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Noah Kazis’s important article, Fair Housing for a Non-sexist City, shows how law shapes the contours of neighborhoods and embeds forms of inequality, and how fair housing law can provide a remedy. Kazis surfaces two dimensions of housing that generate inequality and that are sometimes invisible. Kazis highlights the role of planning and design rules – the seemingly identity-neutral zoning, code enforcement, and land-use decisions that act as a form of law. Kazis also reveals how gendered norms underlie those rules and policies. These aspects of Kazis’s project link to commentary on the often invisible, gendered norms that shape the design of ordinary objects, public space, data, and automated algorithms.

As to housing specifically, Kazis’s emphasis on gender is noteworthy; most examinations of exclusion in housing and land use concern race and class. Kazis takes up the invitation of Professor Dolores Hayden, a prominent urban historian, to imagine how we might redesign urban spaces and rethink the connection between the city and suburb. Kazis’s focus on “sex” means not just women as a broad category, but women who own businesses, participate in the wage economy, and need childcare zoned in their neighborhoods, as well as men who are low-income and need single-room occupancy (SRO) and other housing arrangements to make housing affordable.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Constitutional Law | Housing Law | Land Use Law | Law | Law and Gender | Law and Race


Center for Constitutional Governance