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Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty Paperback – March 31, 2010

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Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty + Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality + Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (March 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195392841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195392845
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A brilliant, highly readable book...Briggs, Popkin, and Goering suggest a number of useful ideas for dealing with America's ghetto problem including family-strengthening programs and supportive housing for large numbers of ''hard-to-house'' families...a ''must read'' book for scholars and policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic."--Journal of Housing and Built Environment

"This book is not a purely academic tome filled with incomprehensible statistics; rather, it is more an ethnography and as such can be appreciated by students, faculty, and the general public. Summing Up: Highly recommended."--CHOICE

"Moving to Opportunity insightfully reveals how the fight against ghetto poverty is more than just overcoming economic deprivation. It also involves improving safety and feelings of security and therefore increasing freedom from fear. A number of questions remain about the effects of the MTO experiment. However, the striking reduction in anxiety and depression for women and girls is not one of them. Briggs and his colleagues argue persuasively for a major national commitment to affordable rental housing in safe and livable neighborhoods."--William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

"This team of respected researchers has applied scientific rigor and experience-based pragmatism to tackle one of the most difficult subjects in the urban policy field: how to harness economic and housing programs to reduce poverty and to create life opportunities for America's poorest families. The result is analyses and conclusions which are sobering but also promising and hopeful." --Henry Cisneros, Executive Chairman, CityView and Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

"[The authors'] extensive experience working in housing and antipoverty policy making, implementation, and evaluation, and their direct involvement with the Moving to Opportunity experiment since it was begun in 1994, positioned them well to write a good book on it. That experience and the high quality of their previous scholarly works ... led me to have high expectations for this book. When I finished reading it, those expectations were, in fact, exceeded. Moving to Opportunity is a 'must read' for anyone interested in understanding the politics of policy making and implementation, the difference between neighborhoods and communities, the harsh realities of living conditions for poor people in and out of inner-city ghettoes, and the difficult trade-offs very-low-income parents must make when faced with choices about where to locate."--Urban Affairs Review

About 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am an autistic man. I once lived on Subsidized Housing Programs and other special medical programs for the disabled. My apartment home in Baltimore City was a total and utter ghetto dump. I applied for and was granted a Moving to Opportunity Section 8 Certificate. I moved from a nasty apartment in Baltimore City to a far nicer apartment in an only slightly run down area in Columbia, Maryland. I lived close to a college. I went to Maryland division of vocational rehabilitation services and got training help. I eventually took college computer classes got a 4.0 GPA, got a good job as an intern in the Federal Gov't. The good job led to a great permanent job the first I held longer than 6 months. I became the success I am today all because of this program called, Moving to Opportunity.

This Moving to Opportunity changed my life for the better in ways so complete no words could do it justice. I grew up in a lower middle class black family. I was used to having nice if basic things. I was not used to life on disability and Section 8, I was used to better. Living in upscale Columbia, Maryland on Section 8 put me close enough to people making good money and living well that it reminded me of my carefree roots when I could afford basic nice things. I grew to want my old life back bad enough to make the Move To Opportunity pay off. I worked hard and became a success.

When I saw the book and its subject and I had to read it because this is the program that opened the door to my successful future. The Moving To Opportunity program may not have worked for some but for me it was a smashing success. I grew up in a home with nice things. I grew up accustomed to living comfortably. All that section 8 crap and horrid neighbohoods was not thw custom in which I was raised.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Excellent information and clear description of the socioeconomic problems the poor and working poor encounter. Should be required reading for Congress.
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By syh on November 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Bible to understang MTO demonstration!
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