Affordability Toolbox

Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development.

February 13, 2017
7:00 p.m.

It may sound like a given, but the private market won’t create below market-rate housing on its own. So in our increasingly unaffordable city, how do we create housing for low- and middle-income New Yorkers?

In our second Housing Brass Tacks discussion, Matthew Lasner will give an overview of the past century of housing regulation and subsidy in New York City. He will address the toolbox of interventions to create and maintain affordable housing: building codes, rent regulations, non-profit and non-speculative housing, and government subsidies. Matt will explain how these tools have been deployed and suggest a more robust commitment to affordable housing in New York.

Ample time for conversation will follow Lasner’s presentation. You bring the questions, we’ll supply the experts and the wine.

Matthew Gordon Lasner is associate professor of urban studies and planning at Hunter College/CUNY where he teaches courses on U.S. and global urbanism, housing, and the built environment. His research explores the production of metropolitan space with focus on the relationship between the design professions, social change, the market, and the state, particularly in the arena of housing. He is author of the award-winning High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century (Yale, 2012), which explores the rise of co-owned multifamily housing in the U.S. (co-ops and condos, market-rate and affordable), and is co-editor of Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City (Princeton UP, 2016). He is currently working a book entitled Community Urbanism: Bay Area Architects, the Counterculture, and the Reimagining of U.S. Housing and Neighborhoods 1940-2000. He earned his PhD in history and theory of architecture and urban planning at Harvard and holds an MS in urban and regional planning from the London School of Economics.

About 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.