New Housing in Shrinking Cities
Summer 2019 - Spring 2020
Harvard Master's Thesis
For my master's thesis, I examined the production of new housing in Toledo, OH as a case study to understand what motivates developers to build new housing in cities losing population. This project was generously supported by a Real Estate Research Grant from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a conference travel grant from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Abstract: This past decade, real estate developers continued to build new housing in cities losing population. This articulates a seeming paradox: if residents are leaving a place, why is new housing still being built? Population loss is hardly rare in the United States, but the motivations underlying the production of new housing in shrinking cities remains an understudied phenomenon. Toledo, Ohio offers one such setting, as it has lost population at the city and regional levels for decades. Ultimately, the thesis aims to draw out lessons from Toledo which developers, investors, and public officials in other localities can apply to inform their decisions on how and whether to encourage the production of new housing in shrinking cities.
The final thesis document was 195 pages long, but you can peruse an excerpt at this link.