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From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors
     

From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors

by Lawrence J. Vale
 

ISBN-10: 067402575X

ISBN-13: 9780674025752

Pub. Date: 09/30/2007

Publisher: Harvard

From the almshouses of seventeenth-century Puritans to the massive housing projects of the mid-twentieth century, the struggle over housing assistance in the United States has exposed a deep-seated ambivalence about the place of the urban poor. Lawrence J. Vale's groundbreaking book is both a comprehensive institutional history of public housing in Boston and a

Overview

From the almshouses of seventeenth-century Puritans to the massive housing projects of the mid-twentieth century, the struggle over housing assistance in the United States has exposed a deep-seated ambivalence about the place of the urban poor. Lawrence J. Vale's groundbreaking book is both a comprehensive institutional history of public housing in Boston and a broader examination of the nature and extent of public obligation to house socially and economically marginal Americans during the past 350 years.

First, Vale highlights startling continuities both in the way housing assistance has been delivered to the American poor and in the policies used to reward the nonpoor. He traces the stormy history of the Boston Housing Authority, a saga of entrenched patronage and virulent racism tempered, and partially overcome, by the efforts of unyielding reformers. He explores the birth of public housing as a program intended to reward the upwardly mobile working poor, details its painful transformation into a system designed to cope with society's least advantaged, and questions current policy efforts aimed at returning to a system of rewards for responsible members of the working class. The troubled story of Boston public housing exposes the mixed motives and ideological complexity that have long characterized housing in America, from the Puritans to the projects.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674025752
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
09/30/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
482
Product dimensions:
6.37(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Tables

Introduction: The "Public" in Public Housing

Public Housing as an American Problem

Housing the Public Neighbor

Public Housing in Boston

PART I: THE PREHISTORY OF PUBLIC HOUSING

1. Coping with the Poor: Techniques and Institutions

The Moral Geography of Puritan Space

New Institutions for Indoor Relief

Tenement Reform

Settlement Houses

Ideal Tenement Districts

2. Rewarding Upward Mobility: Public Lands, Private Houses, and New Communities

Frontier Individualism on Public Lands

Homesteads in the Boston Suburbs

Residential Districts

Communities by Design

Public Neighborhoods without Public Neighbors

PART II: PUBLIC HOUSING IN BOSTON

3. Building Selective Collectives, 1934-1954

Boston's Selective Collectives

Public Works and Private Markets

Public Housing as Slum Reform

Public Housing as War Production (1940 -1945)

Public Housing as Veterans' Assistance (1946 -1954)

The Authority Is Watching

4. Managing Poverty and Race, 1955-1980

The Geopolitics of Public Housing

Urban Renewal

Rewarding the Elderly

The Mechanisms of Patronage

Racial Discrimination and the BHA

Battles within the Bureaucracy

The Decline and Fall of the BHA

5. The Boston Housing Authority since 1980: The Puritans Return

The Receivership

Four Redevelopment Efforts in the 1980s

The Politics of Public Housing Preferences

Getting Beyond Receivership

Boston Public Housing in the 1990s

Ideological Retrenchment

From the Puritans to the Projects

Notes

Credits

Index

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