Welcome to Where We Go From Here, a newsletter about the past, present and future of housing, planning and urban development from Alex Schafran.
What should I expect from WWGFM?
I aim to publish ever two weeks, and each newsletter will include an original essay and links to good reads with a touch of commentary.
The goal is to be productive and provocative - I’m not just trying to get a rise out of folks, but to push leaders and readers to think and talk and act more productively in addressing our housing / inequality / climate crisis. This stuff has to work. The first rule of WWGFH is that the best ideas are ones that make even better ideas more possible in the future.
I will be aiming this at folks who already have experience in these issues, but will always include links for folks trying to get up to speed.
My focus right now is on California. But even if I am writing for California’s thinkers and doers, the issues I talk about are relevant to many places. You will also see a gradual opening up after the first six months, and
Who am I?
I am a longtime writer about housing, planning and racial segregation. My first book, the Road to Resegregation: Northern California and the Failure of Politics, looks at how and why the wealthiest and most progressive region in the US became an epicenter of resegregation and foreclosure. My newest book, The Spatial Contract is an attempt to imagine what a new politics of housing, transportation, energy and other systems could look like - and how part of this change involves making these systems central to our politics.
As an academic, I have also published more than 50 articles on housing tenure, segregation, housing activism, regional geography, urban and suburban discourse, and more. My newly revamped website - alexschafran.com - highlights some of my favorite pieces from the past 15 years.
Outside of writing, I have been involved professionally in housing, social work, immigrant rights and academia for 25 years. I began my career at a Head Start in Berkeley, and worked throughout my 20s as an immigrant rights paralegal and activist in California and as a tenant organizer in New York City. I spent most of my 30s and early 40s in academia, where I was Lecturer in Geography at the University of Leeds, and taught urban policy and urban studies at Sciences Po Paris, Sciences Po Bordeaux, and the University of Cergy-Pontoise.
I am now a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Metropolitan Studies at San José State University, where I am co-leading a transformation of the Institute focused on improving public understanding of urbanization and development in California. I also have a burgeoning consulting practice centered on helping leaders and organizations change what is possible in California housing and urban development.
To learn about working with me or hiring me, visit schafranstrategies.com
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