Cover

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pp. 1-7

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-32

From 2004 to 2006, Chicagoans came face- to- face with public housing residents in an unlikely place: during their everyday commutes and errands. Posters and placards featuring intimate portraits of residents alongside testimonials about life in and after Chicago’s projects anchored a public...

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1. Across Damen

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pp. 33-64

Every summer for the past decade, a couple thousand former public housing residents gather at Union Park on Chicago’s Near West Side for the Henry Horner Family Reunion Picnic. Those who have moved into Westhaven, the mixed- income community that has risen in Horner’s wake, come...

Part I. Sympathy

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“Toward a Better Life”

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pp. 67-70

On a summer afternoon in 2006, I stood at a security desk in the lobby of 626 West Jackson Boulevard. The building served then as the Chicago Housing Authority’s headquarters. This was before the CHA downsized and moved to an even smaller building. I was there to attend a “development working group meeting.” The lawyers who represented...

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2. The Many Harms of Staying Here

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pp. 71-100

“This is a good case for dropping a nuclear bomb.” In April 2002, the voice of a man named Donald Kimball on the radio introduced me to the Governor Henry Horner Homes housing complex. In halting tones, Kimball told an audience of Chicago’s public radio listeners that he felt...

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3. Project Heat and Sensory Politics

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pp. 101-132

On the second Sunday of every August, the Bud Billiken Day Parade and Picnic snakes south through the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Bronzeville, thrilling over a million spectators along the way. True to the parade’s mission to showcase African American youth while getting...

Part II. Civics

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Radio Rumors

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pp. 135-136

In late spring of 2006, a rumor was making the rounds in Westhaven. Again and again and again, transitioning Horner residents who had relocated to Westhaven’s replacement homes or in private rentals nearby spoke of “the young man.” You know, the one who had to leave his new...

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4. Experiments in Vulnerability

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pp. 137-168

Longings, laments, and hopes for lost and future cities run throughout the Bible, a fact I learned while sitting through Sunday sermons on the Near West Side. These sermons offered many lessons about life in a changing urban context. Nehemiah, a governor credited with rebuilding Jerusalem...

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5. The City, the Grassroots, the Poverty Pimps

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pp. 169-200

One morning in early 2006, a refrigerator washed up on my doorstep. On the West Side, the unfurnished private rentals within reach of lower- income people are just that— absolutely unfurnished. Public housing units come with a stove and refrigerator. Yet tenants in private, unsubsidized rentals...

Part III. Publics

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Resurrections

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pp. 203-206

During the 1990s, the city of Chicago collaborated with community development corporations and politicians to design street signs and sculptures that would mark urban enclaves and celebrate their peoples and histories. Look up or look down, you will see the fruits of this...

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6. The Museum of Resilience

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pp. 207-238

By late 2006, the Chicago Housing Authority had undertaken clearance, demolition, and redevelopment at most of its family complexes, even as many of their residents organized against demolition and displacement. Begun in 1995, Horner’s ongoing demolition and redevelopment...

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Epilogue: Raising Sympathetic Publics

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pp. 239-252

My fieldwork coincided with another looming housing crisis. In hindsight, its symptoms were visible throughout the Near West Side between 2003 and 2008. Construction crews hammered, pounded, sawed, and drilled from early until late to complete new houses and condominiums and to gut...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 253-256

Before decades of neglect transformed Chicago’s public housing complexes into “the projects”— a particular and particularly stigmatized kind of place— each was a “project” in the strictest sense of the term. Each was an ambitious undertaking that required time, planning, coordination...

Notes

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pp. 257-276

Bibliography

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pp. 277-294

Index

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pp. 295-306

About the Author

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p. 307

Image Plates

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