By Sudhir Venkatesh, William Julius Wilson
High-rise public housing advancements have been signature good points of the post–World struggle II urban. A hopeful test in delivering transitority, low-cost housing for all americans, the "projects" quickly turned synonymous with the black city negative, with isolation and overcrowding, with medications, gang violence, and forget. 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 bothered legacy. in response to approximately a decade of fieldwork in Chicago's Robert Taylor houses, American venture is the 1st complete tale of lifestyle in an American public housing complicated. Venkatesh attracts on his relationships with tenants, gang participants, law enforcement officials, and native companies to provide an intimate portrait of an inner-city group that newshounds and the general public have simply considered from a distance. difficult the traditional idea of public housing as a failure, this startling booklet re-creates tenants' thirty-year attempt to construct a secure and safe local: their political battles for prone from an detached urban paperwork, 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 venture explores the basic query of what makes a neighborhood attainable. In his chronicle of tenants' political and private struggles to create an honest position to dwell, Venkatesh brings us to the center of the topic. (20010114)
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Extra info for American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto
Planners who designed the larger CHA developments assumed that the presence of open areas would lead to usable public Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College 2 4 A M E R I C A N P R O J E C T Co py space, a design error that they would remedy after building Robert Taylor. One resident laughed as she described the wait to use a swing set in the 1960s: “I’d have this ice cream cone in my hand, you know, that I’d bought from the ice cream man, and I wanted to wait till I got on the merry-go-round to eat it.
Indeed, the evidence of a strong or weak Building Council president could be seen in the uneven levels of maintenance and landscaping among buildings: “People was destroying the place, true,” Harris recalled, “but like me, I could make sure things was ~xed, and so me and Ms. ” Speaking to the differences, Paulina Collins, who lived in several buildings during the 1960s, argued: We here [at the 205 building] have always been kinda funny, you know, kinda different than 210 or 218 . . We had Ms. Walton [a Building Council president] ~ghting for us for thirty years now.
38 On the individual level, some people participated actively in tenant discussion groups, and their move to advocacy and direct lobbying was a natural next step. Local activism was even less of a tran- Co py sition for those who participated in broader collective struggles such as voter-registration drives or Black Panther Party activities. Collectively, some groups turned into quasi-block clubs that lobbied the CHA for funds to sponsor social activities, while others addressed more heated issues such as the harassment of tenants by security of~cers.
American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto by Sudhir Venkatesh, William Julius Wilson