Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty

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Moving to Opportunity tackles one of America's most enduring dilemmas: the great, unresolved question of how to overcome persistent ghetto poverty. Launched in 1994, the MTO program took a largely untested approach: helping families move from high-poverty, inner-city public housing to low-poverty neighborhoods, some in the suburbs. The book's innovative methodology emphasizes the voices and choices of the program's participants but also rigorously analyzes the changing structures of regional opportunity and constraint that shaped the fortunes of those who "signed up." It shines a light on the hopes, surprises, achievements, and limitations of a major social experiment. As the authors make clear, for all its ambition, MTO is a uniquely American experiment, and this book brings home its powerful lessons for policymakers and advocates, scholars, students, journalists, and all who share a deep concern for opportunity and inequality in our country.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195393712
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Xavier de Souza Briggs is Associate Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House and Associate Professor of Sociology and Urban Planning (on leave) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A sociologist by training, his award-winning research focuses on leadership and democratic institutions, inequality, and racial and ethnic diversity in cities. A former faculty member at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, his books include The Geography of Opportunity and Democracy as Problem Solving. He is founder and director of The Community Problem-Solving Project @ MIT and Working Smarter in Community Development, two popular and innovative online resources for people and institutions worldwide, and his views have appeared in the New York Times,, National Public Radio, Boston Globe, and other major media.

Susan J. Popkin is Director of the Urban Institute's Program on Neighborhoods and Youth Development. She is a nationally recognized expert on assisted housing, mobility, and the "hard to house." Dr. Popkin is the lead author of The Hidden War, has written numerous papers and book chapters on housing and poverty-related issues, and is co-author of the recent book, Public Housing and The Legacy of Segregation.

John Goering is a Professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College and is on the doctoral faculty of the City University of New York. He is the author or editor of seven books on housing, race and public policy. While at the Office of Policy Development and Research at HUD he helped design and implement MTO, and co-edited the first collection of analyses, Choosing a Better Life?, on this demonstration.

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Table of Contents

1. Places and Lives
2. Ghetto Poverty Before and After Katrina
3. Great Expectations and Muddling Through: Designing and Launching the Experiment
4. The Unequal Geography of Opportunity
5. Moving to Security
6. When Your Neighborhood is Not Your Community
7. Struggling to Stay out of High Poverty Neighborhoods: Finding Good Housing
8. Finding Good Schools
9. Finding Work
10. Lessons Appendix: Studying Moving to Opportunity Works Cited

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