Housing is a fundamental need and universal part of human living that shapes our lives in profound ways that go far beyond basic sheltering. Where we live can determine our self-image, social status, health and safety, quality of public services, access to jobs, and transportation options. But the reality for many in America is that housing choices are constrained: costs are unaffordable, discriminatory practices remain, and physical features do not align with needs. We have made a national commitment to decent housing for all, yet this promise remains unrealized.

Housing in America provides a broad overview of the field of housing. The evolution of housing norms and policy is explored in a historical context while underscoring the human and cultural dimensions of housing program choices. Specific topics covered include: why housing matters; housing and culture; housing frameworks and political ideologies; housing and opportunities; housing and the economy; housing discrimination; housing affordability; rental housing; and housing and climate change. Readers will gain an understanding of the basic debates within the field of housing, consider the motivations and performance of various interventions, and critically examine persistent patterns of racial and class inequality.

With short case studies, primary source materials, reflective exercises, strong visuals, and interviews with practitioners, this introductory text explores improving housing choices in America.

1. Unique Qualities of Housing  2. Housing and Culture  3. Framing Housing: Disciplinary Approaches and Ideologies  4. History of Federal Involvement in Housing  5. Housing and Discrimination  6. Housing Needs, Affordability, and Federal Responses  7. Housing and Opportunity  8. Housing and the Economy  9. Public Housing  10. State and Local Housing Initiatives  11. Rental Housing in America  12. People Experiencing Homelessness  13. Community Development Corporations  14. Housing, Sustainability, and Climate Change  15. Conclusion