Initiative on Land, Housing and Property Rights

Initiative on Land, Housing & Property Rights

The Initiative on Land, Housing & Property Rights (ILHPR) seeks to preserve and expand property rights for disadvantaged communities across the United States by producing research, devising legal reform and policy solutions, engaging in community outreach, training law students, and drawing on other complementary strategies. The Initiative encompasses a wide range of matters, including but not limited to rural land loss among socially and economically disadvantaged families; the past and present of the destabilization of urban neighborhoods due to redlining, urban renewal, and rising markets; the role of law and policy in ameliorating housing inequality and housing insecurity; and the issues rural and urban so-called heirs’ property owners face in retaining their properties and realizing the potential of their ownership. The communities the Initiative seeks to assist are disproportionately but not exclusively communities of color. By helping communities of color preserve and expand their property rights, the Initiative seeks to help narrow the racial wealth gap. The initiative also strives to reform or create laws and policies to increase property and housing access, efficiency, and equity.

Professor Thomas W. Mitchell serves as the ILHPR Director. David Price serves as the Special Projects Manager. Professor Lisa T. Alexander serves as the Faculty Director for Housing and Property Rights Programs. The program encompasses four pillars of work:

Contact The Team


David Price
Special Projects Manager

Samantha Ghelli
Administrative Assistant


BC Law graduate working

Thomas W. Mitchell

Robert Drinan, S.J., Professor


Heirs' Property and the Racial Wealth Gap Conference
March 21 & 22, 2024 | 300 Hammond Pond Parkway - Boston College


Property in the form of homes and land represents the cornerstone of wealth for Black and brown communities. Too often, this ownership is unstable, second-class, so-called 'heirs property' ownership, which has exacerbated the racial wealth gap. This conference discussed a wide range of rural and urban heirs' property problems, including owners who lack clear title (tangled title), and addressed proposed solutions, including the widely enacted Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act.

Includes a screening of the award-winning major documentary 'Gaining Ground: The Fight for Black Land' by Al Roker Entertainment.



2023 Conference: Land Loss, Reparations & Housing Policy
March 23: Harvard Law School | March 24: Boston College Law School


Black farm families lost at least $326 billion in generational wealth. Urban families lost stable housing. Learn about potential solutions.

Keynote: Speaker: George C. Fatheree III, attorney in Bruce's Beach case 


Dan Kanstroom


Founder & Director

Thomas W. Mitchell holds the Robert F. Drinan, S.J. Endowed Chair at BC Law and serves as the Director of the Initiative on Land, Housing & Property Rights, which seeks to help disadvantaged people and communities acquire and secure important property rights. Prior to joining Boston College in 2022, he served as a tenured professor on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin Law School (2000-2016) and Texas A&M University School of Law (2016-2022). In 2017-2018, he served as interim Dean of Texas A&M School of Law. 

Professor Mitchell is a national expert on property issues facing disadvantaged families and communities, and has published leading scholarly works addressing these matters in academic journals, government publications, and publications for trade associations such as the American Bar Association. He has been interviewed by numerous media outlets including the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, ProPublica, The Nation, Politico, Mother Jones, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, VICE, and many more. 

Elisabeth Medvedow


Faculty Director, Housing and Property Rights Programs

Lisa Alexander's scholarship focuses on U.S. housing law and policy, and the law’s role in making housing markets more efficient and more equitable. She has conducted extensive research in legal and extra-legal rights to property, housing, and urban space, most recently including the study of tiny houses. Her scholarship and teaching illuminate the challenges of equitably allocating housing rights and opportunities, and provide insights to policymakers on how to reimagine housing options and property rights for today’s world. She teaches corporations, housing law and policy, and local government law at Boston College Law School.

Alexander received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her J.D. from Columbia University. She was a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School from 2006 to 2017 before moving to Texas A&M University School of Law. At Texas A&M, she held a joint appointment as a professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. She was also Co-Founder and Co-Director of Texas A&M’s Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law, programming that she will continue at Boston College Law School. 

Elisabeth Medvedow


Special Projects Manager

David Price is the Special Projects Manager for the Initiative on Land, Housing & Property Rights at Boston College Law School. In this role he manages these program components, which collectively help advance community development, estate planning, and property rights defense on behalf of disadvantaged communities:

  • A community legal education program, the Homeownership Estate Planning Project;
  • The Real Estate and Community Development Law degree concentration; 
  • Creating opportunities for law student internships and externships in the community development, estate planning, and real property fields. 

Prior to joining BC Law, David worked for 27 years helping build strong local development organizations in Boston, including most recently over thirteen years as the Executive Director of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, where he departed in 2022. Two transformative developments are Bartlett Station in Roxbury’s Nubian Square and The Loop at Mattapan Station. At Nuestra he co-founded Homes for Equity, a research and advocacy coalition dedicated to the adoption of race-conscious homeownership policies to counter redlining and other forms of institutional racism. 

Prior to joining Nuestra, David served as Deputy Director and General Counsel for Madison Park Development Corporation and as Executive Director for Tent City Corporation. David’s community organizing experience began as a volunteer with Mel King’s campaigns for Mayor of Boston in 1979 and 1983.

David is a graduate of Harvard College (1977) and Boston College Law School (1991).  He clerked for Hon. Francis O’Connor at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and was a real estate attorney at Goulston & Storrs in Boston prior to joining the community development field.

Elisabeth Medvedow


Administrative Assistant

Samantha Ghelli serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Initiative on Land, Housing & Property Rights. She is an alumna of Louisiana State University (2022), where she studied International Law & Politics alongside Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies. 

Prior to her work with Boston College Law School, Samantha worked in industrial agriculture production. Please send all inquiries to the email or phone number listed to the left. 


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