Ghost Cities: Preserving Local Housing in the Age of Speculation

APA Idaho


Thursday, October 12, 2017
1:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. MDT

CM | 1.25

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1.      How the session relates to the “Plan Big” theme. Housing stability and diversity are fundamental to sustainable economies, cultivating social capital and healthy investment.

 As communities struggle to meeting the housing needs of residents, two forces have converged to push housing out of reach for a majority of Americans. As of 2016, global real estate investment totaled $162T; a growing number of foreign investors view housing markets in coastal North American cities as a means to offshore wealth. A recent U.N. report warns that “…global financial factors have led to greater income inequality, spatial segregation, inadequate housing provision and growing homeless populations.” At the same time, the sharing economy means destination communities are losing more of their local housing market to short-term rentals and vacation property, in some cases, the vast majority of housing stock is unavailable to local residents or workforce. This session explores the implications of these two factors on housing and economic stability and the ability to recruit and retain workers. We will discuss the efforts of communities in Idaho and elsewhere to anticipate and adapt to these emerging realities in order to preserve social capital and economic vitality.

2.      How the session meets a specific planning-related training objective.

Planners are at the vanguard of considering and regulating land-use to meet the long-term community and public interest. Conversion of owner-occupied or long-term rental housing to short-term or vacant inventory has a profound impact on surrounding neighbors and community services. At its heart, this dynamic alters the traditional purpose and nature of residential zones. It is critical for planners to develop a common understanding of this issue and practical/defensible response to it.

 3.      How the session will offer a professionally relevant learning experience for a planner with at least 4 years of experience. Since this is a relatively new and sensitive development, both new and veteran planners should benefit from an informed discussion.

 4.      What you want the attendees to learn from this session.

·        Ripple effects and community and economic impacts resulting from commodification of housing stock

·        Emerging best practices to preserve traditional and compatible land uses


·        A vocabulary and logic model to facilitate communication with the general public, elected officials and policy makers.


Erik Kingston

Erik Kingston, PCED Erik joined the Idaho Housing and Finance Association in 1995 and oversees diverse projects, including program development, community outreach, fair housing education, as well as partnerships and planning for a range of housing, economic and community development efforts. He coordinates web projects such as, fairhousingforum ... Read More

Contact Info

Diane Kushlan,