Metabolic Studio Public Salon
Aaron Chappell & Juan de Lara
Friday, November 6, 2009 @ Noon
Free Admission

Building the American Dream in the Inland Empire

About The Salon
During the most recent real estate boom, local boosters produced new cognitive maps of Southern California’s Inland Empire to show that the good life was possible in ‘cow country’ and a booming higher-end housing market created new business opportunities for upscale retail companies that had typically ignored the Inland Empire.

The ideal house – an embodiment of the American Dream - came to represent a lifestyle of luxury that homebuilders and marketers drew upon to stimulate conspicuous consumption. But much of the shopping that drove the local economy was underwritten by the same financing schemes that ultimately doomed the housing sector. The housing crash of 2007-2008 revealed that narratives about the good life didn't match financial reality for the majority of Inland Empire residents.

Considering the ways in which the relationship between finance, consumption, and housing significantly shaped the Inland Empire, Juan de Lara and Aaron Chappell will present a brief history of land, housing, and boom/bust real estate cycles and discuss current organizing efforts to reshape the social, economic, and physical landscape in that area.

Juan de Lara is a PhD candidate at UC-Berkeley studying the political geography of the Inland Empire. (LIUNA Homebuilding Campaign)

Aaron Chappell is a political and community organizer for the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) on their Quality for All campaign, which is uniting the workers who build homes with the residents who buy new homes to create good jobs, sustainable communities and a stronger regional economy here in the Inland Empire. Aaron has over ten years of experience in the labor movement.

Further Information: Quality for All

Image courtesy: Douglas McCulloh, from Dream Street

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