University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

CLOSUP Conferences

European and American Experiences with Affordable Housing and Integrated Community Development

Ann Arbor, May 9-10, 2003

A Research Symposium Sponsored by:

The University of Michigan’s
European Union Center
Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy
Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

The Pfizer Corporation

Michigan State Housing Development Authority


“Integrated or holistic community development” has emerged as a key public policy topic across Europe and the United States. To policy-makers and practitioners, “integrated community development” involves efforts to balance a community’s needs for adequate and affordable housing, commercial development, environmental protection, resource management, infrastructure, social services, and qua lity of life. After decades of piecemeal development policy, in which efforts to attract new businesses, for example, rarely considered the impact of these economic activities on an area’s quality of life, people involved in development policy are increasingly aware of the inter-connectedness of these many development-related elements. Many are actively working to rationalize the way development decisions are made in order to achieve a healthier and more sustainable balance in local communities.

At the same time, many analysts and academic researchers in Europe and the United States are studying theoretical problems that relate directly to the practical problems faced by policy-makers and development professionals in the field. To begin a dialog between community development leaders, housing professionals, and academic researchers, and to help forge an on-going applied research agenda, the co-sponsors of this project are organizing a symposium to compare American and European perspectives on the issues of affordable housing and integrated community development.

It is the firm belief of this project’s co-sponsors that people working on community development issues in Europe and the U.S. have much to learn from one another. Historical experiences in the two regions vary widely. In Europe, governments since World War II have played an active role in planning for and financing housing and other forms of development. On the whole, the European approach to community development has been much more integrative, with governments providing not just housing and economic incentives, but also a wide range of related services. The experiences of individual countries and communities within those countries vary widely, however, and these differences provide valuable opportunities for comparative analysis. And in many places, budgetary pressures are forcing local governments to re-evaluate their comprehensive approaches to development and to prioritize where they direct scarce resources.

In the U.S., by contrast, federal, state, and local governments have typically played a much more limited role in the local development process. In many places, “development policy” is limited to programs to attract and retain new businesses. In other places, especially large urban centers, government plays an active role in providing housing services, typically funded through state or federal block- grant programs. Other community services are provided by non-profit organizations or public-private partnerships. At the state level, separate agenc ies have traditionally dealt with economic development, housing, transportation, social services, and environmental and resource issues. More and more, however, state and local development professionals recognize the advantages that come with coordinating policies across traditional functional lines. Thus, we observe actors on both sides of the Atlantic moving, from different starting points, to a more common position with a balance of between many inter-related components of development policy, and a division of public and private responsibility for their provision. It therefore seems highly fruitful to share experiences, learn from one another’s best and worst practices, consider what is common and what is unique in the various country experiences, and together assess future prospects for integrated community development.

To facilitate this conversation, we are planning a symposium to be held in Ann Arbor, MI, on May 9-10, 2003. The symposium will bring together academic scholars, government analysts and policy-makers, private sector housing and development professionals, representatives of non-profit organizations, and members of the public. The first day of the symposium will comprise three panels, each involving presentations by academic researchers and policy- makers or practitioners from Europe and the U.S., as well as open discussion with members of the audience. Major themes will include comparisons of how researchers and policy-makers define “integrated community development” in Europe and the U.S.; regional approaches to and patterns of community development, residential segregation and mobility; and public/private partnerships in facilitating and financing local development. The second day of the symposium will involve an informal roundtable/workshop discussion amongst the academic participants on emerging research issues and topics for future research.

The symposium is being co-sponsored by The University of Michigan’s European Union Center; Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy; and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; The Pfizer Corporation; and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The co-sponsors view this effort as the first step in an on-going collaboration with academic units, regional groups, and government agencies already working on similar issues. We believe that by bringing together academic researchers, policy- makers and practitioners in an intense and rigorous way, this format will provide a fertile environment for high- level and meaningful discussion.


Day 1: Friday, May 9, 2003
Location: International Institute, University of Michigan
Time Description
8:30-9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Introductions and Welcome
9:15-10:00 Keynote Address 1: U.S. Perspectives
Michael Stegman
Professor of Public Policy and Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chairman of the Department of Public Policy, and Director of the Center for Community Capitalism in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, North Carolina
10:00-10:45 Keynote Address 2: European Perspectives
Alan Murie
Professor of Urban and Regional Studies, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, School of Public Policy University of Birmingham, England
11:00-11:30 Responder
Willem Van Vliet
Professor and Chair, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado - Boulder
11:30-12:15 Q&A
12:15-1:15 Lunch
1:15-2:15 Panel Discussion 1: Regional Approaches and Spatial Patterns
European Perspectives

Robina Goodlad
Professor and Co-Director, Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice, University of Glasgow

Ronald van Kempen
Professor of Urban Geography and Director of Research, Department of Social Geography and Planning, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

American Perspectives

Myron Orfield
Director, the Metropolitan Area Research Corporation, and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Minnesota

George Galster
Professor of Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Michigan
2:15-2:45 Discussion
3:00-4:00 Panel Discussion 2: Financing and Public-Private Partnerships

European Perspectives

Raymond Young
Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow

Hugo Priemus
Professor of Housing, OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies, Delft University of Technology

American Perspectives

Thomas Bledsoe
President, Housing Partnership Network, Boston, Massachusetts

Rochelle Lento & Margaret Dewar (joint perspective)
Professor Lento is a clinical professor at the University of Michigan Law School and Professor Dewar is the Academic Program Chair and a professor at the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
4:00-4:30 Discussion
4:30-5:00 Wrap-up
6:00 Dinner

Day 2: Saturday, May 10, 2003
Location: International Institute, University of Michigan
Time Description
8:30-9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00-10:30 Emerging Topics
10:45-12:00 Directions for Future Research/Inquiry  | 
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