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This paper, which was the keynote address at a conference on Affordable Housing and Pubic Private Partnerships at the University of Colorado Law School, is designed to point out the conflicts between various competing social “goods” in relation to the provision of affordable housing. In a world of finite resources in which competing goods cannot both be maximized at the same time, when the goods are incommensurable, how ought a society choose among them? The paper focuses on such issues as preservation of affordable housing and wealth creation; affordability and handicapped accessibility or green development. It examines various methods of societal choosing and provides a critique of each such method. It then cautions policy makers to be conscious of these incommensurable goals and to determine how to prioritize them.

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Michael Diamond, Affordable Housing and the Conflict of Competing Goods: A Policy Dilemma in AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (Nestor M. Davidson & Robin Paul Malloy eds., Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate Press 2009)

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