Housing: Room for Improvement

April 21, 2020 | 9am PDT | 12pm EDT

In collaboration with

Global orders to “shelter in place” implies housing is indeed a fundamental human right, but even a cursory reading of housing policies suggests this is an aspirational goal, at best. The economic fallout of COVID-19 has pushed two unspoken truths about housing into the spotlight — a majority of individuals are living on a knife-edge, and this is not the result of some personal failing. Since the economic crisis in 2008, speculation on property has proliferated and rent has consistently exceeded inflation and real wage growth. Is housing as a human right and housing as an asset class mutually exclusive? Or might we yet manage to build our way out?

On this episode of The Big Rethink, in collaboration with McKinsey Global Institute, we explore whether COVID-19 reveals a world of housing regimes in need of minor repairs, gut renovations, or a complete teardown. We’ll discuss the crisis of homelessness during a period of stay-at-home orders, how planning systems in different places approach the relationship between market and state, and the changes which could be made to housing regimes moving forward.

Angela Hurlock
Chair, Chicago Housing Authority

Eugene Jones
CEO and President, Atlanta Housing Authority

Dr. Jonathan Woetzel
Director, McKinsey Global Institute

Diana Lind
Housing Fellow & Host, NewCities