• Housing Discrimination Today
  • Volume 17, Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

Foreign Exchange: Preparing Our Housing for the Transition to a Post-Baby Boom World: Reflections on Japan’s May 26, 2015 Vacant Housing Law

Peter Manda
Boston University School of Law


Foreign Exchange
Foreign Exchange, a department of
Cityscape, reports on what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation has learned about new departures in housing and development policy in cities and suburbs throughout the world that might have value if applied in U.S. communities. If you have a recent research report or article of fewer than 2,000 words to share in a forthcoming issue of Cityscape, please send a one-paragraph abstract to matthew.l.hennessy@hud.gov.


For more than a decade, policymakers and planners around the United States have increasingly been making a concerted effort to address the needs of the retiring baby boomers, particularly in funding for health care, long-term social services, elder justice, and retirement security. The 2015 Japanese Special Measures Law to Further a Response to Vacant Housing provides local governments and municipalities in Japan with expansive powers to identify vacant homes and compel owners to repair or remediate them. The Japanese Vacant Housing Law asks us to consider more carefully (1) what will happen to housing when the baby boomers die, and (2) what measures can be taken to prevent an abandoned housing crisis of equal scale in the United States. This article reviews general demographic trends in the United States and Japan, provides a summary of the 2015 Japanese Vacant Housing Law, and recommends development of data to assist with policies in the United States that can better address, and possibly prevent, a potential exacerbation of vacant and abandoned housing related blight over the course of the next 45 years.

 

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