RCHI Published: Vale’s paper, “Cities of Stars: Urban Renewal, Public Housing Regeneration, and the Community Empowerment Possibility of Governance Constellations”

Image Credit: Designed by Suzanne Harris-Brandts

Image Credit: Designed by Suzanne Harris-Brandts

We are excited to announce that RCHI director Lawrence J. Vale’s paper, “Cities of Stars: Urban Renewal, Public Housing Regeneration, and the Community Empowerment Possibility of Governance Constellations” was pre-published electronically April 12, 2018, by the International Journal of Urban Sciences. Vale's article examines the widely varying types of city governance that, in turn, affected each city's priorities when implementing the largest public housing redevelopment programme in the United States, HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere).  The article provides a preview of Vale's larger argument in After the Projects: Public Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans, due out in November 2018.

The article abstract is below and the full text is located at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/12265934.2018.1455530. Print publication to follow.

Abstract: This paper examines the implementation of the largest public housing regeneration programme in the United States, HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), which provided $6 billion in grants to facilitate the redevelopment of 260 sites. It begins by noting the wide variation in approaches to income mixing, with some HOPE VI projects skewed toward public housing retention and others emphasizing more inclusion of market-rate housing. To help explain this, the paper proposes that approaches to HOPE VI are rooted in previous experience with displacement through slum clearance, urban renewal and central highway construction from the 1940s through the 1970s. In some cities, this sparked a lasting backlash from citizen groups sufficient to alter the structure of urban governance in ways that tempered the prior roles of the state and powerful private developers. The paper explains this shift in governance using the metaphor of ‘governance constellations.’ These constellations spatially represent the systems of key players (or ‘stars’) whose presence is able to shine most brightly in each given regeneration process. Rather than networks of infinite variety, the paper argues that there are four basic types of governance constellations, each with its orienting polestar in a different sector of the sky – skewed either towards the private sector (The Big Developer), the public sector (Publica Major), the not-for-profit sector (Nonprofitus), or the community sector (Plebs). To explore this, the paper draws upon examples from four cities-New Orleans, Boston, Tucson, and San Francisco-which illustrate each of these basic constellation types. There are important roles for community leaders in each type of constellation, but the constellations explain how and why some cities favored housing large numbers of very poor households when redeveloping mixed-income housing while others placed more emphasis on higher-income households. At base, these differences reveal quite different attitudes toward community empowerment.

For more information, read Vale’s article pre-published electronically in the International Journal of Urban Scienceshttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/12265934.2018.1455530

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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