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Cityscape: Volume 21 Number 1 | The Fair Housing Act at 50 | The Potential of the Fair Housing Act’s Affirmative Mandate and HUD’s AFFH Rule


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Fair Housing Act at 50

Volume 21 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

The Potential of the Fair Housing Act’s Affirmative Mandate and HUD’s AFFH Rule

Katherine M. O’Regan
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University

Ken Zimmerman
Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy, New York University

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a powerful tool in the civil rights arsenal and has achieved a great deal, but its promise to address structural inequities that have undergirded the U.S. housing system has yet to be realized. HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule is an important effort to do that, reflecting new learning and a refined approach to the core challenge of remedying ongoing barriers to fair housing that perpetuate disparities.

This article aims to provide details on how and why that rule was created, building on the experiences of two Obama-administration appointees involved in the rule’s creation. After providing a brief background on the AFFH mandate of the FHA, this article explains the origins and theory behind the new rule and summarizes details of the rule and key initial critiques and experiences. It ends with some thoughts on how the approach embodied in HUD’s rule could assist in ushering in a new era of equity planning.

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