John N. Robinson III, "Banking on Dystopia: the Story of Affordable Housing in Desperate Times"

Blumer Room - 402 Social Sciences Building



Drawing from a current book project, this talk explores connections between two seemingly conflicting long-term trends. On the one hand, lower-income renters face an increasingly dire affordable housing crisis. On the other hand, big banks and corporations today are investing in affordable rental housing like never before. This book explores the factors shaping this jarring set of realities. And it discusses the complicated role of affordable housing investment in the past and present of American inequality. Tracing the evolution of this "industry" since the 1970s, the book argues that investments from big banks, investment firms, and other wealthy entities have become both a vital lifeline for and a daunting shackle on vulnerable populations.