of would-be renters or of sharers seeking to break out on their own.
This class will attempt to explore that research lacunae tracing the multiple formal and informal options for renting over time, and will seek to draw upon best practices about alternative housing tenure policies from within Latin America and elsewhere. Our analysis will examine the history of rental housing production traditions in Latin America, before drilling down into informal processes of new landlordism linked to, and embedded within, the expansion of informal settlement. We will also track the trajectories and rationale of those who share -- whether these are later migrant arrivals or are the adult children (and their own young households) for whom ongoing sharing with their parents is a (or the only) pragmatic option. In comparative perspective, and against the more recent neoliberal and post-neoliberal rise, we will also situate these trajectories against the twofold backdrop of: 1) the expansion of mass housing estates targeting lower income populations; and 2) urban redevelopment and displacement. The final class deliverables anticipated will be to propose sensitive housing policy alternatives and scenarios that will more effectively address supply and demand pressures, and equally important, will facilitate sharing, inheritance and title transfer, and new forms of house “holding” that is responsive to contemporary needs (including family titles, condominium arrangements, etc.)
Assessment will be based upon class participation and paper presentations. The final class product will be a student-authored monograph that will discuss inter alia: the nature of rental housing production and intensive sharing; the extent to which such processes are linked to ideas of housing deterioration and “slummification” (last Spring’s class); the adequacy of recent housing policies that seek to promote renting; policy needs to “flip” sharing (or renting) into ownership and how such policies might improve the overall conditions of the housing stock, etc.
All students will need to log onto CANVAS since this will be the principal mechanism for information dissemination, and group liaison.