Dan Jaffee talks with guest Michael Mehaffy, Senior Researcher at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Executive Director of the Sustasis Foundation, strategic development consultant and urban designer, and co-host of the blog livableportland.org. They discuss how shifts in global capitalism--including shifts toward increasing financialization and speculation in land and housing--illuminate Portland and Oregon's gentrification and housing crisis, as well as alternatives to capital- and corporate-friendly policies.
A growing crisis of housing and rental affordability, gentrification, displacement, and houselessness has hit Portland, along with many cities around the US and worldwide. In Portland and at the Oregon state legislature, major deregulatory policy changes, including Portland's Residential Infill Plan, and Oregon HB 2001, which would mandate that cities allow multi-unit housing on any residential lot, are moving forward and generating a great deal of controversy and polarization.
But what are the national and global dynamics behind these interconnected crises? How does understanding shifts in global capitalism--including shifts toward increasing financialization and speculation in land and housing--help to shed light on what's going on here in the Portland area and Oregon? What lessons does the experience of other cities have to offer us locally And what alternatives are there to corporate- and capital-friendly policies that would better address the very real problems in housing equity and affordability we are facing?
This is the first part of a two-part interview. The second half of the discussion will air on The Old Mole Variety Hour on Monday, May 20.