Join Gary Hustwit for an in-depth discussion in this video Bruce Katz, part of Urbanized.
Bruce: The history of social housing in the United States is a complicated one. For many decades, starting in the 1930s, but particularly in the 1960s and 70s, we built a certain kind of social housing. Frankly, in many places, they were warehouses for the poor. They embraced a certain kind of modernist architecture. They were isolated from the broader community. We covered over streets so that we could have campuses of social housing.
These places over time, frankly, became cancers in many of their cities. They became the locus of much of the distress that cities and their older suburban communities were facing. Poverty, crime, schools that didn't function. For the past two decades in the United States, we have begun to turn to a different model of social housing. Economically integrated housing. Mixed use housing. Housing that becomes part of the fabric of neighborhoods and cities.
Housing that provides a platform for people not just to live in a particular place but to move up the ladder of opportunity with skills training and access to jobs. The United States has had a sorry history of social housing. In the 90s and in the last decade we actually had to tear down a tenth of our public housing because it didn't work anymore. It didn't work for people. It didn't work for neighborhoods and it didn't work for cities.
Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren't created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact on improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.
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