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‘We need to transform housing politics’: Treating homes as commodities has caused crisis, sociology prof says

April 25, 2019

By David Madden : cbc – excerpt (includes audio track)

David Madden, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, spoke at SFU Tuesday

If there’s anything Vancouverites can agree on, it’s that housing prices have spun out of control. But the way to get out of the housing crisis is another question.

David Madden, co-author of the book In Defence of Housing: The Politics of Crisis and a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, says the first step is acknowledging the crisis need not be permanent.

“People tend to talk about the housing problem almost as if it’s the weather … [like] a natural force. But it’s obviously something that’s created by political and economic projects and choices and clearly can be changed,” Madden told host Stephen Quinn on CBC’s The Early Edition.

Madden says the housing crisis has been precipitated by a global movement toward treating housing as a commodity and as an object for speculation. This has hollowed out urban life, raised rents, led to more evictions and created huge increases in homelessness and overcrowding…

No ‘silver bullet’

While he admits there is no “silver bullet” to solve the housing crisis, there are many ideas from around the world that could start reversing the problem.

These include a rent freeze; a pied-à-terre tax where those with secondary homes in the city are taxed at a higher rate; restrictions on speculation; and stronger tenant rights(more)

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