USC Price School of Public Policy

William C. Baer

baer1

Emeritus Professor
baer@usc.edu

Expertise
Housing analyst and housing policy analysis, community development, plan evaluation, historic preservation.

Biographical Sketch
Upon retiring from teaching, Dr. Baer initiated a new path in his research, turning away from his earlier writings on twentieth-century housing policy and plans. During the early days of the School’s real estate program formation, Dr. Baer had become interested in learning about the history of speculative real estate development. Initially tracing it back to seventeenth-century London, he found a wealth of housing-related data that historians—untrained in housing analysis and real estate development techniques—did not know how to fully exploit. He began writing articles on London housing matters in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, publishing in academic history journals such as Urban History, Economic History Review, and Business History Review. Expanding the purview of that initial research effort, he began research in the newly emerging field of real estate development history. He is currently working on a book about real estate development entrepreneurs of yesteryear, the forefathers of today’s developers like Rick Caruso and Donald Trump, and the twentieth-century’s Trammell Crow, William Levitt, and William Zeckendorf. The first such real estate entrepreneur, Marcus Licinius Crassus, was in ancient Rome, and one of the First Triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great, Crassus becoming as well the Western world’s first billionaire.

Recent Publications

“Using Housing Quality to Track Changes in the Standard of Living and Poverty for Seventeenth-Century London,” Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, 47, 1 (2014) 1-18.

“The housebuilding sector of London’s economy 1550-1650,” Urban History, 39, 3 (August 2012) 409-30.

“Landlords and tenants in London 1550-1700,” Urban History, 38, 2 (2011) 234-255.

“Stuart London’s standard of living: Re-examining the Settlement of Tithes 1638 for rents, income, and poverty,” Economic History Review, 63, 3 (August, 2010) 612-637.

“The Seven Dials: ‘freak of town-planning’, or simply ahead of its time?” Journal of Urbanism International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 3, 1 (2010) 1-18.

“Is Speculative Building Underappreciated in Urban History?” Urban History, 34, 2 (2007) 296-316.

“Early retailing: London’s shopping exchanges, 1550-1700,” Business History, 49, 1 (2007) pp. 29-51.

“The Institution of Residential Investment in Seventeenth-Century London,” Business History Review, 76, 3 (2002) 515-51.