women, work-family balance, urban planning, housing design, family responsibilities


In the past decade a substantial literature has emerged analyzing the role of work-family conflict in hampering women's economic, social, and civil equality. Many of the issues we routinely discuss as work-family balance problems have distinct spatial dimensions. “Place” is by no means the main factor in work-family balance difficulties, but amongst work-family policy makers it is perhaps the least appreciated. This Article examines the role of urban planning and housing design in frustrating the effective balance of work and family responsibilities. Nothing in the literature on work-family balance reform addresses this aspect of the problem. That literature focuses instead on employer mandates and family law reforms. This Article fills the gap by evaluating the effect of place on work-family balance and the role law plays in creating our challenging geography. The Article argues that effective work-family balance requires attention to the spatial dimensions of the work-family conflict.

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