Stealing Home: Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal, and the Loss of Community

As an economics teacher, housing is a subject that tends to come up as we talk about the role of government in the macroeconomic section and in particular the topic of eminent domain. Because our text gives only a short bit on the concepts and are generally pro-government/capitalism, I search out a few materials to help fill out the entire story.

I liked the lesson by Linda Christensen because many of my students in northwestern Arizona have some tie to California and many are baseball fans and the article discusses the building of Dodger Stadium. Or actually more importantly, how eminent domain is often used in a way I think most people recognize as prejudiced. The first hand accounts and the variety of resources (many of which can be found online) help to paint a more complete picture of how these generally “good” public works projects are far more complicated then they seem at first.

In particular I like the literary elements like the poems that really add not just a human element but also the art and opportunity for students to examine and delve deeper than just the words on a page. It keeps this from being a basic academic/philosophical issue and shows the effect that is had on human lives.