Research Questions | Economics of Housing

Home as a Human Right 

Where does one find reference to the “human right to home”?

What are the origins of this right, it’s first articulation?

In general, what are human rights founded upon?

Is a right that’s not enacted real?

Why should we care about human rights?

Are human rights about individual rights or about community and social rights?

Why should the call for the enactment of a human right to housing be increased?

Speculation and the Selling of Land

What are the historical origins of the selling (speculation) of land?

What traditions abstain from such practice?

Is speculation upon land a foundation of modern capitalist economics?

Economics: Home as a Costly Commodity 

How much do New York City residents pay for their housing?

What is the average monthly rent?

How much can the average NYC renter afford?

What is “low-income” housing?

What is the percentage of income that city residents devote to their housing?

What are the circumstances under which residents are “priced out”?

Why are so many people these days facing residents foreclosure and eviction from homes they “own”?

How have rent levels shifted over the last few decades in NYC?

What is the share of public rental housing (and waiting list), private rental housing, rent controlled and rent stabilized housing in the city? how these numbers are distributed?

What was the context of the urban homesteading program regarding housing policy? and what is it today? e.i. Edward Koch Ten-Year Housing Program (1986)/Bloomberg- The New Housing Marketplace Plan “affordable housing initiative” (2002)

NYC Land Ownership: Class Structure: Income Distribution

Who owns the land and real estate in NYC?

Who decides how land is used in NYC?

Is NYC typified by small and medium owners; public ownership or increasingly private ownership?

Is there a benefit to public/social ownership of housing?

What is the percentage of renters to homeowners in NYC?

As a whole, what are the class characteristics of NYC residents?

What does the economic pyramid of NYC look like?

Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer in NYC?

Why is this happening?

What are the occupational characteristics of NYC and how have they changed over the last three of four decades?

What is the most prominent sector of employment?

How many unemployed in NYC and in what areas?

What is the size and characteristics of the NYC budget?

How much is designated for low-income housing and what is the nature of this designation?

How is the budget decided and what is the role of the citizenry?

What does one’s class say about ones attitudes, politics and views regarding the issue of housing for the poor?

Neighborhood and Housing Destruction, Counterinsurgency

What are the origins of homelessness and its emergence as a social phenomenon in he early 80s?

How do we account for the proliferation of abandoned, “burned out” urban areas occurring throughout the decade of the 70s?

What are the standard explanations for this massive, national “epidemic” of abandonment and housing destruction?

Was the neighborhood housing destruction and “shrinkage” the result of “blind” economic factors and “hard” choices, or were other racial and social control motives at work?

Can homelessness, housing insecurity and instability be seen as a form of counterinsurgency; an attempt to prevent the rise and empowerment of popular community based organization by way of destabilization and disenfranchisement?

What are the implications of this type of analysis?

Beyond economic factors, is gentrification a means of pacification and consolidation of land in the interest of social control?

How does the notion of displacement as a means of social control (rather than derived from purely economic motives and processes) effect anti-displacement strategies?


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