Monday, March 21, 2016

Bootleggers and Baptists in housing regulation

Alan During describes the Bootlegger and Baptist phenomenon which drove some historic housing regulation:
The rules were not accidents. Real-estate owners eager to minimize risk and maximize property values worked to keep housing for poor people away from their investments. Sometimes they worked hand-in-glove with well-meaning reformers who were intent on ensuring decent housing for all. Decent housing, in practice, meant housing that not only provided physical safety and hygiene but also approximated what middle-class families expected. 
This coalition of the self-interested and the well-meaning effectively boxed in and shut down rooming houses, and it erected barriers to in-home boarding, too. Over more than a century, it acted through federal, state, and local rules in ways that sounded reasonable at the time: occupancy limits and requirements for private bathrooms, kitchens, and parking spaces. The net effect, however, was to essentially ban affordable private-sector urban housing for those at the bottom of the pay scale.
Read the whole piece here. He goes on to catalogue many interesting specific rules.

A short video on Bootleggers and Baptists

Emily Washington comments on the need for more low-quality housing.

No comments :

Post a Comment