[URBANTH-L] NEW BOOK on housing policy and practice

Patricia Taber ptaber at anth.ucsb.edu
Thu Dec 14 10:10:50 EST 2006

HOMING DEVICES: The Poor as Targets of Public Housing Policy and Practice

Edited and Introduced by marilyn m. thomas-houston and Mark Schuller

2006, Lexington Books

Homing Devices is a collection of nine humanistic, policy-oriented,
on-the-ground ethnographies addressing housing policy and practice in
what we call "First-World peripheral" settings: peoples and
communities that are, in the words of a Black activist whose story is
told in this book, "held poor" in so-called developed countries.

 From homeless youth in Toronto, to squatters in Hong Kong, to Black
long-term public housing residents in the United States, Homing
Devices gives voice to the people most directly concerned with public
housing policy: those in whose name it is created and implemented. We
take a critical look at environmental risk remediation, forced
eviction through a landmark court case as well as U.S. initiatives
such as HOPE-VI and the One Strike Rule, squatter clearance and
rehousing, as well as more subtle forms of racism encouraged by
program design and implementation. We also discuss theories and
strategies of organizing, how tenants, squatters, homeless youth, and
low-income homeowners actively take their community's future in their
hands. In addition to a critical look at housing, Homing Devices
describes and analyzes changes in governance in so-called First-World
societies, and what these changes mean for people and communities that
are marginalized - and for the strategies of people engaged in

Homing Devices documents and analyzes how public housing policy and
practice affects people and communities marginalized by poverty,
racism, environmental racism, and immigration status. Through nine
original essays addressing eight local urban contexts in the United
States, Canada, and Hong Kong, Homing Devices addresses four major
themes: human rights aspects of housing, how housing is used in
governance, how governments define social reality, and how
marginalized people themselves have an impact on shaping housing
policy and practice.

"An excellent synthesis of detailed ethnographic research and social
critique of current housing policy in the U.S. and globally....
Demonstrates how an ethnographic understanding of the lives of those
who live in public housing can generate (produce) better and more
equitable policy decisions."-Setha Low, The Graduate Center, City
University of New York

"This book is a useful toolkit for anyone concerned about the human
right to housing, the current war on the poor, and
organizing/empowering low income people. Readers will gain new
insights into action strategies at the local level."-Michael Stoops,
National Coalition for the Homeless

List of Contributors
Elizabeth Beaton, Rae Bridgman, Ernest Chui, Edward G. Goetz, Sherri
Lawson Clark, Diane K. Levy, Cheryl Rodriguez, Mark Schuller, Alan
Smart, marilyn m. thomas-houston


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