Boston University School of Law

Women's Place: Urban Planning, Housing Design, and Work-Family Balance

Katharine B. Silbaugh

Boston University School of Law Working Paper 07-12


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. I argue that effective work-family balance requires attention to the spatial dimensions of the work-family conflict.

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Suggested Citation:

Katharine Baird Silbaugh, "Women's Place: Urban Planning, Housing Design, and Work-Family Balance," Fordham Law Review, Volume 76, pages xx (200x).

Katharine B. Silbaugh Contact Information

Boston University School of Law

765 Commonwealth Avenue

Boston, MA 02215