What They're Talking About When They're Promising Affordable Housing

As gentrification sweeps through neighborhoods, housing displacement
becomes an issue of major concern. One way to stanch the displacement
of poor people from gentrifying neighborhoods seems pretty obvious:
give them housing they can afford. So activists demand affordable
housing, politicians promise it, and developers - after negotiation -
sometimes even agree to produce it. But what exactly is meant by
"affordable housing"? How is it, for instance, that a guy who works at
Merrill Lynch Investments qualifies for affordable housing in
Brooklyn? (True story.) Though the term "affordable housing" gets used
in an everyday sense, it has a highly specific meaning, defined by the
federal government, that is not necessarily clear to non-bureaucrats.
In this workshop, you will learn exactly what politicians and
developers are talking about when they're promising affordable housing
for Baltimore City (or elsewhere). You'll also be better able, after
this workshop, to critique affordable housing proposals and frame your
own demands for housing that is truly accessible to the people who
need it.

This is a 50-minute workshop that works best for a group of 15 people,
maximum. The workshop is highly visual, tactile, and interactive. We
use a big felt board and sticky pieces to get people up and moving
around, thinking about the relationships between jobs, income, and
housing policy in their neighborhoods.

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), based in Brooklyn, makes
educational projects about how cities work. We conduct our workshop on
housing affordability for community groups in New York City and
beyond. This affordable housing tool is part of CUP's Envisioning
Development Toolkit.