In st louis as eugene meehan has shown authorities

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Unformatted text preview: sing the number of apartments in high-rise complexes. In St. Louis, as Eugene Meehan has shown, authorities called for small apartments when the low-income demand was for large ones. To make matters worse, landholders, contractors, and unions progressively inflated their charges in every large project. Caught between stingy federal unit cost ceilings and skyrocketing project costs, the authorities skimped, eliminating such basic construction and safety elements as insulation for heating pipes (Meehan 1975, 1979). The open spaces evolved into dangerous no-man’s-lands. At Pruitt-Igoe, vandalism and crime made a mockery of Yamasaki’s galleries and other aesthetic pretensions. In 1965 the project, which by then had a significant number of vacant apartments, was deemed a failure, and the federal government initiated a $7 million rescue effort. Yet as late as 1966 the Chicago Housing Authority insisted, over the objections of federal housing officials, on building 22- and 16-story towers at the Raymond High Ambitions: American Low-Income Housing Policy 435 Figure 5. Bird’s-Eye View of Robert Taylor Homes, Chicago, IL, Shaw, Metz, and Associates, Architects Source: Photograph by Bill Engdahl. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society. Hilliard Center (Architectural Forum 1966; Bailey 1965; Bowly 1978). Social problems also plagued the public housing program. In the 1930s, the clientele for public housing was working-class families who had adjusted to city life and were seldom recent immigrants. After the war, the constituency for public housing became lower-class rural migrants from the South and Puerto Rico, many of whom were uneducated and had little experience with the city and its institutions. Much to the dismay of local public housing authorities, in the late 1940s conservatives in Congress and the federal housing authority pushed through a federal policy of evicting families whose income exceeded poverty-level ceilings. The enforcement of income limits excluded many stable and upwardly mobile tenants. To make matters worse, housing acts of the 1950s forced the admission into public housing of people who had been uprooted by urban renewal and highway projects. Some of those families were plagued with 436 Alexander von Hoffman problems of instability, violence, and alcoholism (Friedman 1968; Gelfand 1975; Wood 1982). At the same time, officials attempting to integrate existing public housing or locate new projects in outlying neighborhoods encountered stiff, sometimes violent, resistance. In response, housing authorities chose to situate most family projects in the slums. Public housing became associated with the inner city, impoverished dependency, African Americans, and crime. The design of projects as separate environments—a legacy of the idealism of the 1930s—and the monumental institution-like quality of the high-rise developments underscored the role of public housing developments as stigmatized warehouses for the poor (Hirsch 1983). In the 1960...
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This note was uploaded on 12/30/2010 for the course USP 1 taught by Professor Shragge during the Fall '08 term at UCSD.

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