Jump to content
  • Sign Up
  • Create New...

How racism impacts support for affordable housing

Recommended Posts

How racism impacts support for affordable housing

Participants’ self-reported support for hypothetical proposed affordable housing at the state, city/town, and neighborhood levels. While a majority of participants report supporting affordable housing at all three geographic levels, there is a drop in support and accompanying increase in opposition with increased proximity, especially from the city/town level to the neighborhood level. Credit: Journal of Planning Education and Research (2024). DOI: 10.1177/0739456X241230002

The majority of people in the ******* States support affordable housing, but attitudes often shift when local developments are proposed. Stanford researchers have found that negative emotional associations with the idea of affordable housing, as well as ******* beliefs, contribute significantly to neighborhood-level opposition.

The ******* States has a major shortage of affordable housing. While surveys have shown that most people support building more affordable housing, these projects often face strong local opposition from groups that don’t necessarily represent the neighborhood as a whole.

“When you look at broad, national surveys, people often say, ‘We like affordable housing!’ but the reality is that local opposition by the public at city meetings is still a large barrier,” said Sarah Billington, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford. “So we wanted to understand more about what was shaping opinions to see how we might motivate positive action.”

In a recent study, Billington and her fellow researchers explored the factors that predict support for affordable housing at the neighborhood level.

This is the hidden content, please
, published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, shows that people’s emotional responses to affordable housing may play a significant role in shifting hypothetical support of affordable housing to specific opposition to local construction.

The researchers point out that these reactions may be rooted in unconscious biases, such as racism or classism, and that addressing them could potentially help garner support for affordable housing developments.

“We really wanted to see how this emotional response, which may be partly driven by unconscious racism or classism, paired with more conscious racism,” said Isabella Douglas, who led the research as part of her doctoral work in Billington’s lab.

“There’s been a call in urban planning to grapple with people’s emotional responses to the built environment, and to recognize that these emotional responses—while they may be hard to understand and deal with—have a lot of impact.”

Predictors of opposition

According to the

This is the hidden content, please
, there are only 34 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income households across the country. The U.S. would need an additional 7.3 million affordable homes to fill this gap.

“It’s a nationwide crisis,” said Deland Chan, a Stanford researcher with a background in urban planning and co-author on the paper. “The topic of affordable housing touches everyone, not just those in major cities, and we need more interdisciplinary perspectives and collaborations to make progress on these complex social issues.”

The researchers distributed an online survey to 534 participants around the U.S. They found that while the majority of participants supported affordable housing at the state, city, and neighborhood levels, the amount of opposition more than doubled at the neighborhood level.

“There’s a proximity effect, where as you get closer and closer to the person, their support levels go down,” said Douglas.

Many of their results were similar to what had been found in a

This is the hidden content, please
conducted a decade ago: People who made more money, lived in suburban neighborhoods, or were more ************* tended to be less supportive of affordable housing in their neighborhoods. People who had more trust in the federal government tended to be more supportive of it.

The researchers also found several trends and correlations that had not been reported previously: People with higher levels of education or who lived in single-family homes were less supportive of affordable housing, and people who had lived in their neighborhood for longer than 10 years or who had personally interacted with affordable housing were more supportive.

The most significant predictors of opposition to affordable housing, though, were racism—as captured through the well-studied symbolic racism scale of beliefs—and negative emotional connotations associated with the idea of affordable housing. While the effects of symbolic racism have been documented, the finding that people’s initial emotional response, potentially arising from unconscious racism or other biases, may affect their views on affordable housing is new.

The researchers also found statistical evidence that these factors interacted with some demographic characteristics at the neighborhood level, potentially helping to explain the shift from support to opposition once real development proposals are on the table. For example, people living in suburban neighborhoods had more negative emotional connotations with affordable housing, so they tended to be more likely to oppose neighborhood developments.

This finding was not linked with symbolic racism, highlighting the important role of emotional responses and the potential unconscious biases behind them.

Building housing and public support

It’s slightly unusual for civil engineers to be leading an interdisciplinary study on racism and emotional responses, but Billington and Douglas point out that if engineers want to successfully build more affordable housing, they can’t afford to ignore these biases.

“A lot of times, arguing over the buildings is used as a more socially acceptable way to protest affordable housing projects,” Douglas said. “We’re going to be dealing with the effects of racism in our projects and we need to be able to talk about that and address it.”

The researchers intend this initial work to be a starting point in understanding how engineers can help increase support for affordable housing developments. People’s biases—both conscious and unconscious—will affect their perceptions of the built environment and shape their opinions on affordable housing.

The researchers hope that by understanding these root causes, they can work more effectively to address them. They are continuing to investigate how the built environment affects public perceptions and are looking to work with partner organizations that explicitly focus on ******* justice and equity to develop strategies that can improve local responses to affordable housing developments.

“Affordable housing impacts many aspects that are tied to both individual well-being and community well-being,” Billington said. “We need to work to change the narrative in the public’s mind about what affordable housing is and can be for society as a whole.”

More information:
Isabella P. Douglas et al, Understanding How Racism and Affect Impact Public Opinions toward Affordable Housing in the ******* States, Journal of Planning Education and Research (2024).

This is the hidden content, please

Provided by
Stanford University

How racism impacts support for affordable housing (2024, May 20)
retrieved 20 May 2024

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

This is the hidden content, please

Science, Physics News, Science news, Technology News, Physics, Materials, Nanotech, Technology, Science
#racism #impacts #support #affordable #housing

This is the hidden content, please

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

Important Information

Privacy Notice: We utilize cookies to optimize your browsing experience and analyze website traffic. By consenting, you acknowledge and agree to our Cookie Policy, ensuring your privacy preferences are respected.