Alex Schafran

Alex Schafran

Over the past two decades, my writing has focused on housing, racial (re)segregation, and the broader politics of urbanization. Rooted in California, my work ranges from historical analysis of vexing problems to new ways of thinking about economics and housing policy. You can get in touch with me at schafran[at]

My books

Chronicling more than a half century of Northern California history, The Road to Resegregation is the first book to examine the region’s housing crisis comprehensively. Learn More

Housing. Water. Energy. Transport. Food. Education. Health care. The spatial contract is about ensuring these systems are built, maintained and available to all who need them, in big cities and small towns all around the world. Learn More

Where We Go From Here: My Substack

After a few years of writing very little for public consumption, I’ve launched a Substack newsletter called Where We Go From Here. The California Housing section has wonkish posts aimed at California housing leaders, organizations, and activists. For 2022, I’m primarily focusing on my wish list of big housing ideas that I started with, which…

From Sanford to Ferguson

The tragic deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, two unarmed black teenagers, in Sanford, Florida, and Ferguson, Missouri, helped launch protests across the United States over police violence in African American communities. These two suburban communities were, however, more than just the backdrops to shootings and subsequent uprisings; they were central to the events…


When the foreclosure crisis hit in 2007/8, I was just beginning my field work in eastern Contra Costa county. Over the next year, I began to see all manner of articles in supposedly respectable newspapers and magazines by relatively well-known writers all doing the same thing: describing suburbs with the negative terminology previous generations of…


When I arrived in the UK, it was hard to ignore how surprised people were that I would come from sunny California to the North of England. What would usually follow is a conversation about where they were from, which would inevitably end up at some discussion of what city or village or part of…

Renting Single Family Homes

Do you know the fastest growing housing tenure in the United States? Renting single-family homes. More and more families, especially those with children, now live in the type of lower-density, often suburban houses we associate with homeownership. More children live in these types of homes than any other. These homes can be a great source…

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