Foreclosing the Dream

How America's Housing Crisis Is Reshaping Our Cities and Suburbs

By William Lucy

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Winner of the 2010 Outstanding Academic Title sponsored by the American Library Association's Choice magazine

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Originally published in 2010 — e-book version released in 2013.

That America entered a profound housing crisis in 2008 is well known. The wave of foreclosures that began to sweep the nation has had radical ...

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Oct. 1, 2013
APA Planners Press

About the Authors

William Lucy

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures



Chapter 1: The Ring of Death
Patterns of Foreclosure
The Pattern of Home Values
What Accounts for These Patterns?

Chapter 2: What Income Reveals

Chapter 3: Old Neighborhoods Lead the Way
Empty Downtown Blocks
Blank Spots on the Map
Other Common Settings

Chapter 4: Coping with Global Warming
Transportation and Oil
Reducing Energy Use In Transportation
Goals for Households and Governments
Cross-National Comparisons
Political Support for Transit
Policies to Increase Transit Use
Transit-Oriented Development
Global Localism
Tyranny of Easy Development Decisions
Transportation Planning for Results
Sustainable Region Incentive Program
Accounting for Behavior, Scale, and Incentives
Energy Use in Buildings
Energy Savings in New Buildings

Chapter 5: The Outmoded Metropolis
Regional Metropolitanism
Smart Growth and States
Coping with Mismatch of Needs and Resources
Enhancing Governance Capabilities with Transit and Revenue Sharing
Two Options for Declining Suburbs
Suburban Downtowns, Shopping Centers, and Housing
Rebuilding Accessibility and Nature

Chapter 6: The Future of Politics
Home Buying

Appendix 1: Demography Is Destiny
Housing and Demographics
The Role of Income
Pricing "Toxic Mortgage Assets"
How to Counter a "Bubble"?
Data Sources and Issues

Appendix 2: Foreclosures, Housing Units, Housing Values, and Family Incomes



See what journalists are writing about Foreclosing the Dream:

USA Today

Check out some of the rave reviews:

The Huffington Post

The Chicago Tribune

Discovering Urbanism

"Experience is now showing that the foreclosure challenge is varied and nuanced — ranging from predatory loans to option ARMs (often accompanied by limited documentation and optimistic underwriting) to the more current situation of job losses, income reductions, and falling values. This book recognizes the breadth of that challenge and presents many useful solutions for meeting it."

—Conrad Egan
Immediate Past President, National Housing Conference

"Housing foreclosures are the tip of the iceberg in William Lucy's tale of a brave new metropolitan future. Historic changes in housing development, revitalization of the central city, new demographic changes, and global warming all play crucial parts in the coming transformation. Offering a sweeping vision, Foreclosing the Dream is a planner's comprehensive guide to future metropolitan development, showing us how to fit together the many changes that might seem unrelated."

—Dowell Myers
Professor of Urban Planning and Demography, University of Southern California

"In this timely study, Lucy (urban and environmental planning, Univ. of Virginia) delineates the American dream of owning a home, the recent housing bubble, the pattern of foreclosures, and the consequent economic downturn. He examines the causes and consequences of the housing crisis, presents quantitative data, and shows how demographics, housing units, and family income are intertwined. His account shows how the housing crisis was triggered by federal government policy aimed at increasing the rate of home ownership, easy credit with low down payments, deregulation of financial institutions, and the secondary mortgage market. Examining the implications of this crisis for future housing, Lucy focuses on the impact of suburban sprawl on increased use of automobiles and the resulting pollution and global warming. He argues in favor of smart growth: developing more compact urban areas, increasing the use of public transit, providing more alternatives to driving alone, and moving household locations closer to jobs, bus routes, shopping, etc. Furthermore, Lucy emphasizes the need for federal and state government policies directed at changing human behavior and lifestyles through finance, tax, home buying, and energy-related incentives, leading to a more compact and equitable metropolis. This book is a major contribution to the literature on urban housing and environmental policy/planning. Summing Up: Highly recommended."

—September 2010 issue of CHOICE