Workers from the Sustainable Economies Law Center share some memorable moments with clients that have transformed how they approach radical real estate law.
Hyper-commodified property – imbued with value by public infrastructure, developed at its “highest and best use” from an income generation perspective, and then taxed – is in theory a boon for municipal governments. In reality, urban fiscal and land use policies become caught up in cycles of price appreciation and rent-seeking. To reverse this spiral, municipal leaders must both reform currently regressive property taxation regimes and implement tax policies that expressly curb rent-seeking and speculation.
Under financialized capitalism, corporate investors value homes not solely or primarily for rental income, or even as assets that can be bought and sold—but rather because they serve as collateral. Three episodes of institutional change in housing markets underscore the importance of not only decommodifying land and housing, but decollateralizing it.
In the housing context, a law to facilitate countervailing power must be geared toward encouraging tenant participation at the grassroots, building-by-building level, and it must be sufficiently robust so as to check the enormous power of corporate, financialized real estate.
we argue that to decommodify urban property, we need to fight not only for policy and funding which transfers land and housing to social ownership, but also for policies that make extractive and predatory housing models less viable and organizing more feasible. We need a strategy that incorporates both social housing and housing justice.
When vacant land and structures fall into the hands of the state, new possibilities emerge. How can local governments transform these assets into co-governed spaces?
Introducing a symposium on non-market approaches to governance over land and housing.