ABSTRACT

Chicago more than any other city in the United States exemplifies the promise and despair of public housing. This is true not only because public housing has fallen to such a low estate in Chicago, but also because, until 1953, Chicago possessed a creative programme under which a substantial amount of public housing might have truly revitalised the city. Under the programme, housing for the poorest one-third of the population was to be constructed, jobs were to be provided for the unemployed in the building trades and the extensive slums were to be cleared as part of the rebuilding of the city. The post-war struggle began in the Veteran’s Housing Programme in 1946, where Fernwood, Ashburn, Sauganash, and Airport Homes were all scenes of racial incidents. The Authority placed black people in as many projects as it could; eleven out of twenty projects were inter-racial, with 14 per cent of families non-white.