Brooklyn Public Housing Planned for Renovation Instead Faces Demolition

Prospect Plaza, three public housing towers in Brooklyn, were vacated in 2003 for refurbishment. NYC has long renovated their public housing towers instead of tearing them down, so the announcement marks a major change for the city.

The city defends its decision from a purely economic standpoint.

Manny Fernandez writes, "Ilene Popkin, the agency's assistant deputy general manager for development, said it would cost $481,000 to renovate each of the 269 apartments. Demolishing the structures and building 361 new units would cost $381,700 per unit. Ms. Popkin and other officials said the three buildings had deteriorated from vandalism and exposure to the elements, and were out of context with the neighborhood. The new apartments - including public and private housing, not only for the poor but also for low-income and moderate-income families - are likely to be built in low-rise buildings."

Thanks to Rachel Thompson

Full Story: New York City Plans to Topple Public Housing Towers



Brooklyn Public Housing

The book, Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City: The Life and Times of an Urban Reformer, offers some fascinating insights into the issues covered in this article. Weaver, our nations first secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the first African-American to hold a cabinet position in the federal government, was a staunch advocate of public housing. He believed that this housing model was not only critical in addressing the immense affordable housing needs of the 50s and 60s, but represented a key step towards creating racially integrated housing communities in America.

It is intriguing to note that public housing legacy still has great symbolic meaning for many former residents. And while few will dispute the merits of demolishing these remaining structures, we should all be reminded of the meaningful purpose they once served for those who faced the ugly realities of housing discrimination.

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