Sunbelt Blues: Failure of American Housing

Andrew Ross. Metropolitan, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-80422-8
In this dismaying and deeply reported follow-up to The Celebration Chronicles, Ross, a professor of social and cultural analysis at NYU, returns to Florida’s Osceola County and discovers a region beset by “breakneck growth, hands-off regulation, depressed wages, and real estate speculation.” Noting that Osceola County has “the least amount of affordable low-income housing per capita” in the U.S., Ross explains how the 2008 mortgage crisis led to commercial and private properties across the Sunbelt region falling into the hands of private equity firms that have jacked-up rents and housing prices. Though Disney World attracts some 75 million annual visitors to central Florida, the region’s median wage is lower than any other tourist destination in the U.S., according to Ross. Profiles of service industry workers, Disney employees laid off by the Covid-19 pandemic, immigrants, hustlers, and others who live in seedy motels and homeless encampments along the Route 192 corridor just south of Disney World put a human face on the economic, social, and political forces Ross explores, and he draws on the European model of “social housing” to offer reasonable solutions to the problem. The result is a vital portrait of the dark side of the Sunshine State. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/04/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-1-250-80423-5
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