The Right to Housing with Eric Tars

When:  Feb 7, 2022 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (ET)
The Right to Housing with Eric Tars

In 2017, the American Institute of Architects declared access to housing a “fundamental right.” What does the right to housing mean in practice? How can architects contribute? Join Eric Tars, Legal Director for the National Homelessness Law Center, to learn more about the history and potentials for the right to housing in the U.S. Eric will share tips on how to act locally and what to say to legislators.

Adequate housing was recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed by the U.S. The AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community has convened a Right-to-Housing Working Group; we present this online conversation as the first in a series.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Learn about the AIA and peer organizations’ commitment to the right to housing.
  2. Examine opportunities for engagement with housing policy from the federal to the local level.
  3. Explore what the right to housing means in practice in the US.
  4. Discuss how the right to housing can impact and improve architects’ contributions to the public health, safety, and welfare.


Karen Kubey (moderator) is an urbanist specializing in housing and health. She is the editor of Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity (Architectural Design, 2018) and served as the first executive director of the Institute for Public Architecture. Holding degrees in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and the Columbia University Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), Kubey began her career as a designer of below-market housing. Currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Pratt Institute and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP, she was a 2019-20 Faculty Fellow in Design for Spatial Justice at the University of Oregon. She leads the AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community Right-to-Housing Working Group.

Casius Pealer directs the graduate and undergraduate programs in real estate at Tulane University’s School of Architecture. Trained as an architect and an attorney, his professional work focuses on public and affordable housing development, including the environmental and social impacts of development and land use policy. Casius has worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including as the first Director of Affordable Housing for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). He is a former chair of the AIA Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community, and served as a Commissioner and President of the Housing Authority of New Orleans. He is a current board member of Next City and holds degrees from Tulane University and the University of Michigan Law School.

Eric Tars, J.D., serves as the National Homelessness Law Center’s legal director, leading its human rights, civil rights, and children’s rights programs and managing its cutting edge litigation, strategic policy advocacy, and outreach and training initiatives at the international, national, and local levels. Eric helped spearhead the launch of the Law Center’s national Housing Not Handcuffs campaign, has served as counsel of record in multiple precedent-setting cases, including Martin v. Boise in the 9th Circuit, and is frequently quoted in national and local media, including NPR, AP, New York Times, Washington Post, and VICE News.