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A Public Housing Experiment Faces Problems

The Chicago Tribune examines what became of an ambitious city project, led by Mayor Daley, to revolutionize public housing. Private developers received public funding to tear down old projects and replace them with mixed-use neighborhoods.

"Conceived amid a rising housing market, the city's Plan for Transformation used hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars and virtual giveaways of public land to reverse decades of neglect that confined the city's poorest residents to racially segregated ghettos.

Demolition of Chicago's reviled high-rises became a national symbol of change and hope, but little attention has been focused on what happened next as rhetoric collided with realities.

A Tribune investigation found that almost nine years into what was billed as a 10-year program, the city has completed only 30 percent of the plan's most ambitious element-tearing down entire housing projects and replacing them with new neighborhoods where poor, working-class and wealthier families would live side by side.

In fact, of those public housing units that have been built, nearly half went up before the plan officially started in 2000.

The consequences of these failures go far beyond Chicago. The federal government also prodded dozens of cities across the country to adopt similar blueprints for fixing their public housing sites. Since then, many of those projects have stalled as well."

Full Story: Public housing limbo

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