Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation

University of Chicago Press
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For many years Chicago’s looming large-scale housing projects defined the city, and their demolition and redevelopment—via the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation—has been perhaps the most startling change in the city’s urban landscape in the last twenty years. The Plan, which reflects a broader policy effort to remake public housing in cities across the country, seeks to deconcentrate poverty by transforming high-poverty public housing complexes into mixed-income developments and thereby integrating once-isolated public housing residents into the social and economic fabric of the city. But is the Plan an ambitious example of urban regeneration or a not-so-veiled effort at gentrification?

In the most thorough examination of mixed-income public housing redevelopment to date, Robert J. Chaskin and Mark L. Joseph draw on five years of field research, in-depth interviews, and volumes of data to demonstrate that while considerable progress has been made in transforming the complexes physically, the integrationist goals of the policy have not been met. They provide a highly textured investigation into what it takes to design, finance, build, and populate a mixed-income development, and they illuminate the many challenges and limitations of the policy as a solution to urban poverty. Timely and relevant, Chaskin and Joseph’s findings raise concerns about the increased privatization of housing for the poor while providing a wide range of recommendations for a better way forward.
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About the author

Robert J. Chaskin is professor and deputy dean at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and director of the University of Chicago Urban Network. He is the author or editor of several books, including, most recently, Youth Gangs and Community Intervention. Mark L. Joseph is associate professor in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and director of the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities. He is coauthor of Voices from the Field: Learning from Comprehensive Community Initiatives.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Nov 13, 2015
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Pages
344
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ISBN
9780226303901
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / United States / 20th Century
History / United States / State & Local / Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book focuses on a gap in current social work practice theory: community change. Much work in this area of macro practice, particularly around "grassroots" community organizing, has a somewhat dated feel to it, is highly ideological in orientation, or suffers from superficiality, particularly in the area of theory and practical application. Set against the context of an often narrowly constructed "clinical" emphasis on practice education, coupled with social work's own current rendering of "scientific management," community practice often takes second or third billing in many professional curricula despite its deep roots in the overall field of social welfare.

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Building Community Capacity takes a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to a subject of wide and current concern: the role of neighborhood and community structures in the delivery of human services or, as the authors put it, "a place where programs and problems can be fitted together." Social work scholars and students of community practice seeking new conceptual frameworks and insights from research to inform novel community interventions will find much of value in Building Community Capacity.

Across the social welfare and human services fields, interest is growing in how to apply research to influence policy and practice; simultaneously, with globalization's advance, it is clearer than ever that an international perspective is vital in understanding how social, political, and institutional contexts affect research and dissemination practices. This volume, with contributions from an array of eminent researchers and practitioners, provides valuable insight into effective research practice and the factors involved in putting research findings to use. Leading with experience - narratives of six child welfare case studies from the UK, Ireland, Israel, South Africa, and the US - the book frames those cases in the context of relevant literatures to build up a cross-case analysis that distills lessons, throws enduring questions into relief, and lays a foundation for informing future practice. It mines the cross-national experience to develop perspective for a better understanding of the importance of different policy and cultural environments, while nonetheless emphasizing issues that are applicable across borders. The ground prepared by the case studies allows the volume to tease out themes and lessons, placing the empirical findings against relevant theoretical frameworks and developing guidelines for improving research practice in this arena. Researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and advocates concerned with promoting effective policy and practice will find this book a vital aid in understanding how to apply knowledge to the real world and bring about in ways that can inform and contribute to social change.
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