A University of California-Los Angeles professor made her views on climate change public in a recent op-ed, questioning American private homeownership in response to climate change, particularly California’s forest fires.
Professor Kian Goah, assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA, whose expertise includes urban ecological design, spatial politics, and social mobilization in the issues of climate change and global urbanization, argued in an op-ed for The Nation that what makes the California forest fires even worse is urban planning.
Its subtitle reads, “if we want to keep cities safe in the face of climate change, we need to seriously question the ideal of private homeownership.”
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“Yes, climate change intensifies the fires—but the ways in which we plan and develop our cities makes them even more destructive. The growth of urban regions in the second half of the 20th century has been dominated by economic development, aspirations of homeownership, and belief in the importance of private property,” she writes.
Goah compared two ideas of thought: The American tradition of private property ownership and the collective property theories. She suggesting the cause of the issue is private homeownership and advocated for “more collective” cities.
Some examples she cited for public housing were put in practice by Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Bernie Sanders. Another solution would be cooperative housing, and community land trusts.
She argues that public housing would put more power into the federal government as opposed to the “Jeffersonian agrarian ideal.” The “Jeffersonian agrarian ideal”, cheap energy, and individual property “have created the scorching landscapes we see today.”
Goah concluded with how one should seriously question the American Dream with obtaining private property in the face of modern issues.
“The ideals of the American Dream that have been instilled for more than 150 years will be difficult to dispel. Those deals have blinded us to other possibilities…We need another kind of escape route—away from our ideologies of ownership and property, and toward more collective, healthy, and just cities.”
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