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University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century

Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century

by Nicholas Dagen Bloom


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When it comes to large-scale public housing in the United States, the consensus for the past decades has been to let the wrecking balls fly. The demolition of infamous projects, such as Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis and the towers of Cabrini-Green in Chicago, represents to most Americans the fate of all public housing. Yet one notable exception to this national tragedy remains. The New York City Housing Authority, America's largest public housing manager, still maintains over 400,000 tenants in its vast and well-run high-rise projects. While by no means utopian, New York City's public housing remains an acceptable and affordable option.

The story of New York's success where so many other housing authorities faltered has been ignored for too long. Public Housing That Worked shows how New York's administrators, beginning in the 1930s, developed a rigorous system of public housing management that weathered a variety of social and political challenges. A key element in the long-term viability of New York's public housing has been the constant search for better methods in fields such as tenant selection, policing, renovation, community affairs, and landscape design.

Nicholas Dagen Bloom presents the achievements that contradict the common wisdom that public housing projects are inherently unmanageable. By focusing on what worked, rather than on the conventional history of failure and blame, Bloom provides useful models for addressing the current crisis in affordable urban housing. Public Housing That Worked is essential reading for practitioners and scholars in the areas of public policy, urban history, planning, criminal justice, affordable housing management, social work, and urban affairs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812220674
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 02/09/2009
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 537,709
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Dagen Bloom is Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies at the New York Institute of Technology and author of Merchant of Illusion: James Rouse, America's Salesman of the Businessman's Utopia.

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Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
David_Hoicka More than 1 year ago
Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century. by Nicholas Dagen Bloom, an associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology Nicholas Bloom's book Public Housing That Worked is a fascinating and detailed history of public housing in New York from the tenements of the early 1900s to current theories and practices on social housing almost a century later. I own this book. Professor Bloom's book discusses how good housing management practices are crucial to successful public housing and social housing programs. He notes that effective management includes both regular maintenance and "keeping patronage to a minimum, holding employees and tenants responsible for their behavior, seeking private sector help where necessary, and using politics to build and protect housing". There are no easy solutions for affordable housing for hundreds of thousands of lower-income metropolitan New York residents. Professor Bloom's book focuses on drawing lessons learned from NYCHA to see what has worked and what needs improvement. At 354 pages with hundreds of footnotes and index, this book is a good resource for the affordable housing community and future housing programs. David Hoicka