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After the towers: the destruction of public housing and the remaking of Chicago

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This dissertation examines the history of Cabrini-Green through the lens of placemaking. Cabrini-Green was one of the nation's most notorious public housing developments, known for sensational murders of police officers

This dissertation examines the history of Cabrini-Green through the lens of placemaking. Cabrini-Green was one of the nation's most notorious public housing developments, known for sensational murders of police officers and children, and broadcast to the nation as a place to be avoided. Understanding Cabrini-Green as a place also requires appreciation for how residents created and defended their community. These two visions—Cabrini-Green as a primary example of a failed public housing program and architecture and Cabrini-Green as a place people called home—clashed throughout the site's history, but came into focus with its planned demolition in the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation. Demolition and reconstruction of Cabrini-Green was supposed to create a model for public housing renewal in Chicago. But residents feared that this was simply an effort to remove them from valuable land on Chicago's Near North Side and deprive them of new neighborhood improvements. The imminent destruction of the CHA’s high-rises uncovered desires to commemorate the public housing developments like Cabrini-Green and the people who lived there through a variety of public history and public art projects. This dissertation explores place from multiple perspectives including architecture, city planning, neighborhood development, and public and oral history. Understanding how Cabrini-Green became shorthand for failed program design while residents organized and fought to stay in the area provides a glimpse into possible futures of an emerging Chicago neighborhood.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Aging in place or aging and displaced?: a multi-site comparative case study of power, subjectivity, and community resiliency in public housing governance

Description

In an environment in which public values are often surrendered for market ones, the administration of public housing has increasingly devolved construction, management, and even ownership responsibilities to the private

In an environment in which public values are often surrendered for market ones, the administration of public housing has increasingly devolved construction, management, and even ownership responsibilities to the private sector to cut costs. There is little known about private management practices at public housing sites and how they shape the lives of its residents - half of whom are growing numbers of seniors and people with disabilities who are aging in place. This multi-site comparative case study involves three public housing sites that serve seniors and people with disabilities: one is privately-managed, one is publicly-managed, and one is privately-managed with public case management through the HOPE VI program. The intent of this comparison is to determine if there is a difference in management response by sector and whether differences pose a challenge to social equity.

Results indicate that there were social equity failures across all three sites with the private sites experiencing the most barriers for residents. The power-knowledge structure and perceptions of the residents shaped the institutions or staffing, services, policies, and amenities that either empowered the residents by helping them build a cohesive community; or it subjugated them by not offering space for community-building. In response, many residents' actions and beliefs were shaped by these institutions; however, in the face of resistance to management practices, they often exercised power through self-governing to achieve the satisfaction they desired. Recognizing that residents can exercise their own power, community resiliency to support aging in place may be achieved by supporting resident needs and drawing upon their expertise, assistance, and influential power to build stronger housing communities - an option with low costs but great gains. But in order to do so, the power-knowledge structure must be influenced to support this goal. This research describes the governance of public housing and the responses and relationships of both management and residents in these newly created public spaces. It then presents a model that can foster change in resident engagement and network building to support aging in place, and advance social and community resiliency, regardless of sector.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014