Lawrence J. Vale’s newest book, After the Projects: Public Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans, set to publish by Oxford University Press on November 15, 2018


We are excited to announce that Oxford University Press will publish RCHI Director Lawrence J. Vale’s newest book, After the Projects: Public Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans, on November 15, 2018. E-book or hard copy versions are currently available for pre-order on or directly from Oxford University Press.

In After the Projects: Public Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans, Vale provides a new framework for understanding urban governance and provides a national picture of the HOPE IV public housing redevelopment program. 

 Description of After the Projects: Public Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans

“America is in the midst of a rental housing affordability crisis. More than a quarter of those that rent their homes spend more than half of their income for housing, even as city leaders across the United States have been busily dismantling the nation's urban public housing projects.

In After the Projects, Lawrence Vale investigates the deeply-rooted spatial politics of public housing development and redevelopment at a time when lower-income Americans face a desperate struggle to find affordable rental housing in many cities. Drawing on more than 200 interviews with public housing residents, real estate developers, and community leaders, Vale analyzes the different ways in which four major American cities implemented the federal government's HOPE VI program for public housing transformation, while also providing a national picture of this program. Some cities attempted to minimize the presence of the poorest residents in their new mixed-income communities, but other cities tried to serve as many low-income households as possible. Through examining the social, political, and economic forces that underlie housing displacement, Vale develops the novel concept of governance constellations. He shows how the stars align differently in each city, depending on community pressures that have evolved in response to each city's past struggles with urban renewal. This allows disparate key players to gain prominence when implementing HOPE VI redevelopment.

A much-needed comparative approach to the existing research on public housing, After the Projects shines a light on the broad variety of attitudes towards public housing redevelopment in American cities and identifies ways to achieve more equitable processes and outcomes for low-income Americans.”

Advance Reviews:

"How we house the most needy is a clear barometer of our success and failure as a culture. Lawrence Vale has given us both the potential heaven and hell of this defining social nexus as well as a sense of the huge stakes at play." -Ken Burns, Filmmaker 

"What happens to affordable housing in an era of market solutions, austerity, and anti-welfare politics? Lawrence Vale, a leading scholar of housing and urban development, provides the first full-scale account of the federal government's HOPE VI housing program. In four richly detailed case studies from big cities around the country, he offers an even-handed account of the successes and limitations of efforts to provide affordable housing in an era of growing housing insecurity. Urban scholars, policymakers, activists, and advocates alike will learn a lot from After the Projects." -Thomas J. Sugrue, New York University 

"Over the last two decades no scholar has examined American public housing more thoughtfully or more comprehensively than Larry Vale. After the Projects continues Vale's examination of the origins, decline, and contemporary condition of public housing in the U.S., this time with four exhaustive case studies. Vale's close analysis of HOPE VI redevelopments in New Orleans, Boston, Tucson, and San Francisco situates them within the political and economic context of each city and highlights the importance of 'governance constellations' in explaining the wide variation in outcomes across HOPE VI projects. Vale has produced another invaluable resource for students and scholars of American housing policy, neoliberal welfare reform, and urban development." - Edward G. Goetz, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota 

Pre-order your electronic or hard copy version on today:

About the Author:

Lawrence J. Vale is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of MIT's Resilient Cities Housing Initiative (RCHI). Vale is the author or editor of ten previous books examining urban design, housing and planning, including four prize-winning volumes on American public housing, and the co-edited book The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover From Disaster.

About RCHI: The Resilient Cities Housing Initiative (RCHI), directed by Professor Lawrence Vale, explores the ways that shelter and settlements can be designed to anticipate and respond to the 21st century environmental and security challenges of an urbanized and urbanizing world. At its core, RCHI investigates the challenges of developing and redeveloping the housing environments of the least advantaged dwellers in a city-region. RCHI supports integrated scholarship, cross-disciplinary curriculum development, and innovative practice that bring together housing design, housing policy, urban design, environmental and energy policy, real estate development, new media technologies, and the visual arts