Sick City: Disease, Race, Inequality and Urban Land


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Sick City is a call to action prompted by the crisis that crippled our cities, the pandemic. But the pandemic has brought the issues of race, inequality and unaffordability to the forefront as well, illustrating how all of these ills can be traced to unequal access to urban land. Patrick Condon walks the reader through that history, proving that most of these problems are rooted in the inflation of urban land value — land that is no longer priced for its value for housing but as an asset class in a global market hungry for assets of all kinds. The American wage earner who is most affected by COVID is also the worst hit by the surging price of urban land which has made the essential commodity of housing increasingly inaccessible.

Not only does Condon dive deep into myriad and credible references to prove these points, but he also wraps up the conversation with some eminently practical and widely precedented policy actions that municipalities can enact — policy tools to establish housing justice at the same time slow the flow of land value increases into the pockets of land speculators.


Advance praise for Sick City:

“From a history of inequality and race to land policy, zoning, taxation and the pandemic in American metro areas, Professor Condon hits many important nails on the head. He clearly illuminates problems such as the financialization of real estate, especially housing that is painfully unaffordable to too many citizens.”

Doug Kelbaugh
FAIA FCNU, U. of Michigan Dean and Professor
Emeritus, U. of Washington Affiliate Professor


“Over this long career Patrick Condon has continuously broadened the reach of his critique of our patterns of urban development while offering solutions, which he has developed, refined and tested through his dual careers as a practicing professional and university faculty member. In this book he integrates additional aspects of social justice, disease and wealth inequality, into his concept of sustainable urban development. The problems are serious but Condon prescribes remedies that local governments can enact, if they are serious about creating a more justice and sustainable city. I expect this book to become an essential reference for advocacy groups and concerned citizens as well as policy professionals.”

Robert Liberty
Past Executive Director, 1000 Friends of Oregon
Past elected member Portland Metro Council
Chair, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Commission

Weight 1.1 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in
Levellers Press