Transforming Chicago’s Public Housing
This chapter examines how the transformation of public housing leads to neighborhood change by focusing on two Chicago neighborhoods: Cabrini Green on the Lower North Side and Lakefront Properties on the South Side. More specifically, it considers how each neighborhood was transformed over decades into a space of flexible accumulation in which to build new mixed-income communities. It first reviews the U.S. housing policy that made transformation necessary and goes on to show how policy implementation controlled to some extent the market forces that normally shape the cycles of creative destruction over time, while also making accumulation and commodification more surgical and calculating in the two neighborhoods. It also demonstrates how social science research in combination with public policy and market mechanisms can result in the gentrification of the public housing ghetto. It argues that public housing residents—the presumed beneficiaries—can be contained and diminished in both the physical and social space of Chicago.
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