36th AESOP Annual Congress 2024 Paris, France
“GAME CHANGER? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions”

Combating Housing Discrimination in France and the United States 

 This Roundtable is hosted within Track 11

Organizers :  

  • Nicholas Marantz, University of California, Irvine
  • Paavo Monkkonnen, University of California, Los Angeles 


  • Magda Maaoui, Atelier Parisien d'Urbanisme &Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Ion Maleas, École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Marseille
  • Maryame Amarouche, Université Lyon III Jean Moulin

Both France and the United States have a long-standing commitment to fair housing, albeit with differing approaches and varying degrees of success. In the United States, the cornerstone of fair housing policies is the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which aims to prevent discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, gender, and other protected characteristics. France, on the other hand, focuses on "Droit au Logement" or the "Right to Housing" which emphasizes social housing quotas and rent control. However, both nations face ongoing challenges such as racial segregation, discrimination, and gentrification. French law also operates within the context of the European Union’s equality directives. Topic for discussion include: 

  • The legal mechanisms of the Fair Housing Act, including recent efforts by the Biden Administration and states (such as California) to encourage local governments to alter their land use regulation to promote fair housing.
  • The effectiveness of the Fair Housing Act in curbing discrimination based on race, gender, or socio-economic status.
  • The ongoing systemic issues that still persist despite the Fair Housing Act, such as the discrimination in mortgage lending and racial segregation in specific neighbourhoods.
  • An overview of France's unique housing policy, focusing on social housing quotas and rent control measures. 
  • Examination of how these policies have been implemented across various regions in France.
  • A review of the challenges faced, such as the stigmatization of social housing areas and the practical limitations of rent control.
  • A side-by-side evaluation of the two nations' approaches to fair housing, highlighting the differing legal frameworks, enforcement mechanisms, and community involvement. 

Keywords:  Housing, anti-discrimination law, comparative urban planning