This research paper analyzes six case studies across North America and Europe (Berlin, New York City, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Barcelona, Lisbon, and Vancouver) where the orthodoxies of modern housing policy are being challenged. It also addresses the exclusionary practices and spatial inequality that have become common fixtures across the Global North. These fall under three distinct categories: protecting renters, building coalitions and new narratives, and curbing harmful demand.
It would be good to write a very optimistic piece at the dawn of 2022—and indeed we do try to focus in this piece not just on trends but on solutions. Yet, overall, it is impossible to avoid “telling it as it is”—internationally and for multilateral action, the year has not had an auspicious start. Omicron is sweeping through communities worldwide, with many hospital systems warning of the risk of being overwhelmed. The political instability of which we and many others have long warned, driven by economic and governance links, is coming to pass. Kazakhstan is the most recent example, but this also covers the quintupling of coups in Africa in 2021, and heightened polarization in many Western, Asian, and Latin American electoral processes.
Afghanistan is now an epic humanitarian catastrophe. And the US and other Western nations face a complex mix of humanitarian, strategic, and domestic political considerations in deciding how to respond to prevent the situation from deteriorating even further. Though the US has minimal leverage, it gains more by engagement than by disengagement. It would be better to act now before the situation deteriorates even further and makes it more difficult to negotiate channels of assistance.
State capture is a type of systematic corruption whereby narrow interest groups take control of the institutions and processes that make public policy, excluding other parts of the public whose interests those institutions are supposed to serve. State capture is often associated with the first decade of transition in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and Eastern Europe. State capture has also spread to many countries that had once seemed to be resilient democracies or, in the case of transition countries, on a secure path toward democratization. This research paper goes in-depth on the mechanisms and impacts of state capture, impact on inequalities, and lessons learned from two case studies (Brazil and South Africa).