Where have all the towers gone? The dismantling of public housing in U.S. cities

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Public housing authorities (PHAs) across the country are demolishing and selling off public housing units. Although some of the units are being replaced in mixed-income developments, most are not; the subsidies instead are being shifted into household-based vouchers. Thus, in most cases the loss of these units is a permanent reduction in the nation's public housing stock. Demolition efforts are more extensive in some cities than in others. This paper analyzes public housing removal in the largest cities of the United States to explain the pattern of demolitions taking place. The analysis reveals that public housing removal is most prevalent in cities facing gentrification pressures, and in cities in which the management of public housing by the local housing authorities was subpar. Public housing removals are also associated with higher levels of racial segregation and violent crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-287
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


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