Does Public Housing Redevelopment Purge the Poorest? with Lawrence Vale
This event will be livestreamed on the CED Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/452655998
Presented by the Department of City and Regional Planning
Lecture | November 12 | 5:30 - 7:00 PM
Free and open to the Public!
Since the early 1990s, hundreds of American public housing projects have been redeveloped into mixed-income communities, mostly under the auspices of the federal HOPE VI program. The stated intent has been to reduce “concentrated poverty” and to encourage renewed neighborhood investment. Yet much of HOPE VI has operated in gentrifying neighborhoods, leading to charges that the program has facilitated a land grab by private developers. In many instances--including projects in Chicago, Atlanta, and New Orleans--this has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of extremely low-income households being accommodated in well-located neighborhoods that now attract increased market interest. The result has been a kind of purging of the poorest that paralleled what happened during the mid 20th-century when public housing was first built to replace urban ‘slums’. Now, though, it is public housing itself that is seen as the ‘slum’ that needed to be removed. In other HOPE VI cases such as San Francisco, Boston, and Tucson, however, city leaders have worked with not-for-profit organizations, residents, and others to redevelop public housing more equitably. This presentation, drawing upon a new book, After the Projects (2019), examines the divergent constellations of governance that help explain how and why the same federal program has had such divergent outcomes.
ABOUT LAWRENCE VALE
Associate Dean Lawrence Vale is Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at MIT, where he served as Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 2002 until January 2009. He has taught in the MIT School of Architecture and Planning since 1988, and he is currently the director of the Resilient Cities Housing Initiative (RCHI), a unit of the School’s Center for Advanced Urbanism. He was president of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History for 2011-2013. Vale holds degrees from Amherst College (B.A. in American Studies, summa cum laude), M.I.T. (S.M.Arch.S.), and the University of Oxford (D.Phil.), which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author or editor of eleven books examining urban design, housing and planning.
At MIT, he has won the Institute’s highest award for teaching (MacVicar Faculty Fellowship), and the Institute's highest award for graduate student advising (Frank Perkins Award), as well as multiple departmental awards for advising and service to students.