Housing Brass Tacks

Understanding housing policy, finance, and regulation is daunting. One must wade through a sea of acronyms, untangle public and private interests, trace knotty financial flows, and decrypt complex bureaucracies. Making heads or tails of all this can take a lifetime, but the need to understand is urgent. We all feel New York City’s housing squeeze; increased affordable housing is a centerpiece of our mayor’s agenda; and sweeping changes in housing and community development policy may soon come at the federal level. The Architectural League is here to introduce (or refresh) our housing proficiency. Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development. We’re getting down to brass tacks: the fundamentals that structure this unwieldy topic.

Housing Brass Tacks discussions are held bi-weekly on Monday evenings at The League’s office.


Documenting the Last Projects

May 15, 2017
In our eighth Brass Tacks event, we’re examining the social experiment of replacing high-rise public housing with mixed-income communities in Chicago through a screening of Ronit Bezalel’s 70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green followed by a discussion with anthropologist Catherine Fennell.

Free for members. $5 for non-members. Reserve tickets here.

Public Housing’s Future

May 8, 2017
In our seventh Brass Tacks discussion, Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, the President of the Fund for Public Housing, will detail public housing’s unique role in the city and how the New York City Housing Authority is addressing the continuing public disinvestment in public housing.

Free for members. $5 for non-members. Reserve tickets here.


April 10, 2017
Representatives of the advocacy organizations Coalition for the Homeless and Picture the Homeless discussed homelessness as a symptom of our housing crisis and efforts to create permanent housing solutions.

Read Beyond Shelter,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.

What’s “Fair” In Housing?

March 27, 2017 
Fair housing expert Fred Freiberg explained the efforts of housing advocates to eliminate housing discrimination, promote policies that foster inclusive communities, and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws.

Read Fair Housing for All?,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.

Documenting Discrimination

March 13, 2017
For our first Brass Tacks film night (more will follow!), we screened three documentary films that explicitly address the ways in which inequality is inscribed in the housing landscape.

Read Discrimination, Documented,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.

The Money

February 27, 2017
A look at where the money to build and maintain affordable housing comes from and who are the main players in housing finance.

Read The Money,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.


Affordability Toolbox

February 13, 2017
An overview of the past century of housing regulation and subsidy in New York City, detailing the tools used to create and maintain affordable housing: codes, regulations, non-profit ownership, and subsidies.

Read Brass Tacks: Affordability,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.

Hud, Hud, HUD!

January 30, 2017
A look at what the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $49 billion budget supports, who HUD serves, and how housing policy born at the federal level is implemented at the local level.

Read What HUD Does,” a digest of the event published on Urban Omnibus.


More topics and discussion dates to be announced soon.