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Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing (Historical Studies of Urban America)

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226360850
ISBN-10: 0226360857
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Historians and policymakers differ on their explanations of what happened to public housing, but they would be well-served to read the new book by D. Bradford Hunt. . . . This book is a necessary contribution to the consideration of public housing in Chicago. It adds a new dimension to the debate by pointing to missed opportunities for the CHA to heed warning signs and change course and that policy choices at the local and federal level led to the demise of public housing. . . . No emotional wallop in these pages, just the clear-headed attention to neglected details of a woefully misunderstood part of Chicago history."
(Elizabeth Taylor Chicago Tribune)

About the Author

D. Bradford Hunt is associate dean and associate professor of social science at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

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Product Details

  • Series: Historical Studies of Urban America
  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (July 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226360857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226360850
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,745,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The failure of public housing in Chicago is something that everyone in the midwest seems to have an opinion on. "Institutional racism brought it down", "High rises don't work", "The CHA is a corrupt organization". Reading this book doesn't disprove any of these statements, but shows the problem isn't so simplistic. This is just an outstanding look at a problem that is so complex and after 70 years, STILL does not have a quantifiable solution.

This is a great read for those of us who grew up in the 80s and the 90s and only saw the CHA and public housing when it was at its worse. It's very sad to see that CHA started with absolutely the best of non-partisan intentions, but due to a lack of definitive mission (do they provide housing to the poorest of the poor? should they be affecting social change via racial integration?), this progressive group managed to get swallowed by the Chicago political machine. Unlike many other city agencies and departments that are no doubt just as corrupt as the CHA became, the impact on human life was immense.

Very well researched, and a completely non-partisan look at an issue that tends to have very strong feelings down liberal and conservative lines.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This very well researched book about the many errors that occurred in conceiving,planning, implementing and maintaining the Chicago Housing Authority's housing system is very worth reading. Hopefully it will help to bring a more humane and effective approach to future ventures not only in Chicago, but other parts of the country
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great and interesting look at the history of the Chicago Housing Authority. The book goes into every detail behind how public housing got started in the US and then how it formed in Chicago. The book does a good job of explaining the rise and demise of the "second ghetto" in Chicago. Good read and full of a lot of information.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't be fooled by the title. This is no polemic. It is a dispassionate, well documented, insightful, and beautifully written account of the thinking that led to the public housing program and the reasons for its poor performance. Among its many insights is the attribution of the spectacular failure of the largest family projects to the large number of children per adult compared with other low-income neighborhoods. Although the book focuses on Chicago, its lessons are broadly applicable. Even those most knowledgeable about low-income housing policies would learn much from reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
Rich in detail and research, Professor Hunt provides an excellent analysis of the history the Chicago Housing Authority. Professor Hunt deftly handles the financial, political, social, architecture, geographical and cultural factors that shaped the CHA, and he never fails to keep the writing clear and concise. I was looking for an in depth analysis of the development of the CHA, and that is exactly what I found with this work. A really great accomplishment.
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