Event co-organized by Habita and Morar em Lisboa, integrated in the Habita Debates cycle 2018/2019
Tom Slater (University of Edinburgh)
The Myths and Realities of Rent Control
Rent control is always a matter of heated debate in cities with serious crises of affordable housing. The dominant view among economists, policy officials, business leaders and landlords is that rent controls – in any form, in any context – will be detrimental to those on whose behalf they are supposedly introduced (people struggling to find somewhere affordable to live). This view, however, is grounded in deep contempt for state regulation and in a set of highly dubious claims about the causes of housing precarity. In this talk I use the concept of ‘agnotology’ (the intentional production of ignorance) to expose three of the prevalent myths of rent control: (1) that it negatively affects the condition of rented properties; (2) that it negatively affects the supply of housing; and (3) that it is an ‘inefficient’ way of organising the housing market. I demonstrate that it is in fact deregulation and financialisation that lead to a serious decline in rental housing quality; that the supply and demand formula is defective because it only works in an ideal city that has never existed; and that the surest sign of an inefficient housing market is one that feeds off a growing rate of inequality. Finally, I analyse the organising tactics of a social movement in Scotland, Living Rent, which – against all odds – has managed to get rent control back on the policy agenda.
Presentation by Eduardo Ascensão (IGOT-ULisboa)
3rd july 2019 / 18h00
Confederação Portuguesa das Colectividades de Cultura, Recreio e Desporto
Rua da Palma 250, 1100-087
Tom Slater is Reader in Urban Geography at the University of Edinburgh. He has research interests in the institutional arrangements producing and reinforcing urban inequalities, and in the ways in which marginalised urban dwellers organise against injustices visited upon them. He has written extensively on gentrification (notably the co-authored books, Gentrification, 2008 and The Gentrification Reader, 2010), displacement from urban space, territorial stigmatisation, welfare reform, and social movements.
[Coordination of Habita Debates by Simone Tulumello (ICS-ULisboa)]