As chatter about Airbnb, gentrification and volatile rental markets flies fast and thick, a new exhibit at the Tulane School of Architecture's Tulane City Center/Small City Center (1725 Baronne St.) examines affordable housing issues in New Orleans.
Rather than focusing on what makes the city unusual or exceptional, this exhibit places local housing challenges in a broader national and international context.
“There are many ways New Orleans suffers from, and rises to, the same challenges as many other cities,” center public programs manager Sue Mobley says. “(Calling it exceptional creates) a write-off of learning from others.”
Exhibit modules look at 125 years of national and local housing policy and define what makes housing affordable, and for whom, following the stories of five fictional families at different income levels. Mobley wants to establish a baseline level of knowledge in observers about housing issues, and to correct misunderstandings about the ways the federal government subsidizes housing for different groups.
“(Affordable housing) isn’t just about the very poor, which is often how it gets politically centered,” Mobley points out.
The exhibit also breaks down measures from the national and international community, such as rent control, inclusionary zoning and land trust policies, and considers how they might affect New Orleans. You don’t need a background in housing policy or activism to get something out of the exhibit, Mobley says - it’s designed so everyone can participate in the conversation.
The exhibit is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Jan. 27, 2017, and takes about an hour to view. Admission is free.