The Crusader Newspaper Group

Why the Chicago Housing Authority failed to meet its mixed-income ambitions

By Natalie Moore,

High-rise public housing complexes used to make a significant mark on Chicago’s landscape. On the South Side, Stateway Gardens and the Robert Taylor Homes formed a red-and-beige wall along the Dan Ryan Expressway. On the Near North Side, the Cabrini-Green Homes looked like island behemoths.

Many of the city’s public housing complexes were built under Mayor Richard J. Daley in the late 1950s and early 1960s to replace black slums. But the complexes became hot spots for crime, and his son, Mayor Richard M. Daley, wanted them torn down.

In January 2000, the Chicago Housing Authority launched its Plan For Transformation, a proposal to demolish and replace 18,000 “obsolete” public housing units and create “mixed-income communities,” according to a CHA annual report. The hope was that mixed-income communities would “reintegrate low-income families and housing into the larger physical, social and economic fabric of the city.”



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