How East New York Became a Ghetto

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In response to the riots of the mid-‘60s, Walter Thabit was hired to work with the community of East New York to develop a plan for low- and moderate-income public housing. In the years that followed, he experienced first-hand the forces that had engineered East New York’s dramatic decline and that continued to work against its successful revitalization. How East New York Became a Ghetto describes the shift of East New York from a working-class immigrant neighborhood to a largely black and Puerto Rican neighborhood and shows how the resulting racially biased policies caused the deterioration of this once flourishing area.

A clear-sighted, unflinching look at one ghetto community, How East New York Became a Ghetto provides insights and observations on the histories and fates of ghettos throughout the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Thabit emphasizes the central role of local institutions in contributing to urban disinvestment and decline.”
-Journal of Urban History


“Walter Thabit has written a highly personal and compelling piece of retrospective analysis.”
-Journal of the American Planning Association


“Thabit’s writing is lucid and heartfelt.”
-Urban Studies


“An excellent source of data and intelligence on the formation of ghettos and the life and struggle within them.”
-Science & Society


“Walter Thabit eloquently tells the story of East New York, a neighborhood in eastern Brooklyn, complementing his close observation of events in the neighborhood with astute analyses of the bearing of larger forces on this big city slum. Events in East New York reveal in microcosm the turbulent national forces that have determined the fate of inner city ghettos across the country over the past 40 years.”
-from the Foreword by Frances Fox Piven


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814782675
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 823,696
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter Thabit has 35 years of experience in housing, renewal, community planning, city planning, and anti-poverty projects. He lives in New York City.

Frances Fox Piven is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate School, City University of New York. She is coeditor of Work, Welfare and Politics. Her other award-winning books include Regulating the Poor, Why Americans Don't Vote, and Poor People's Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail (all with Richard Cloward).

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Table of Contents

1 Welcome to East New York 7
2 The population wave 23
3 The ghettoization of East New York 37
4 Destruction of the "target area" 55
5 The uniformed (and other) services 70
6 The youth of East New York 83
7 Vest pocket planning 101
8 Vest pocket implementation 122
9 The model cities fiasco 138
10 School planning 150
11 East New York under siege 169
12 The FHA scandals 178
13 The community school board disaster 188
14 Rebuilding in East New York 205
15 The hard road to recovery 228
16 Policing the ghetto 247
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