House by House, Block by Block: The Rebirth of America's Urban Neighborhoods

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Oxford University Press, Aug 1, 2004 - Political Science - 306 pages
2 Reviews
Not long ago, neighborhoods such as the South Bronx, South Central Los Angeles, and Boston's Roxbury were crime-ridden wastelands of vacant lots and burned-out buildings, notorious symbols of urban decay. In House by House, Block by Block, Alexander von Hoffman tells the remarkable stories of how local activists and community groups helped turn these areas around.
For sixty years, federal policy has attempted with little success to solve the problems of housing and poverty in America's inner cities. Yet increasingly, local organizations are picking up where Washington has left off. In a series of dramatic and colorful narratives, von Hoffman shows how these groups are revitalizing once desperate neighborhoods in five major cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The unlikely heroes include: the tough-talking Bronx priest who made apartment buildings for low-income people glisten in the midst of ruins and despair; the "crazy white man" who scrambled to save Chicago's historic Black Metropolis from the wrecking ball; the Boston cops who built a task force that put the brakes on youth gangs. Thanks to locally-based, bootstrap efforts like these, in inner-city neighborhoods across the country, crime rates are falling, real estate values are rising, and businesses are returning. Von Hoffman also shows that grass-roots work can't do it alone: successful revitalization needs the support of local government and access to business and foundation capital.
Based on years of research and more than a hundred interviews, this book is the first systematic account of the dramatic urban revival now going on in the United States. House by House, Block by Block will be a must-read for anyone who cares about the fate of America's cities.
  

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House by house, block by block: the rebirth of America's urban neighborhoods

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

America's blighted inner cities enjoyed a renaissance in the 1990s, with crime rates plummeting and employment, real estate values and population all rising for the first time in decades. The credit ... Read full review

Review: House by House, Block by Block: The Rebirth of America's Urban Neighborhoods

User Review  - Lily - Goodreads

This was a very interesting read, but parts of it was just too complicated for me to truly understand community organization. (Like what is a home equity?) I kind of know the gist of what happened ... Read full review

Contents

A Historical Perspective
7
2
19
BOSTON AND THE POWER OF COLLABORATION
77
IN THE RUST BELT Can the Ghetto Be Rebuilt?
111
OLYMPIC EFFORTS IN BOOMTOWN
159
NEW IMMIGRANTS TRANSFORM THE OLD CITY
207
CONCLUSION
251
INNERCITY MORTGAGE BORROWERS
257
PROFILE OF NEIGHBORHOOD POPULATIONS 19702000
260
NOTES
271
INDEX
297
Copyright

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About the author (2004)


Alexander von Hoffman is a senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and he teaches at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. He has written for The Boston Globe, the Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times and is the author of Local Attachments: The Making of an American Urban Neighborhood.

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