"Market Failure" is a publication engaging with the actual complexities of current and past US urban politics, offering polemics from architects of subsidized housing, geographers, and generalist critics of urban policy. A major question animating each installment is: how do we realize alternatives to the current market-based provision of housing and urban infrastructure? While many are excited by the possibilities of left coalitions in US cities working to decommodify housing, there are almost no examples from the US context of this actually happening to draw upon. So while attention to European models of housing offer admirable models for a political alternative to the present dystopian in US cities, these visions often fail to engage the realities and the strangeness of the US context.
One the particularities of the US is the need to challenge the logic of the "free market" as the horizon for the state and the provision of goods. This is especially important to do with housing given all the ways a basic social need can be threatened by the peculiarities of processes to commodify a social good — land — and which cannot effectively be provided through an unregulated marketplace. From this basis we begin with the assumption of a pressing need to build political consensus for a break from the status quo driving urban inequality. We aim to address and engage the wider publics invested in working for new outcomes through a freely accessible and collaboratively produced online publication.
Market Failure is edited by Eric Peterson, PhD, and is supported by the Joan E. Draper Architectural History Research Endowment Fund at UC Berkeley. Special thanks to Desiree Fields, Matt Lasner, and the editors of PLATFORM.