Desegregation in 3d: Displacement, dispersal and development in American public housing

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Housing policy in the United States now serves an agenda defined by concerns over economic and racial segregation in older central city neighborhoods. HOPE VI, the main US initiative in this area, is aimed at the large-scale demolition of public housing projects and their replacement by smaller-scale, mixed-income developments. The logic model behind the effort to redevelop public housing and disperse subsidized housing residents anticipates benefits at both the individual and community level. Individuals are expected to progress in a range of economic, social and physical ways when freed of the negative area effects associated with high levels of income and racial segregation. Communities are expected to become more livable when rid of dysfunctional and outmoded public housing estates and their discouraging influence on private investment patterns. This paper examines the strengths and weaknesses of this model, assessing, in the process, the potential for achieving the policy goals set out by those advocating dispersal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-158
Number of pages22
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010


  • Housing dispersal
  • Social housing
  • Urban regeneration


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