By Sudhir Venkatesh, William Julius Wilson
High-rise public housing advancements have been signature beneficial properties of the post–World conflict II urban. A hopeful test in delivering transitority, low-cost housing for all americans, the "projects" quickly grew to become synonymous with the black city bad, with isolation and overcrowding, with medicinal drugs, gang violence, and forget. because the wrecking ball brings down a few of these concrete monoliths, Sudhir Venkatesh seeks to reexamine public housing from the interior out, and to salvage its legacy. in line with approximately a decade of fieldwork in Chicago's Robert Taylor houses, American venture is the 1st accomplished tale of way of life in an American public housing advanced. Venkatesh attracts on his relationships with tenants, gang participants, law enforcement officials, and native enterprises to supply an intimate portrait of an inner-city neighborhood that newshounds and the general public have purely considered from a distance. tough the traditional suggestion of public housing as a failure, this startling publication re-creates tenants' thirty-year attempt to construct a secure and safe local: their political battles for providers from an detached urban forms, their day-by-day disagreement with entrenched poverty, their painful judgements approximately no matter if to paintings with or opposed to the road gangs whose drug dealing either sustained and imperiled their lives. American venture explores the elemental query of what makes a group conceivable. In his chronicle of tenants' political and private struggles to create a good position to dwell, Venkatesh brings us to the guts of the topic. (20010114)
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Extra resources for American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto
Empty lots, and those train tracks! Ooh! You had to watch everywhere ’cause there wasn’t no parks or nothing like that, just a lot of open space that [kids] would mess around in. And it wasn’t no better ’cross the street, ’cause there wasn’t no parks there either. So all those kids would come over to us. Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College A P l a c e t o C a l l H o m e Η 2 3 Co py Several small malls with grocery stores, health clinics, social service agencies, and small businesses were scattered throughout Robert Taylor, and in addition, the Housing Authority planned to construct three shopping centers, all privately developed.
45 The institutions that make up the Ex a m state are forever concerned with managing space, planning and re-zoning, ef~cient and rational usage of territories, and so on. Their logic—that of “abstract space”—runs counter to that of the people who live in the space and who may value a particular territory for reasons that have little to do with its planning or economic development potential, but that have more to do with their connectedness to it. This antagonism surfaced in the history of postwar urban renewal: whereas the city saw little of value in the ghetto except its potential for development, those living there had homes, support systems, and peer and kin networks that could not be easily replaced or recreated in a newly built territory.
The design of the built environment exacerbated their dif~culties. Cars used the open spaces as thoroughfares and parking lots, the play of children in hallways and stairwells was not easily observable, and surveillance from a high _oor of the ground below was nearly impossible. Parents tried to keep children away from train tracks, frowned upon the use of elevators and lobbies as play areas, and steered children away from alleys. 31 For approximately eight hundred children in each of the Ex a m buildings, the elevator provided hours of enjoyment.
American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto by Sudhir Venkatesh, William Julius Wilson