American Project

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Harvard University Press, 2002 - Social Science - 332 pages
3 Reviews
High-rise public housing developments were signature features of the post-World War II city. A hopeful experiment in providing temporary, inexpensive housing for all Americans, the "projects" soon became synonymous with the black urban poor, with isolation and overcrowding, with drugs, gang violence, and neglect. As the wrecking ball brings down some of these concrete monoliths, Sudhir Venkatesh seeks to reexamine public housing from the inside out, and to salvage its troubled legacy.

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AMERICAN PROJECT: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto

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Sociological analysis condemning our public housing policies that focuses on a Chicago projectVenkatesh (Sociology/Columbia Univ.) spent hundreds of hours interviewing residents of Chicago's Robert ... Read full review

American project: the rise and fall of a modern ghetto

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Venkatesh (sociology, Inst. for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia Univ.) began his extensive exploration of the history of the notorious Robert Taylor Homes public housing project as a ... Read full review


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StreetGang Diplomacy
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Page 10 - He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face.
Page x - AfricanAmericans from the rural South to the cities of the Northeast and Midwest. Since smaller suburban communities refused to permit the construction of public housing, the units were overwhelmingly concentrated in the overcrowded and deteriorating inner-city ghettos — the poorest and least socially organized sections of the city and the metropolitan area.
Page x - This growing population of politically weak urban poor was unable to counteract the desires of vocal middle- and working-class whites for segregated housing," housing that would keep blacks out of white neighborhoods. In short, public housing represents a federally funded institution that has isolated families by race and class for decades, and has therefore contributed to the growing concentration...

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About the author (2002)

Sudhir Venkatesh is William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology at Columbia University in the City of New York. He is a researcher and writer on urban neighborhoods in the United States (New York, Chicago) and Paris, France. He is also a documentary film-maker. His most recent book is Gang Leader for a Day. In 2006 he also published Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor about illegal economies in Chicago. Off the Books received a Best Book Award from Slate.Com (2006) as well as the C. Wright Mills Award (2007). His first book, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto (2000) explored life in Chicago public housing. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University from 1996-1999. He is currently Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy, and Director of the Charles H. Revson Fellowship Program, both at Columbia University.

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