Bradford Hunt, D.: Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing
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Blueprint for Disaster by D. Bradford Hunt is a welcome addition to the growing literature on public/social housing revitalization on both sides of the Atlantic. It should be read along with Public Housing and the Legacy of Segregation (Margery Turner, Susan Popkin, and Lynette Rawlings) and From Despair to Hope: HOPE VI and the New Promise of Public Housing in America’s Cities (Henry Cisneros and Lora Engdahl, editors). In this thorough, ideologically neutral, and well-written book, Hunt identifies the multiple causes of public housing decline in Chicago. He also points out important lessons for creating sustainable public housing communities, especially the need to limit the number of households with many children.
Understanding the demise of Chicago’s public housing requires a close look at the Housing Act of 1937 (Chap. 1). Hunt describes tensions during the 1930s between progressive housing reformers, who wanted to rebuild the slums for those who lived in them, and modern...