Ethics@Noon: Thilo Schaefer

Ethics at Noon

Theorizing Densification: Balancing Self-Determination and Exclusion in the Housing Market

Facing increasingly severe housing shortages, cities like San Francisco and Toronto are struggling to balance the need for more housing against the desires of current residents to maintain neighbourhood stability. Normative scholarship examining these conflicting considerations tends to focus on gentrification and the harms of residential displacement. This paper draws upon utopian theory to frame this challenge in terms of the tension between the utopias of the self-regulating free market and the self-determining community. A revised version of Nozick’s “framework for utopia” that takes into account the egalitarian critique is then developed. This revised framework establishes that communities should be able to exercise substantial self-determination over density regulations with compensation paid to offset the externalities resulting from any restrictions imposed. This approach could be extended to other issue areas where the exercise of community self-determination has harmful exclusionary consequences, such as immigration policy.

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Thilo Schaefer
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
Doctoral Fellow

Wed, Feb 27, 2019
12:30 PM - 02:00 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin