Synopses & Reviews
The building and management of public housing is often seen as a signal failure of American public policy, but this is a vastly oversimplified view. Inand#160;Purging the Poorest
, Lawrence J. Vale offers a new narrative of the seventy-five-year struggle to house the andldquo;deserving poor.andrdquo;
In the 1930s, two iconic American cities, Atlanta and Chicago, demolished their slums and established some of this countryandrsquo;s first public housing. Six decades later, these same cities also led the way in clearing public housing itself. Valeandrsquo;s groundbreaking history of these andldquo;twice-clearedandrdquo; communities provides unprecedented detail about the development, decline, and redevelopment of two of Americaandrsquo;s most famous housing projects: Chicagoandrsquo;s Cabrini-Green and Atlantaandrsquo;s Techwood /Clark Howell Homes. Vale offers the novel concept ofand#160;design politicsand#160;to show how issues of architecture and urbanism are intimately bound up in thinking about policy. Drawing from extensive archival research and in-depth interviews, Vale recalibrates the larger cultural role of public housing, revalues the contributions of public housing residents, and reconsiders the role of design and designers.
andldquo;Purging the Poorest advances a fresh and convincing periodization of the history of American public housing that illuminates clear patterns in the programandrsquo;s convoluted past. Lawrence J. Valeandrsquo;s treatment of this subject is the most original and significant I have read.andrdquo;
andldquo;This is an exceptional work of original scholarship that will appeal to a wide range of historians, sociologists, political scientists, city planners, and affordable housing advocates. Its topicandmdash;public housing and its redevelopment in the past and presentandmdash;examines one of the most contentious urban policies to emerge from the New Deal. Striking, thoughtful, and convincing, Valeandrsquo;s account makes for engaging reading that is constantly relevant to current debates.andrdquo;
"The beauty of Mr. Vale's book is that as a scrupulous scholar he lays out his two case studies with all the careful detail you as a reader need to judge his conclusions."
"Producing a thoroughly researched, well-written volume, Vale has contributed an eloquent history to the literature on US public housing."
About the Author
Lawrence J. Vale is the Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at MIT. His many books include three prize-winning volumes: Architecture, Power, and National Identity; From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors;and Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. Public Housing, Design Politics, and Twice-Cleared Communities
2. Public Housing and Private Initiative: Developing Atlantaand#8217;s Techwood and Clark Howell Homes
3. Redeveloping Techwood and Clark Howell: The Purges of Progress
4. Up from Little Hell: Developing Chicagoand#8217;s Frances Cabrini Homes
5. Urban Renewal and the Rise of Cabrini-Green
6. Staving Off Collapse: Mediated Violence and the Beginning of Cabriniand#8217;s End
7. Bringing the Gold Coast to the Slum: Cabrini-Greenand#8217;s Redevelopment and the Litigation of Inclusion
8. Conclusion: Public Housing and the Margins of Empathy