Reviews

Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Unlike Sweden or Germany, the US never fully committed to social housing, preferring to rely on the private market. And when the government provided housing for the poor, it did so reluctantly. During the 1930s Depression, the federal government built and managed housing for the "temporarily" poor. By the 1960s, public housing had become a welfare program meant to mitigate poverty and compensate for racial discrimination against African Americans. This all changed in the 1980s when the large-scale projects of the previous era were demolished and replaced with low-scale housing for owners and renters, both poor and nonpoor. Using these three periods, Vale (design and planning, MIT) retells the history of public housing, emphasizing the role of design in the politics of site location, tenant mix, and the quality and configuration of housing units. He draws on archival material and interviews in Atlanta and Chicago to demonstrate the precariousness of government empathy for the poor, culminating in the current (re)purging of their communities. Producing a thoroughly researched, well-written volume, Vale has contributed an eloquent history to the literature on US public housing. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic, research, and professional collections. R. A. Beauregard Columbia University


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Unlike Sweden or Germany, the US never fully committed to social housing, preferring to rely on the private market. And when the government provided housing for the poor, it did so reluctantly. During the 1930s Depression, the federal government built and managed housing for the "temporarily" poor. By the 1960s, public housing had become a welfare program meant to mitigate poverty and compensate for racial discrimination against African Americans. This all changed in the 1980s when the large-scale projects of the previous era were demolished and replaced with low-scale housing for owners and renters, both poor and nonpoor. Using these three periods, Vale (design and planning, MIT) retells the history of public housing, emphasizing the role of design in the politics of site location, tenant mix, and the quality and configuration of housing units. He draws on archival material and interviews in Atlanta and Chicago to demonstrate the precariousness of government empathy for the poor, culminating in the current (re)purging of their communities. Producing a thoroughly researched, well-written volume, Vale has contributed an eloquent history to the literature on US public housing. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic, research, and professional collections. R. A. Beauregard Columbia University