The Curious Absence of Informal Housing from the Local Political Sphere in Southeast Los Angeles
Presenter: Dr. Jake Wegmann
Informal housing is one of the leading mechanisms by which low-income renters find living space amidst the unforgiving housing market conditions of the Los Angeles region. Yet, unlike many well-studied cases from the Global South, informal housing there is largely absent from media discourse, political campaigns, and policy debates unfolding at the local level. Jake Wegmann draws on recent research in an attempt to unpack this paradox, and along the way highlights some intriguing contrasts between housing informality “LA style” and other well-known cases from around the world. His findings pose challenges to planning and housing policy as currently practiced in California and throughout the United States.
Jake Wegmann is Assistant Professor at the University of Texas School of Architecture. He completed his doctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley in 2014, with a dissertation entitled "'We Just Built It:' Code Enforcement, Local Politics, and the Informal Housing Market in Southeast Los Angeles County." His research lies at the nexus of housing, real estate development, and planning. He has published research on the racialized restructuring of metropolitan space, microhousing infill, and the measurement of affordable rental housing cost efficiency in Urban Geography, Journal of Urbanism, and Housing Policy Debate.