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Paavo is one of the best professors I have ever had at UCLA. He is super smart (and you can actually feel that through his teaching) and very approachable. Unfortunately, his office hours were full almost all the time (so you need to book in advance to get a slot to talk to him). But he is super helpful if you reach out, and I recommend dropping in his office hours at least once if you take this class.
In terms of contents, I admitted that they were so much (and maybe too much) to be covered in ten weeks. We covered case studies from more than ten countries in different lessons from housing subsidy, finance, infrastructure, urban upgrading. You may struggle in the first few weeks, and everyone will do because the topics would be totally new to you. The readings were very dense, but I think they were beneficial if you got to read them. The videos, especially the professor's interview and Housing podcasts (by Luskin), were very cool and helpful for understanding. The lecture summarized the key concepts for each country that you need to know, and I think Paavo did a great job of having engaging lectures in this class.
For workload, the class is definitely not a light class. There are a 15-page lengthy policy memo that you can do individually or with a partner, the revised version of that memo, and an 800-word editorial piece. You get to write a policy memo about an aspect of another country's housing policy (apart from the U.S.). The op-ed is the way to present your argument on how to adapt another country's housing policy in the U.S. For me, the writing assignments, especially the memo, were super long and took a lot of time. They were very challenging, but I had learned a lot from writing them. There is one reading presentation that you do in a group to present in a different module (need to do only once). The final exam was in-person, but the questions asked about core concepts in the class, so I think you should be fine if you study. He gave us the lists of questions beforehand, and he picked written exams based on those questions.
Overall, I would recommend this class. This is one of the most favorite classes I have ever taken so far. The workload for this class is definitely not the lightest, but I'm sure you will gain something so valuable. The contents and professor were super cool. You can really see that Paavo put a lot of effort to structure this class from scratch because there is no such textbook that would comprehensively cover all the contents in this class for sure, so definitely worth taking this!
While I was not super enthused while taking this class, in hindsight, I really enjoyed it and having Paavo as an instructor. He’s really chill, funny, and easy to talk to. His class is very informative, and you learn about essentially every major facet of housing policy there is to know, with one or two case studies from other countries per module. The biggest con of the class is that the workload is way too heavy for a four unit elective, and the amount of content that’s covered in 10 weeks can be a lot. Between supplementary readings and videos, quizzes, a 15 page policy memo, op-ed assignment, two presentations within the discussion section (one group and one individual), and a closed note final exam, you will spend a lot of time on this class - and if you aren’t crazy about housing policy, it will be a pain. That said, I feel like I learned a lot and gained an appreciation for a field that I had little knowledge of beforehand. Paavo is a good teacher, and receptive to feedback, so assuming he tapers back the workload a bit this class is a great elective and I’d recommend it.
This class is OVERKILL for an elective course to say the least. He assigns like 10 readings a week plus additional videos, podcasts to watch and the canvas page alone will give you an anxiety attack. You have to write a 15 page policy memo on a country's housing policy and figure out how to create solutions for it. My partner and I worked very hard on this paper and did not get the grade we deserved. When we brought it up to our TA he stated that he may have graded to harsh on a couple students and did not do anything about it. The workload of this course is simply not worth your time or mental state. Unless you plan to be Mother Theresa and singlehandedly solve all of the world's housing crises take literally ANY other class. Save yourself.