“The Houses that Eminent Domain and Housing Tax Credits Built: Imagining a Better New Orleans” by Carol Necole Brown & Serena M. Williams

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June 25th, 2012

Proposals for investing in and rebuilding urban enclaves such as New Orleans are layered with controversy and difficulty. One of the most significant impediments to rebuilding New Orleans will be addressing the need to replenish the depleted rental housing market.  Racial and economic integration of housing markets and appropriate use of private sector money to replenish the rental housing stock within a “reasonable” time period are indispensable components of a responsible revitalization and renewal plan. This Article contends that a combination of the smart exercise of eminent domain and of “housing production subsidies”—housing tax credits—is necessary to rebuild the rental housing market in New Orleans. In a climate of appreciating markets, private developers do not have natural incentives to construct affordable rental housing.