Elizabeth Mueller: Preserving the Social City: Planning, Existing Communities, and Affordable Housing
Elizabeth Mueller is an associate professor of community and regional planning and social work, and graduate advisor in the Graduate Program in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research centers on issues of equity in cities, particularly access to affordable housing. She received her Ph.D. and master's degrees from the University of California–Berkeley.
With an eye to carbon footprints and mobility choices, city plans often focus on reshaping central corridors. In many cities, these corridors are home to a large de facto stock of affordable housing—aging apartment buildings. This has raised concern that redevelopment will displace current low-income renters and exclude future low-income residents. Yet often, discussion of preservation of access for low-income residents transforms into preservation of affordable housing. In the process, the connection between existing communities and this preserved housing is often lost. How might advocates for preservation (or development) or affordable housing in central neighborhoods retain the connection to existing communities? And why does it matter to planning? Using examples from existing research and cities around the country, Mueller will illustrate the disconnections between planning and affordable housing and strategies for bringing them together.