Housing and Community Development

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Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Spring 2019
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

political economy, community development and planning

This program explores the evolution of federal, state and local housing policy. We will take a multi-disciplinary approach to examining how housing development influences the form and function of communities. The condition, design, availability and affordability of our housing impacts every aspect of our society and culture. By studying how our society provides shelter for its people we can learn about our values, principles, politics and beliefs. Students will learn and apply basic principles of community psychology, political economy and urban planning as they learn about the history of housing development.

Beginning with a close historical investigation of early development in Washington State during fall quarter, we will learn how to carry out primary source research using the rich resources that are available through the Washington State Archives. We will examine the early political and economic approach taken to establish communities in Washington State’s formative years and learn about what an examination of house design, form and culture can do to help us understand how communities function.

During winter quarter we will examine the political, economic and social forces that drove the creation of federal and state programs from the depression years through the end of the Vietnam War – a period in which housing policy is deeply intertwined with the evolution of the American welfare state. Students will learn about how analytical and political frameworks are used to create, evaluate and shape public programs, projects and services.

During spring quarter, we will focus upon contemporary approaches to solving housing affordability and homelessness in Washington State – including an examination of federal programs that the state depends upon to serve low-income individuals and families, homeless and special needs populations. We will examine the continuum of subsidies and programs that are provided to everyone from high income earners and investors to people who are chronically homeless. We will examine how specific programs, such as Washington State’s Housing Trust Fund, were established and how they have served to create affordable housing. We will compare and contrast how different federal, state and local housing policies and programs are used to provide shelter, stimulate the economy, protect the environment and support sustainable growth.

The content and context of this class is housing policy, with additional focus and attention given to a practitioner’s perspective as to how community and economic development policy is shaped and implemented. We will be looking closely at the design and function of different types of multi-family and single family housing as we consider how well it meets the needs of individuals and communities. We will also examine the policy and politics that drive existing housing development and consider how to design and carryout housing and community development projects that are sustainable.

The class is designed to be highly interactive and will include guest presentations from practitioners, field trips, practical experience conducting investigations and research using the sources that are available through the Washington State Archives.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: Public Administration, public policy, non-profit management, community development and urban planning.

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Scheduled for: Weekend

Located in: Olympia

Advertised schedule:

Saturdays 9:30am-4pm

Each quarter there will be two field trips, and during fall and winter quarter there will be one offsite class at the Washington State Archive facility in downtown Olympia.