Squeezed out of the house

Most coursework taught in a classroom setting under the guise of real estate is centered on one of three aspects: appraising, financing, and legal underpinnings. In fact, most of the reports generated around real estate feature these same three topics. The recent sales data is sliced and diced along with market times and the rates offered by the mortgage brokers.

Cornell University proves to be an exception in its course offerings which include a wide range of topics on all aspects of real property. In addition to the oh-so-common Finance and Investment class, there’s a taxation course and one on hospitality real estate finance. There is analysis of transaction and deal structuring, and advanced project management for real estate development. There is an emphasis on flushing out the business side to real property.

But the courses designed to teach the work which happens(ed) in the home has been severed from the neighborhood and become Policy Analysis & Management (PAM). The evolution of the 1920’s department of the Department of Household Management is depicted in the flow chart below. Clearly 1969 was a breaking point from the quaintness of home, a throwing off of the apron in favor of an upwards and onwards momentum to a more distinguished framing.

Cornell University, the History of PAM

Another course offered at Cornell is Urban Economics and Real Estate Markets. The course description reads: “A theoretical understanding of the economic forces affecting urban land market change and development is needed for decision-making in the real estate profession… The two core models at the center of the course are the model of urban spatial structure that stems from the work of Alonso, Muth and Mills…” (Alonso, William (1964) Location and Land Use. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.)

A few years before the functions of health and human services were being detached from the geography of cities and suburbs, Alonso noted that the location of a central business district (CBD) created a spatial relationship within a city which affected real estate. While a model based on jobs and income and the commuting of a workforce was used and developed in the interplay of real estate uses in a city, the jobs of a homemaker in educating and feeding and educating her children found a new home in the Health and Human Services Departments across the nation.

This was unfortunate timing.

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