American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto by Sudhir Venkatesh, William Julius Wilson

By Sudhir Venkatesh, William Julius Wilson

High-rise public housing advancements have been signature positive factors of the post–World warfare II urban. A hopeful scan in delivering transitority, low-cost housing for all american citizens, the "projects" quickly turned synonymous with the black city negative, with isolation and overcrowding, with medicines, gang violence, and overlook. because the wrecking ball brings down a few of these concrete monoliths, Sudhir Venkatesh seeks to reexamine public housing from the interior out, and to salvage its stricken legacy. according to approximately a decade of fieldwork in Chicago's Robert Taylor houses, American undertaking is the 1st accomplished tale of way of life in an American public housing advanced. Venkatesh attracts on his relationships with tenants, gang participants, law enforcement officials, and native companies to supply an intimate portrait of an inner-city neighborhood that reporters and the general public have simply seen from a distance. demanding the normal proposal of public housing as a failure, this startling ebook re-creates tenants' thirty-year attempt to construct a secure and safe local: their political battles for companies from an detached urban forms, their day-by-day war of words with entrenched poverty, their painful judgements approximately no matter if to paintings with or opposed to the road gangs whose drug dealing either sustained and imperiled their lives. American undertaking explores the basic query of what makes a group workable. In his chronicle of tenants' political and private struggles to create an honest position to stay, Venkatesh brings us to the guts of the topic. (20010114)

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They expressed their differences most often through the council of~cers in Ex a their buildings. In this manner, tenants’ attachment to their buildings was strengthened not only by pleasurable activities such as _ower planting or picnics but also by using their available representation—the Building Council—to send complaints to, acquire information from, and resolve con_icts with the many government agencies that administered their building. The term “social space,” coined by Henri Lefebvre, captures the interactive relationship of individuals to their built environment.

Indeed, there were only signs of life and vitality: throngs of children climbed on new playground equipment, men and women colonized parking lots and alleyways with music and festivities, and softball and basketball games ~lled the park areas. The neighboring Greater Grand Boulevard ghetto was lined with abandoned and burned structures and garbage-strewn streets, but Robert Taylor’s bright high-rises and well-maintained grounds did not bear the mark of municipal neglect. The Housing Authority inundated tenants with mailings and communiqués that promised construction of parks, playgrounds, schools, free dental clinics, and recreational centers.

17 “A Giant Black Playground” m A variety of families moved into the new apartments of the Robert Taylor Homes. There were single women, but more common were two-parent households with children, and in some cases three and four generations of kin. 18 Almost one-half of households received some form of public housing assistance, but nearly a third of these consisted of two parents (both unemployed). 3 minors. ”19 Ex a The newness of the housing development stood in marked contrast to the squalor of the surrounding Greater Grand Boulevard community in the city’s South Side.

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