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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Housing Idea 4-Be Careful of Academics

I have a personal tendency to like academics and their approach to the world. Still as a practitioner of housing, I have found them to be of little benefit.

It is difficult to think of any academic idea that has substantially furthered the cause of affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning is an example of a popular academic idea. It is the policy that every housing complex that is developed needs to set aside a certain percentage of units for affordable housing. After years of talk, very few communities have initiated such policies because there is not the political will to do so. (Academics usually do not pay attention to politics). Similarly, I hear talk from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University about “organic” urban development. What does that mean? We will all long be dead and gone before we see any organic growth on the north side of St. Louis.

Hopefully you get the picture. Pay attention to people who have actually built housing, not academics. Written by Paul Dribin

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