Monday, August 11, 2008

Can Public Housing Contribute to City-Wide Economic Development?

You can't talk about redeveloping and revitalizing distressed neighborhoods without talking about affordable housing. And you can't have a serious converation about affordable housing and public housing.

The traditional concept of affordable and public housing was to relegate it to certain sections of the city. The problem is that instead of getting the poor and those in need of public housing out of sight and therefore, out of mind, the problems associated with poverty and economic distress became more visible. The crime rate, poor school test scores and the other issues associated with poverty were concentrated in such a way that they ultimately impact the entire city.

In 1995 a federal court ruled that such practices by the Dallas Housing Authority ultimately forced African-Americans to live in clusters of poor neighborhoods South and West Dallas, and ordered the disbursement of public housing throughout the city to the north.

Is that really the answer? What is the statistical evidence that this actually reduces the pathologies associated with poverty?

Tod Robbins has an excellent article in the Dallas Morning News regarding this issue that should challenge conventional notions of redevelopment and revitalization by those who live North and South. Its not only worth reading, its worth the re-examinations of concepts of community, economic development and how to deal with the pernicious, pervasive problem of concentrated poverty. Take a look. I'd like to know you're response...


Anonymous said...

So, in your opinion, what is the solution? Concentration or dispersion?

Gerald Britt said...

I believe that you can never achieve the type of diversity that makes a city authentic, without significant economic and ethnic diversity