Housing. Prof. Priya S. Gupta maintains that we can understand the dominance of the single-family house and its connection with depleted cities, municipal bankruptcies, the foreclosure crisis, and racial inequalities in housing security and ownership only if we appreciate the historical and ongoing government policies and practices that have established that dominance and perpetuated these problems. In her recent article, Governing the Single-Family House: A (Brief) Legal History, 37 U. Haw. L. Rev. 187 (2015), she explains the negative effects of government programs that have tried to entrench the single-family home as the American Dream. The government role and responsibility in this endeavor has been purposefully obscured, however, through free market rhetoric, attempting to make the dominance of the single-family home seem like a natural result of market preferences rather than purposefully driven by an active government role. Prof. Gupta conducts an interdisciplinary study, looking at the insights of urban historians, architects, and geographers to examine “the landscape of the single-family house (its form, intended occupants, and location) against the myriad of case law, zoning ordinances, and federal regulation that built it.” Housing inequality issues, according to Prof. Gupta, exist as a consequence of our policies shaping space, physical structures, and landscape. She seeks to expose the “hidden nature of privilege” that “enables its entrenchment in localities through the use of political power.” In her view, deliberate government policies, rather than market forces, led to the rise of neighborhoods where single-family homes dominate and where a heightened sense of legitimacy has enabled exclusionary practices and many other negative practices.
Keeping Current–Property, 30 Probate & Property 26, 29 (2016).