The Atlantic Cities:
“Moving Poor People Into a Neighborhood Doesn’t Cause Crime
Emily Badger. Aug 4, 2013
Beginning in the mid-1990s, the federal government shifted the way it subsidizes housing for the low-income. Out were mega-public housing projects like St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe andChicago’s Cabrini-Green. In were housing vouchers and tax credits designed to disperse people in need of housing help out of these infamous pockets of poverty.
Crime rates in cities across the country happened to be falling around this same time. But many communities far from places like Cabrini-Green feared that a program designed to disperse the poor would also disperse crime associated with them – and straight into more pristine neighborhoods. This idea has persisted for nearly 20 years. And it’s prominent among the objections often raised to adding subsidized housing into new neighborhoods and suburbs (see also: the schools will get overcrowded! The traffic will get worse! Everyone’s property value will fall!).
"Crime and violence-based fear is something that’s certainly been used very, very effectively for decades in this country," says Michael Lens, an assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA. “And many of our cities are certainly the worse for it in terms of land use and equitable neighborhood opportunity.”
Photo: Shutterstock

The Atlantic Cities:

Moving Poor People Into a Neighborhood Doesn’t Cause Crime

Emily Badger. Aug 4, 2013

Beginning in the mid-1990s, the federal government shifted the way it subsidizes housing for the low-income. Out were mega-public housing projects like St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe andChicago’s Cabrini-Green. In were housing vouchers and tax credits designed to disperse people in need of housing help out of these infamous pockets of poverty.

Crime rates in cities across the country happened to be falling around this same time. But many communities far from places like Cabrini-Green feared that a program designed to disperse the poor would also disperse crime associated with them – and straight into more pristine neighborhoods. This idea has persisted for nearly 20 years. And it’s prominent among the objections often raised to adding subsidized housing into new neighborhoods and suburbs (see also: the schools will get overcrowded! The traffic will get worse! Everyone’s property value will fall!).

"Crime and violence-based fear is something that’s certainly been used very, very effectively for decades in this country," says Michael Lens, an assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA. “And many of our cities are certainly the worse for it in terms of land use and equitable neighborhood opportunity.”

Photo: Shutterstock

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    It’s often just that these buildings and neighborhoods are ridiculously poorly designed
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    Concentrating the poor in ghettos and housing projects reinforces isolation and cycles of poverty and economic...
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Mass Urban is a multidisciplinary design-research initiative concerned with contemporary cities and urbanism. Mass Urban was co-founded in April 2011 by David Lee and Cliff Lau.

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