Fannie Mae Foundation

In the 1930s, idealistic reformers attempted to create a vast public housing program using modern architectural design. Instead they created a distinctive look that would later stigmatize its occupants. After the passage of the Housing Act of 1949, visionaries attempted to rebuild American cities by placing the poor in high - rise buildings, an experiment that was soon deemed a disaster. Today, some believe that placing the poor in environments inhabited by wealthier groups will help to address the problems of poverty. By focusing on three periods of the low-income housing movement, this article examines how visionary idealism has led to disillusionment with housing programs. In the future, supporters of good low-income housing should present housing programs not as panaceas for deep-rooted social problems, but rather as important elements in social welfare policy. Advocates of housing should fight for programs that will produce as many units of housing as possible.

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