Rebuilding the Mississippi Gulf Coast

September 29, 2008

Course Description
Consumer problems related to production and allocation of housing, especially for low-income households. Includes service-learning experience related to data collection, analysis and reporting in the context of neighborhood development.

Course Prerequisites: ECON 200 and FmResM 340

When finished with this course, the successful student will be able to
(1) Understand importance of housing in US society;
(2) Identify institutions and special interests involved in the production, maintenance, regulation and distribution of housing;
(3) Compare and evaluate alternative solutions to housing problems;
(4) Collect, interpret, and report housing data.

Course Reading Materials
Medoff, P., & Sklar, H. (1994). Streets of Hope: The fall and rise of a Boston neighborhood. Boston: South End Press.
The Encyclopedia of Housing. HD7287.E53 1998. EHS Library reserve.
Solove, R. (2002). The use of oral and written history to build community identity and pride in the Weinland Park neighborhood. A Senior Honors Thesis, The Ohio State University. Packet, Neil Avenue COP-EZ.
University District Code Enforcement: An Assessment and Recommendations for Improvement. (

Course Grade
Daily assignments

Definitions and questions @ 5 40 points
Midterm exam 100
Reflection paper 100
Interview Report 100
Course Report 100
Reflection paper 60
Total 500 points

The course grade will be determined according to the following scale:

A >  460 points B >  410 points D+ >  335points
A >  450 points C+ >  385 points D >  300 points
B+ >  435 points C >  360 points E >  Less than 300 points
B >  425 points C >  350 points

Student Responsibilities

Class Attendance: Attendance is a non-negotiable requirement. The course is built around weekly discussions and activities, and participation is essential. Students are expected to remain for the entire class period and to participate fully in class discussion. Any announcements, handouts, or course material are the responsibility of the student.

Assignments: Each reading assignment should be completed prior to the date assigned. Students are expected to be prepared to discuss the reading assignment in class.

Written assignments should be typed. Written assignments should be turned in at the beginning of the class period. Assignments are to be submitted in class on the due date. Late assignments will not be accepted.


Class 1
Overview of course – content, activities, service
Description of service-learning project
Read Medoff & Sklar, Introduction, pp. 1-6.
Introduction to Course and Text
Movie about Dudley Street
Weinland Park Slides

Class 2
Read Medoff & Sklar, Ch. 1, pp. 7-35.
Scan Solove report and University District Code Enforcement Report.
Submit written definitions of the following terms and describe specifically how the term is used in the reading (e.g., what were causes and effects of white flight in Dudley Street?)
– White flight
– Federal Housing Administration
– Urban renewal
– Unemployment rate
– Redlining
– Blockbusting

Class 3
Orientation Meeting with BREAD Staff
What is BREAD’s mission? Who are BREAD members? What strategies are used to accomplish goals? What has BREAD accomplished? Read handout from BREAD

Class 4
Read Ch. 2
Define the term coalition and describe how the term is used in the reading–what coalitions were formed, how, with what result?
Submit two questions for class discussion.

Class 5
Meeting with BREAD Staff
Discussion of Project (purpose, timeline, process)
Discussion of content for interviews and preliminary development of questions

Class 6
Read Ch. 3, pp. 67-87.
Write two-three paragraphs describing the concept:
– Community organizing (e.g., how is community organizing accomplished, what actions were taken to organize Dudley Street? What were the results/benefits?). Provide specific examples.

Class 7
Meeting with BREAD Staff
Practice interview techniques
Interview assignments and schedules

Class 8
Continue development of Interview questions
Practice interview techniques

Class 9
Midterm Exam

Class 10
Read Ch. 4, pp. 89-113
Submit written definitions of the following terms and describe how the term is used in the reading (give very specific examples from the reading, e.g., description, causes/effects):
– bottom-up planning
– community assets
– community agencies
– moratorium
– comprehensive plan

Class 11
Time allotted for interviews
First Reflection Paper Due

Class 12
Read Ch. 5, pp. 115 -144
Submit written definitions of the following terms and write two paragraphs about how the term is used in the reading (what happened, why, with what effect?):
– eminent domain
– displacement
Submit two questions for class discussion

Class 13
Meeting with BREAD Staff
Discuss findings from interviews
Plan structure and content of final reportRead all interview reports

Class 14
Read Ch. 6, pp. 145-167
Submit written definitions of the following terms and describe how the term is used in the reading:
– land trust
– homeowners classes
– Community Investment Coalition

Class 15
Meeting with BREAD Staff
First draft of interview reports due

Class 16
Read Ch. 7, pp. 169-201
Write 3-4 paragraphs about the concept. Community development “with people in mind,” and discuss economic trends that undermine community development.

Class 17
Meeting with BREAD Staff
Work on Final Report

Class 18
Read Ch. 9, pp. 245-288
Discuss the following quote: “Community development must begin by recognizing and reinforcing resources within the community.” (P. 254).

Class 19
Class discussion and work on Final Report

Class 20

Class 21
Final Exam ? 3:30 p.m.


Service-Learning Project in FRM 611

  1. Service-learning is a way of teaching and learning that emphasizes active learning, reciprocity with community groups, and reflection on connections between service and learning. Active learning means that students learn and develop through active participation in organized service activities in the community. Students devote structured time in reflection or analysis of the connection between the service activity and concepts taught in the course.
  2. The service-learning project for this course is to collaborate with the BREAD organization to collect stories from eight to ten typical working-class and working-poor households representing a range of household (single parent; single, no children; married parents; immigrant families; and senior citizens) and employment characteristics and housing needs. The purpose of the project is (1) to gain understanding of how the difficulties they have in securing housing have affected their lives in terms of job opportunities, access to health care, access to child care, transportation, and overall quality of life; and (2) to connect housing needs with Affordable Housing Trust supply characteristics (based on financial data from interviewees in order to determine whether any of them could afford AHT housing).
  3. Students will work in pairs to interview families selected by the BREAD organization. Preparation for the interview process will be provided in class. Interviews will be taped and the contents transcribed in preparation for development of an interview report. Students will use the content from the interview to answer questions posed by BREAD about housing needs and to identify themes in the responses.
  4. After initial interview reports are completed, the class will read and analyze results of all interviews, looking for common themes and differences. Students will identify themes related to housing needs, barriers to housing, AFT supply and need. The final report (one report prepared by all students) presents case studies representing family/household types, problems encountered, and solutions as well as summaries of problems and observations about housing problems. BREAD will use this report as support for their analysis of the effectiveness of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in addressing housing needs of the working poor.

Final Reflection Paper
Write an essay on your reflection on the topics addressed and community project addressing the following questions:

  1. What did you learn about problems of low-income, disinvested neighborhoods ? include course reading and discussion and interactions with families and with BREAD staff.
  2. Outline a proposal for discussion with Weinland Park residents regarding possible collaborative projects with OSU that could contribute to Weinland Park?s capacity for planning and organizing and implementation. Your proposal should be wholistic and draw on materials provided in class as well as your discussions and observations and reading about other neighborhoods.

School: The Ohio State University
Professor: Dr. Golden Jackson
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