Beds, Books, & Basements

Beds, Books, & Basements is a four-part civic conversation series engaging a select audience in provocative topics, new research, and ideas that will help shape and inform public policy.

Beds: changing the debate around short-term rentals

Beds, the first component of our talk series, will provide an opportunity to discuss CHPC’s latest work, Sleeping Around: Short Term Rentals and Housing in NYC, which focuses on the transformation of the housing stock driven by new ways to access short-term housing on demand, rather than enter into a long-term agreement with the owner.

The current public debate around these issues has devolved into litigation and public relations campaigns. Lost is a discussion of how this new way to access housing is actually affecting the housing market, for good or for ill, and what government should (if anything) do about it. Most importantly, it will highlight the need for better ways to independently monitor the effects on the housing market of this new way to “buy” housing.

Our panel will include those who can address the issues around information and data, enforcement, and a local leader from Austin, Texas, where the first licensing system for short term rentals has been developed and has become the model for a number of other cities.

Tentative Date: December 2016/January 2017


Books: highlighting two books: The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation by Natalie Moore and Welcome to You World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives by Sarah Williams Goldhagen

Natalie Moore’s new book, South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, has provided fresh insight into the impacts of segregation in housing from the perspective of one who grew up in the black community of Chatham. Relying on research, analysis, and her particularly insightful observations, Ms. Moore tells a story that is as heartfelt as it is grounded in solid research. Rarely has housing policy and its aftermath been revealed so clearly and with so much love for the community that she brings to the reader.

Ms. Moore will discuss her book with a panel of experts, moderated by Professor John Mollenkopf and co- sponsored by the CUNY Graduate Center

Tentative Date: January 19, 2017 at the CUNY Graduate Center

Sarah Williams-Goldhagen’s new book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes our Lives builds on an impressive body of work by this leading architectural critic and historian. Her newest book focuses on how our built environment doesn’t just reflect who we are but in turn profoundly shapes who we are. With America’s population growing, the need to rethink our built environment to ensure that it reflects and supports our humanity rather than constrain and diminish, it is ever more critical now.

Tentative Date: May 2017 (This event may be cosponsored with the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects/Center for Architecture)


Basements: new insights by CHPC into legalizing basement apartments to make them available to thousands of New Yorkers

CHPC’s new analysis, Making Room at Home: The Case for Conversions, provides insight into the nature and scope of this untapped housing source and recommends ways to make them accessible for the thousands of New Yorkers who need them and the homeowners who could benefit from their addition. The work will be presented along with the interactive map that will be accessible through CHPC’s website, allowing the public to better understand how basements might be made safe and legal.

To encourage real discussion rather than the usual devolution into a pitched battle, CHPC will gather a panel which will feature thoughtful representatives from Toronto, Ontario, which has spearheaded a move to legalize basements, increase the supply of affordable housing, for both homeowners and tenants, without government subsidy. Most recently these units have become a housing resource for Syrian refugees resettling in Canada.

Tentative Date: February/March 2017