Rethinking homeownership : why alternative tenure strategies are needed to stabilize neighborhoods in Lawrence, MA
Author(s)Sparks, Holly Jo
Why alternative tenure strategies are needed to stabilize neighborhoods in Lawrence, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Lynn M. Fisher.
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This research is designed to examine the potential mismatch between neighborhood stabilization plans and resources with the unique needs of smaller post-industrial cities in the United States. Given the distinct demographic, economic and physical characteristics of smaller, postindustrial cities, I rely on Lawrence, MA as a case study to examine housing tenure and homeownership strategies-particularly within the current economic climate and foreclosure crisis. The primary goal of this thesis is to combine first-hand observations with quantitative analysis in order to address the question: is increasing homeownership an appropriate and feasible goal for cities with high concentrations of poverty and a prevalence of multi-family housing stock? If not, what alternative housing strategies and policy approaches are needed in order to stabilize distressed neighborhoods and improve quality of living? Consistent with Lawrence's growing challenge with foreclosures and research on low-income homeownership, the findings of this thesis demonstrate that focusing on homeownership strategies in Lawrence and other smaller, post-industrial cities may not lead to more stable neighborhoods. To the contrary, due to localized concentrations of poverty and multi-family housing stock, homeownership strategies serve to put low-income households at greater risk while neglecting the needs of the most distressed neighborhoods altogether.(cont.) Further, this thesis examines alternative forms of housing tenure, arguing that neighborhood stability does not accompany increased homeownership, per se, but rather, is facilitated by healthy residential environments where residents choose to stay. Thus, this thesis recommends that Lawrence pursue housing strategies that seek to improve residential stability in distressed neighborhoods, while simultaneously developing a diversity of tenure options for individual households.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 57-63).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.