A Decent Home

Planning, Building, and Preserving Affordable Housing

By Alan Mallach, FAICP

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Hardcover $91.95

What is a decent home? Does it simply provide shelter from the elements? Is it affordable enough that you can buy the other necessities of life? Does it connect you to a community with adequate social and economic resources? Noted housing expert Mallach turns his decades of experience to these questions in A Decent Home.

Mallach's nuanced analysis of housing issues critical to communities across the country will help planners evaluate the housing situation in their own communities and formulate specific plans to address a variety of housing problems.

The book is both a practical step-by-step guide to developing affordable housing and a sophisticated introduction to housing policy. Chapters address design, site selection, project approval, financing, and the history of housing policy in the United States. Planners will find useful information about inclusionary and exclusionary zoning, affordable housing preservation, and the risks and rewards of affordable-home-ownership programs. Mallach also connects the dots among regional economic competitiveness, quality of life, community revitalization, and affordable housing.

About the Author

Alan MallachAlan Mallach, FAICP, is a nonresident senior fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and a visiting scholar of the Community Affairs Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Mallach is the author of Bringing Buildings Back: From Abandoned Properties to Community Assets and Inclusionary Housing Programs: Policies and Practices.

In addition to his interest in housing and neighborhoods, Mallach is also knowledgeable about music. He speaks about music, particularly Italian opera, and has written several books on the subject.

Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
April 1, 2009
APA Planners Press

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. The Case for Affordable Housing
The Need for Decent Housing
Affordable Housing Needs and the Private Market
Is Affordable Housing a Housing Problem or an Income Problem?

Chapter 2. Affordable Housing in the United States: A Short History
The Rise and Fall of Public Housing
Federal Funding, Private Ownership
The Age of Devolution
Affordable Housing Policy Today

Chapter 3. Designing Affordable Housing
Why Design Matters
Housing for Whom?
Housing That Works for People
Cars, People, and Open Space
Safe Spaces
Designing Housing That Fits In

Chapter 4. Finding Sites and Gaining Approval for Affordable Housing
Criteria for Selecting Sites
Good Sites are Hard to Find
Getting Projects Approved

Chapter 5. Making the Numbers Work: Financing Affordable Housing
Defining Affordability
Filling the Gap
Capital Grants and Tax Credit Equity
Putting the Pieces Together: Subsidy Layering and the Development Pro Forma

Chapter 6. Developing Affordable Housing, Step-by-Step
Thinking the Project Through
Forming the Development Team-Finding a Site
The Predevelopment Process
Construction, Marketing, and Rent-up

Chapter 7. Concentration and Opportunity: Undoing the Exclusion of Affordable Housing
The Practice of Suburban Exclusion
Challenging Exclusion in the Courts
State Planning Laws and Affordable Housing Mandates

Chapter 8. Affordable Housing, Community Development Corporations, and Neighborhood Revitalization
Affordable Housing and Poverty Concentration
The Role of Community Development Corporations
Toward Communities of Choice
Balancing Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization

Chapter 9. The Risks and Rewards of Affordable Home Ownership
Home Ownership-The American Dream
The Costs and Benefits of Home Ownership
Public and Nonprofit Strategies to Foster Lower Income Home Ownership
Low-income Home Ownership and the Subprime Meltdown

Chapter 10. Preserving Affordable Housing
Preservation: A Critical Issue
The Problem of Expiring Use Restrictions
Preserving Affordable Home Ownership
Preserving Affordability in the Private Market

Chapter 11. Homelessness and Affordable Housing
Who Are the Homeless?
Why Are So Many People Homeless?
Changing Approaches to Housing the Homeless
Affordable Housing and Housing First

Chapter 12. Inclusionary Housing: Using the Market to Create Affordable Housing
What Is Inclusionary Housing?
The Legal Status of Inclusionary Housing
Economics of Inclusionary Housing
Making Inclusionary Housing Work

Chapter 13. Policies, Politics, and the Future of Affordable Housing in the United States
Drivers of Housing Policy Change
Shaping Future Affordable Housing Policy

Appendix: Resources for Further Information