Instead many housers believe that they can address

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Unformatted text preview: ast public housing program or avant-garde architecture and urban design. Instead many housers believe that they can address the problems of the poor by placing them in economically and ethnically heterogeneous residential areas. Mixed-income tenancy, for example, is now seen as a road to uplifting the poor. In its more moderate form, this argument makes a great deal of sense. The departure of stable workingand middle-class households from areas where low-income people live has deprived the poor not only of role models but also of churches and other organizations that promote the order and values necessary to a healthy community (Wilson 1987). To combine the residences of the poor with those of somewhat better-off households, housing advocates and officials have called for removing the maximum limits to income in housing projects and setting aside units for varying income levels in low-income housing projects (for example, see Spence 1993). These are practical policies that have helped to counteract the effects of population shifts in recent years. But the more extreme versions of mixed-income housing call for combining elements of the population that differ radically in class and ethnicity. Like the earlier enthusiasms for policies related to the public housing program, the arguments for this policy are vague about precisely how the poor will benefit from living next to wealthy neighbors with whom they have little in common (Mulroy 1991). The virtue of recent urban housing developments that combine luxury market units with low-income units (Tent City, a project completed in 1988 in Boston’s South End, is one example) is that they provide poor families with good homes they would not otherwise have. By itself, however, the mixing of extremely diverse income groups does not solve any social problem other than that of housing. Similarly, the policy of scattering the sites of low-income housing across the city aims at uplifting the poor through contact with the financially better-off. Although a great improvement on the policies that concentrated masses of single-parent families on relief, this program often attracts adventurous and upwardly mobile families who probably would persevere in any case. In addition, scattered sites of low-income public housing can be 440 Alexander von Hoffman developed only in small numbers and, according to Fuerst (1985), are more expensive than centralized projects to maintain and provide with social services. The most impractical and therefore perilous version of contemporary environmental determinism is the policy of aggressively dispersing low-income families into middle- and upper-income suburbs. That policy is based on the idea that thriving suburban locales will impart superior schooling and employment to the poor who are moved there. Pioneered as the Gautreaux program in the city of Chicago, the dispersal policy originated as a civil rights, not a housing, initiative. A court order devised the Gautreaux program as a remedy to the patterns o...
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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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