Furthering Fair Housing

Prospects for Racial Justice in America's Neighborhoods

Edited by Justin P. Steil, Nicholas F. Kelly, Lawrence J. Vale, and Maia S. Woluchem
Book Cover

PB: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2073-2
Publication: Mar 21

HC: $110.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-2072-5
Publication: Mar 21

Ebook: $34.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-2074-9
Publication: Mar 21

256 pages
6 x 9
8 tables, 9 figures

Analyzing federal policy to advance racial equity in housing and neighborhoods

Read an excerpt from the Introduction (pdf)


The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule was the most significant federal effort to increase equality of access to place-based resources and opportunities, such as high-performing schools or access to jobs, since the 1968 Fair Housing Act. However, in an effort to appeal to suburban voters, the Trump administration repealed the rule in 2020, leaving its future in doubt.

Furthering Fair Housing analyzes multiple dimensions of this rule, identifying failures of past efforts to increase housing choice, exploring how the AFFH Rule was crafted, measuring the initial effects of the rule before its rescission, and examining its interaction with other contemporary housing issues, such as affordability, gentrification, anti-displacement, and zoning policies.

The editors and contributors to this volume—a mix of civil rights advocates, policymakers, and public officials—provide critical perspectives and identify promising new directions for future policies and practices. Placing the history of fair housing in the context of the centuries-long struggle for racial equity, Furthering Fair Housing shows how this policy can be revived and enhanced to advance racial equity in America’s neighborhoods.

Contributors: Vicki Been, Raphael Bostic, Edward G. Goetz, Megan Haberle, Howard Husock, Reed Jordan, Michael C. Lens, Katherine O’Regan, Patrick Pontius, Alexander von Hoffman, and the editors


"Furthering Fair Housing provides a history of the Fair Housing Act and an insider’s account of battles within the Obama administration over the shaping of the AFFH rule. It also includes suggestions of how the rule could be improved. The volume, which includes contributions from both liberals and conservatives, offers a helpful primer for the new administration.... Furthering Fair Housing’s sound guidance should be read by all public officials seeking to navigate this difficult terrain."
Washington Monthly

This book tells the AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule) story quite well and provides guidance for future efforts to create the communities called for by the Fair Housing Act."
Journal of Urban Affairs

" The book offers timely and informative perspectives on the history and future of the AFFH and the competing place-based community development and fair housing spatial strategies. It is a worthwhile investment of time for anyone interested in the relationship of development, housing, racial justice, and household and community success."
Urban Land

When civil rights leaders fought for fair housing in the 1960s, they knew that where you live affects how you live—and that your zip code can often predict your access to opportunity and chances for success. As Furthering Fair Housing details, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule was a major step in completing the unfinished work of the 1960s to end housing discrimination and segregation, and to ensure every American has a safe, decent, and affordable place to live.
Julián Castro, Former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

"The contributors and editors to this collection are academics and policy makers who provide background on such topics as housing segregation issues, efforts to draft the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, and the impact of the assessment data gathered. They provide extensive background on the missteps and steps forward for the AFFH legislation, as well as the issues it sought to address.... Summing Up: Recommended."

"Furthering Fair Housing offers, undeniably, the most comprehensive account yet of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule—its origins, its limitations, its successes, and its lessons for the still urgent task ahead of ensuring racial equity in access to place-based opportunities.... Overall, then, this book raises a whole host of questions about what 'fair housing' means and how it might best be pursued. Its publication couldn’t be more timely.... This book ought to be read by all involved in those efforts."
Contemporary Sociology

Table of Contents


Introduction: Fair Housing: Promises, Protests, and Prospects for Racial Equity in Housing / Justin P. Steil, Nicholas F. Kelly, Lawrence J. Vale, and Maia S. Woluchem

1. The Origins of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 / Alexander von Hoffman
2. Fair Housing from the Inside Out: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Creation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule / Raphael W. Bostic, Katherine O’Regan, and Patrick Pontius, with Nicholas F. Kelly
3. The Promise Fulfilled? Taking Stock of Assessments of Fair Housing / Nicholas F. Kelly, Maia S. Woluchem, Reed Jordan, and Justin P. Steil

4. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Are There Reasons for Skepticism? / Howard Husock
5. The Fair Housing Challenge to Community Development / Edward G. Goetz

6. Gentrification, Displacement, and Fair Housing: Tensions and Opportunities / Vicki Been
7. Incorporating Data on Crime and Violence into the Assessment of Fair Housing / Michael C. Lens
8. Furthering Fair Housing: Lessons for the Road Ahead / Megan Haberle

Conclusion: From Suspension to Renewal: Regaining Momentum for Fair Housing / Justin P. Steil and Nicholas F. Kelly

About the Contributors

About the Author(s)

Justin P. Steil is an Associate Professor of Law and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the coeditor of The Dream Revisited: Contemporary Debates about Housing, Segregation, and Opportunity and Searching for the Just City: Debates in Urban Theory and Practice.

Nicholas F. Kelly is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he works on affordable housing and public policy, with a particular focus on segregation and urban politics. Previously, he worked at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and for U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

Lawrence J. Vale is an Associate Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of After the Projects: Public Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans and several other prize-winning books about low-income housing.

Maia S. Woluchem is a graduate of the Masters in City Planning program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently serves as a Technology Fellow at the Ford Foundation, focused on the intersection of civic engagement, structural democracy, and emergent technology. She was previously a researcher at the Urban Institute.