An Op-Ed Piece in the “New York Times” by Sociology Alumni Gianpaolo Baiocchi (Ph.D. 2001) and H. Jacob Carlson (Ph.D. 2020)

In an op-ed article titled “A Fix for More Affordable Housing” in the March 4 edition of the “New York Times” Baiocchi and Carlson propose a plan to promote affordable housing during the difficult economic period in the United States caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  After a review of what happened to housing after the 2018 financial crisis they write, “We propose the creation of the Social Housing Development Authority, a federal agency that would purchase distressed real estate, ensure it is livable and environmentally sound, and finance its transfer to the so-called social housing sector, including tenant cooperatives, community land trusts, nonprofits or public housing.”

The article describes their plan for obtaining property, refurbishing housing, community engagement, and policy change.  Baiocchi and Carlson argue “Crises are moments of upheaval, but they are also opportunities to look at the ways we’ve done things and ask whether we could do them differently in the future. It is time to make transformative change in a housing system that even before the pandemic was failing too many. Congress and the White House have a chance to create policies that not only help us bounce back from this crisis, but also help prevent the next one.”

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is a professor and director of the Urban Democracy Lab at New York University and H. Jacob Carlson is a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University’s Population Studies and Training Center, and Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4).