Public perceptions of affordable housing : how race and class stereotyping influence views
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The development of affordable housing often involves a contentious siting process. Proposed housing developments frequently trigger concern among neighbors and community groups about potential negative impacts on neighborhood quality of life and property values. Advocates, developers, and researchers have long suspected that some of these concerns stem from racial or class prejudice, yet, to date, these assumptions lack empirical evidence. My research seeks to examine the roles that perceptions of race and class play in shaping opinions that underlie public opposition to affordable housing. Such opposition often earns the label "Not in my Backyard" (NIMBY). The application of a mixed-methods approach helps determine why the public opposes the development of affordable housing in their neighborhoods and towns. The focus group and survey results provide a rich understanding of the underlying attitudes that trigger opposition to affordable housing when proposed nearby. This study demonstrates that stereotypes and perceptions of the poor and minorities are particularly strong determinants of affordable housing opposition. This research improves our understanding of public attitudes toward affordable housing attitudes, leading to a more focused and effective policies and plans for the siting of affordable housing. The results provide advocates, planners, developers, and researchers with a more accurate portrayal of affordable housing opposition, thereby allowing the response to be shaped in a more appropriate manner.