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Housing Affordability, Poverty, and Evidence: What Should We Do?

Associate Professor Michael Lens from UCLA
Apr 08, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-700)
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* In light of the concerns regarding COVID-19, this talk will be given as a webinar. *

Rent burdens have risen in U.S. cities for several decades, to the point that we can now credibly call this a housing affordability crisis. California’s cities have always been more rent burdened than most, bringing an unparalleled severity to the crisis in this state. Given a crisis this long in the making, research suggests that multiple strategies are vital to making housing more affordable, particularly for our most vulnerable renters. Professor Lens will discuss the research on housing supply and zoning, rent control, and housing subsidies, among other potential solutions to the housing crisis.

Michael Lens is Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy, and Associate Faculty Director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. Professor Lens’s research and teaching Lens Photo  explore the potential of public policy to address housing market inequities that lead to negative outcomes for low-income families and communities of color. This research involves housing interventions such as subsidies, tenant protections, and production. Professor Lens regularly publishes this work in leading academic journals and his research has won awards from the Journal of the American Planning Association and Housing Policy Debate.

In ongoing research, Professor Lens is studying the neighborhood context of eviction, the role of charter schools in neighborhood change, and is engaged in multiple projects (with Mike Manville and Paavo Monkkonen) concerning housing supply in California. Lens is also working on a book project that examines fifty years of neighborhood change in Black neighborhoods following the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Professor Lens’s research has received funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Arnold Foundation, and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, among other sources.

Professor Lens teaches courses on quantitative analysis, poverty and inequality, community development housing policy, and research methods.

Please click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.

Please click here for the audio recording.

Useful links:

Randall Lewis Housing Initiative: 

Paper with Paavo Monkkonen on Land Use Regulation and Income Segregation: 

Working Paper with Paavo Monkkonen and Mike Manville on how CA cities restrict housing:

Paper with Manville and Monkkonen on ending single-family zoning:

Paper with Ingrid Ellen and Kathy O'Regan on crime exposure of housing subsidy recipients:

Evan Mast's publications on housing supply effects:

Please click here for a print friendly flyer. 

Please note that registration closed at 5:00 pm on Monday, April 6th. Please contact Brooke Miller-Jacobs at should you have any questions.



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