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Mixed-income housing

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Mixed-income housing a conceptual model and critical discourse analysis
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Johnson, Jennifer Elaine Steffel
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English
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xvii, 463 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Mixed-income housing -- United States ( lcsh )
Mixed-income housing ( fast )
United States ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 434-463).
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College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jennifer Elaine Steffel Johnson.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Full Text
MIXED-INCOME HOUSING:
A CONCEPTUAL MODEL AND CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS
by
Jennifer Elaine Steffel Johnson
B.S., Cornell University, 1992
M.Arch., McGill University, 1996
A dissertation submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Design and Planning
2006


2006 by Jennifer Elaine Steffel Johnson
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Jennifer Elaine Steffel Johnson
has been approved
by
Pamela Wridt


Steffel Johnson, Jennifer E. (Ph.D., Design and Planning)
Mixed-Income Housing: A Conceptual Model and Critical Discourse Analysis
Thesis directed by Professor Willem van Vliet
ABSTRACT
To many people, the concept of mixed-income housing embodies the democratic
ideals of inclusion and equal opportunity. Despite the undeniable value of these
ends, however, the question of whether project-based mixed-income housing
development is the appropriate means to achieve them is a matter of debate. This
dissertation synthesizes the results of a multi-disciplinary literature review and critical
discourse analysis that reveals the complex ideological assumptions that lay behind
both the advocacy of and the skepticism about mixed-income housing.
There are strong arguments in support of mixed-income housing development, such
as its ability to provide low-income households access to better neighborhood
services, its advancement of socioeconomic integration, and its valuable contribution
to the expansion of residential choice. Yet, often the advocacy rhetoric is replete with
unexamined notions such as community, role models, and social capital.
Criticisms include the potential that mixed-income housing dilutes the appearance of
the pressing needs of the poor, the outdated culture of poverty motivations of some
advocates for mix, and the fact that macro-level forces will limit any potential
socioeconomic benefits from mixed-income residence.
To evaluate the validity and impact of these conflicting arguments, I created a
conceptual model of residential social mix. The model distills the seven elements that
comprise each theoretical position on mixed-income development, namely, lens,
argument, scale, mechanism, target, corollary, and outcome. Together, they form a


system with which to process different relevant theoretical opinions as well as
recognize the points at which they overlap in order to facilitate their integration.
Despite the theoretical debate, in 1992, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) launched HOPE VI, a program that attempts to revitalize
distressed public housing and encourage resident self-sufficiency through mixed-
income redevelopment. The redeveloped HOPE VI projects are undoubtedly
physically superior to their predecessors. However, typically only one-third of their
units are subsidized for very low-income households. To critics, HUD is using the
questionable benefits thought to accrue to low-income households through living in a
mixed-income environment to justify a reduction in actual government assistance for
the poor.
Using Faircloughs critical discourse analysis, this dissertation examines HUDs
HOPE VI publications and interrogates their characterizations of mixed-income
housing. The study aims to make explicit the opaque ideological frames and unstated
assumptions invoked by HUD to justify the HOPE VI policy. The discussion focuses
around the intersecting functions of HUDs HOPE VI texts, namely, to legitimize the
HOPE VI policy and to construct it in a way that resonates with the moral framework
of U.S. society. This analysis is a vehicle for developing a clearer understanding of
the merits and limitations of mixed-income housing, an important and increasingly
widespread development pattern. Moreover, it has important social justice and
housing policy implications.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
Professor Willem van Vliet


DEDICATION
I dedicate this dissertation to my beautiful husband, Davemy sun and moon. Thank
you for your endless patience and constant support during this long year and a half.
I am inspired by your zest for life, and your friendship, love, and adventurous spirit
have kept me in balance and reminded me whats really important. We did this
together.
This is also dedicated to my parents, Sharon and Jerry Steffel, and my sister Karen
Steffel, for their unfaltering support and encouragement. A lifetime of your good
advice, willingness to listen, and pushing me to do my bestbut loving me no matter
whathas made me the person I am today.
I hope Ive made you all proud.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a
great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so dedicated
can long endure.
- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November, 1863


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This undertaking would not have been possible without excellent advice from my
mentors, whom I am proud to call friends.
Special thanks go to Willem van Vliet for taking a chance on me at the beginning.
Thank you for teaching me by example how to be an excellent scholar and a citizen of
the world. Thank you for giving me the freedom to find my own path, and the
guidance and support I needed to stay on it.
Thank you to Joe Juhasz for the out-of-the-box thinking that sent me on this
unexpected journey and for giving me the gift of creative insight.
Thanks to Pamela Wridt for your conscientious reading, challenging questions, ready
ear, and especially your friendship.
Thanks go to Emily Talen for being one my first supporters in this work and for
motivating me with the words, If you dont write about it, I will! I hope to follow
your example of excellent scholarship.
Thank you to Tony Robinson whose inspiring example reminds me that the highest
purpose of scholarship is to fight injustice and help those in needthe reasons I went
into the affordable housing field in the first place.
Additionally, I offer special thanks to Karen Tracy in the Communications
department at the University of Colorado for taking the time to share your incredible
knowledge of discourse analysis with a novice, and your words of encouragement.
Finally, heartfelt thanks go to Kim Kelley for her patience, assistance,
encouragement, and loveshe is the glue that holds our department together.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Figures................................................xvi
List of Tables................................................xvii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION..................................................1
Mixed-Income Housing.......................................2
Research Questions.........................................3
Organization of the Dissertation...........................9
Implications of the Study.................................11
2. MIXED INCOME HOUSING........................................ 13
Definition............................................... 13
Goals and Challenges..................................... 18
Addressing the Shortage of Affordable Housing
in the U.S.............................................18
Expanding Residential Choice.......................... 32
Positively Impacting Neighborhood Services.............35
Lessons...................................................38
There Is No Pre-Determined
Appropriate Mix of Incomes............................ 39
Income Mix Is Not a Significant
Issue for Residents..............
41


High-Quality Physical Features and Management
Are the Keys to Resident Satisfaction....................43
Location, Location, Location.............................46
Pro-Active Financial Policies Are Essential
for Continued Development................................48
Conclusion..................................................49
3. THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AGENCY AND STRUCTURE......................51
The Micro/Macro Debate......................................51
Characterizations of Poverty in the United States...........55
Culture of Poverty Thesis................................57
Structural Thesis....................................... 67
Conclusion..................................................76
4. THE POWER OF PLACE.............................................79
Introduction................................................79
Community...................................................80
Early Conceptualizations of Community................... 80
Modem Conceptualizations of Community................... 85
Sense of Community and Its Measurement...................92
Sense of Community and the Built Environment.............95
Sense of Community and Heterogeneity....................105
Community and Neighborhood..............................108
Conclusion: Community.................................. 115
IX


Social Capital
116
Social Capital Defined................................. 117
Theoretical Origins of Social Capital.................. 121
Sources of Contention.................................. 134
General Criticisms of Social Capital................... 140
Social Capital and Social Mix.......................... 144
Policy Implications of Social Capital.................. 148
Conclusion: Social Capital............................. 154
Neighborhood Effects.......................................154
Conceptual Models.......................................156
State of the Art........................................165
Methodological Challenges...............................172
Conceptual Criticisms.................................. 177
Conclusion: Neighborhood Effects....................... 181
Challenges to the Power of Place...........................184
Environmental Determinism...............................185
Social Engineering..................................... 186
Conclusion.................................................188
5. INCENTIVES AND IMPEDIMENTS TO RESIDENTIAL
INTEGRATION...................................................189
American Ideal.............................................189
x


Organic Solidarity........................................... 193
Segregation.................................................. 198
Measurement of Segregation............................... 199
How Segregated Is the United States?......................201
Models of Segregation.....................................205
Mechanisms of Racial Segregation..........................210
Mechanisms of Economic Segregation........................213
Government Policies and Segregation.......................218
Macrosociological Considerations for Integration
and Social Change.............................................224
Ecological Structure..................................... 224
Marxist Geography.........................................225
Social Disorganization Theory.............................230
Microsociological Considerations for Integration
and Social Change.............................................235
Contact Hypothesis........................................235
Racial Discrimination.....................................242
Social Identity Theory....................................245
Social Disorganization Theory:
Heterogeneity and the Fear of Crime.......................247
Conclusion....................................................248
6. CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF RESIDENTIAL SOCIAL MIX.......................250
xi


Claimant.
252
L
7.
Discipline......................................
I
Argument.........................................
Scale...........................................
Mechanism........................................
Target...........................................
Corollary.......................................
Outcome..........................................
A Test of the Model.............................
CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS AS METHOD..............
Discourse........................................
Critical Discourse Analysis......................
Theoretical Background of Critical Discourse Analysis
Why Critical Discourse Analysis?.................
CDA Addresses Both Structure and Agency......
Diverse Voices Can Be Heard with CDA.........
CDA Contributes to Policy Analysis...........
CDA Is a Tool of Empowerment................
The Process of Discourse Analysis................
Description..................................
253
253
254
254
255
256
256
257
258
258
261
263
268
269
270
272
273
275
276
Xll


Interpretation..............................................278
Explanation.................................................279
Application of Critical Discourse Analysis to
the Case of HOPE VI............................................281
8. THE STORY OF HOPE VI............................................. 282
Introduction...................................................282
The Historic Context of HOPE VI............................... 284
The Evolution of HOPE VI Legislation...........................290
Criticisms of HOPE VI......................................... 301
Physical Criticisms.........................................302
Resident-Related Criticisms.................................313
Administrative Criticisms...................................334
Evaluation of HOPE VI Outcomes.................................336
Conclusion.....................................................340
9. ANALYSIS OF HUDS HOPE VI TEXTS....................................341
Introduction...................................................341
HOPE VI Text Selection.........................................342
The Conceptual Model of Residential Social Mix
and the HOPE VI Texts..........................................346
Lenses and Arguments........................................349
Racial Implications.........................................362
Critical Discourse Analysis of the HOPE VI Texts...............365
xiii


Moral Identity of Residents............................367
HUDs Linguistic Support of Policy Transformation......376
Conclusion.................................................383
10. DISCUSSION...................................................385
Policy Legitimization..................................... 385
Constructing a Policy of Mixed-Income Development..........387
The Nature of Poverty..................................387
Deserving versus Undeserving Poor......................390
Diversity..............................................393
Conclusion.............................................395
11. CONCLUSION...................................................397
Contributions..............................................398
Conceptual Model of Residential Social Mix.............398
Critical Discourse Analysis............................400
Mixed-Income Housing: Final Observations...............402
Effective Choice.......................................408
Final Observations: HOPE VI............................410
Policy Implications....................................413
Directions for Future Research.........................415
APPENDIX
A. ANALYZED HUD HOPE VI DOCUMENT EXCERPTS...................... 418
xiv


B. GUIDING QUESTIONS FOR
CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS..................430
C. LIST OF ACRONYMS USED.......................433
BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................434
xv


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
4.1 Example of New Urbanist Design in Gainesville, Florida
(Author photo).......................................................101
5.1 Interdependency Model at the 1915 Boston Exposition
(Ward 1989, 129).....................................................195
5.2 Sidewalk Contrasts in New York, 1876 (Ward 1989, 50).................215
5.3 Basic Heterogeneity Model
(Bursik and Grasmick 1993, 105)......................................247
6.1 Conceptual Model of Residential Social Mix...........................251
7.1 Diagram of Critical Discourse Analysis
(Fairclough 1992, 98)................................................276
8.1 Ponce de Leon Public Housing Project Before Reconstruction,
Tampa, Florida (Author photo)........................................310
8.2 Ponce de Leon (Renamed Belmont Heights) During HOPE VI
Redevelopment, Tampa, Florida (Author photo).........................310
8.3 Percentage of Public Housing Units Being Replaced at
1996 HOPE VI Sites (GAO 2003, 13)....................................323
9.1 Conceptual Model of Residential Social Mix...........................347
9.2 HUDs Use of Community in the HOPE VI Texts........................350
9.3 HUDs Use of Role Models in the HOPE VI Texts......................355
9.4 HUDs Use of Social Capital in the HOPE VI Texts...................357
xvi


LIST OF TABLES
Table
9.1 HOPE VI documents analyzed (all published by
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)..........345
xvi 1


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
In the United States, social relations are manifest in spatial patterns. Despite the
national persona as a melting pot and a nation of immigrants, social scientists
have had to coin terms such as hypersegregation (Massey and Denton 1993) and
extreme poverty tracts to describe the highly divisive social patterns embodied by
U.S. cities.
The most recent census indicated that these entrenched forms of separation have
begun to ease slightly (Jargowsky 2003), perhaps indicating an integrative trend in
social relations. It may be that Americans are becoming more comfortable with the
idea of heterogeneity in their neighborhoods. Nonetheless, the average white person
in the U.S. still lives in a neighborhood that is 80 percent white (Logan 2001) and 7.9
million poor people still inhabit neighborhoods where more than 40 percent of the
residents live in poverty (Jargowsky 2003).
But what do numbers like these mean? Are they a product of fear, or the outcome of
millions of freely made rational decisions? Are social patterns self-perpetuating, or
are they continually reproduced by physical conditions? If we accept that physical
patterns are the result of social relations, we must ask: can deliberately changing the
physical also result in changes to the social?
1


Mixed-Income Housing
Housing policy in the U.S. often seems tom over whether housing is a
physical good or a social good.... Mixed-income housing, perhaps
more than any other housing policy, embodies this debate (Smith
2002, 40).
This dissertation argues that mixed-income housing represents a physical intervention
that has social implicationswhether intentional or inadvertent. The simple fact is
that shelter [is] the single most significant mediator between each household and the
larger society, putting each into touch with the other, is never a simple matter in a
complex society, determining as it does, access to many other necessities (Perin
1977, ix).
In 1993, then-Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD), Henry Cisneros, spoke for many housing practitioners and social observers
when he stated that We risk a societal collapse by the first decade of the next
century if we tolerate racism and the economic isolation of millions of people
(Smith 2002, 3). Consequently, much of the contemporary interest in mixed-income
housing appears to be reactionary: as decades of socioeconomic pressures, housing
policies and development patterns have created entrenched pockets of multi-
generational urban poverty and despair, the opposite approachdeliberate
socioeconomic integrationseems to be an obvious response.
Efforts toward the economic integration of American society have taken two main
forms, namely, dispersal of low-income households into more affluent neighborhoods
and the development of mixed-income housing. While the experiences of the two
paths inform each other, this research project focuses on housing that has been
deliberately developed to house a mixed-income population.
2


Many of the most important housing policy and urban design trends in recent
decadese.g., New Urbanism, transit-oriented development, Moving to Opportunity
(MTO), the HOPE VI program, housing vouchers, Low-Income Housing Tax
Creditsincorporate mixed-income housing. Yet, as a topic, it has not received the
media attention, research investment, or number of printed lines that have been
devoted to these other housing-related subjects. Similarly, some of the biggest topics
in social science todaye.g., social capital, neighborhood effects, and the nature of
communityall have a direct relationship with the issues that surround income mix
in housing. Nonetheless, there is very little research that draws specific connections
between these various topics.
Research Questions
This dissertation seeks to build that bridge. It helps fill the gap in understanding
mixed-income housing, first by elucidating and conceptually organizing the social
theories that it brings into motion, and secondly by exploring the social and policy
(and ultimately, physical) implications of the application of those theoretical motives.
There are many reasons that may be given for mixed-income housing development
economic, political, altruisticbut they each cast this housing type in an active role:
the unique characteristics of its mix is supposed to do something. The rationale
applied may be purely pragmatici.e., economic mix may be seen as a way to
increase the market for a new development. It may be built to spur economic
revitalization. It may be built to improve the jobs-housing balance in an area. It may
be legally required under local or state fair share laws, or under federal financing
schemes. It may be part of a planners vision for a more perfect community, a place
where young families, single parents and empty-nesters, high-school dropouts and
3


CEOs can interact as equals. It may be a way to sneak affordable housing into a
neighborhood under the radar of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) groups. It may be
built for any or all of the above reasons, but the fact is, it is being built in
communities across the United States for reasons that are more complex and profound
than those which are usually stated outright.
Evaluation of mixed-income housing is difficult due to the limited amount of
literature that has been produced specifically on the topic to date. There are few
empirical studies that examine it per se, and as a result, there is much more opinion
than fact on the subject of income and social mix in social housing (Saldov 1991, 4).
This situation does not mean, however, that relevant research and theory does not
exist; it simply must be drawn together from other literatures and re-focused to draw
conclusions that apply specifically to mixed-income development.
By thus casting a wide net into the literatures of many academic disciplines, I pursued
the answer to my first research question:
How is mixed-income (i.e., socially heterogeneous) housing
expected to affect residents and communities?
The answer to the question, of course, is not a straightforward one. The literature of
each intellectual tradition provides myriad answers that are sometimes directly
contradictory. Over time, I recognized that each proposition about the effect of
mixed-income housing consists of patterns of assertions. I developed a conceptual
model that separates out the components that comprise any argument about mixed-
income housing; as the pattern or each proposed argument is elucidated, conclusions
can be drawn about its underlying assumptions and eventual implications. The model
is flexible enough to continually incorporate additional theoretical positions, and
4


rigorous enough to enable each new position to contribute to the answer to my first
research question.
The contribution of the conceptual model is that it facilitates intelligent, informed
debate about the merits and drawbacks of mixed-income housing development for
different stakeholders and in different contexts. This improved understanding of the
sides of the debate, however, does not change the fact that the subject is indeed a
broadly contentious one.
This dissertation is part of the conversation about what it means to be poor, and what
the rights of the poor should be in our pay-to-play society. Do we have an obligation
to build low-income housing, and can it be done in a way that also benefits
mainstream society? Should housing affordable to the low-income be intertwined
with market-rate units, or should it be kept separate? History has taught us that
isolating the poor has negative political, economic, and social impacts on society as a
whole, but can heterogeneous developments be created that overcome the resentment
on both sides of the economic line and facilitate the formation of true social bonds
between groups? The heated recent debates over immigration into the U.S. has
renewed questions about what integration looks like, and the intersection of race/
ethnicity with socioeconomic class.
Mixed-income development is not a perfect housing solution, nor a silver bullet
that can actually solve the problem of poverty in the U.S. The role of macro-level
social and economic forces in perpetuating poverty cannot be overlooked. Similarly,
there are effective and conflicting arguments regarding the role of mixed-income
development in the provision of affordable housing. Some authors assert that income
mixing is politically and financially appealing but socially unnecessary (Vale 1998,
749). That is, if you provide very low-income people with good management, a
5


good living environment, good maintenance, and housing that blends in, mixed
income may not be necessary (Smith 2002, 21). Moreover, even if it is a desired
approach, it may still not be feasible:
In the housing industry, the received wisdom is that mixing income
levels in the same development does not work....Everyone knows
that like prefers to live with like and that the mixing of tenants of
significantly different incomeslet alone of different racial
backgroundsis, at best, risky; at worst, impossible (Ryan et al.
1974, 3).
Despite these long-running debates, HUD has made the choice to pursue a policy of
mixed-income housing development in the form of the federal HOPE VI program.
As of 2006, HUD had spent approximately $5.76 billion in 122 cities to tear down
235 low-income public housing projects and rebuild them with a combination of
public and private dollars as mixed-income developments (HUD 2006). The scale of
this undertaking, in terms of both dollars and lives affected, make HOPE VI an
important topic of research. Moreover, as the major contributor of mixed-income
housing in the nation, the policy represents a key site of discourse about mixed-
income development. It is thus an appropriate case with which to explore my second
research question:
What arguments do policy-makers use to advocate a policy of
mixed-income development? a) How do they characterize mixed-
income development? b) What do they assume the impacts of
mixed-income development will be? c) What do they expect will
cause these impacts?
HUDs policy-makers had access to the same conflicting research and literatures
reviewed in this dissertation, and from these, they made specific choices to form the
6


basis for their policy direction. That policy is presented to the public through a
variety of documents HUD publishes and makes easily available. To pursue my
second research question, I selected a group of these HOPE VI publications and
filtered them through the conceptual model I developed. By thus using the model
as an analytical tool, I was able to discern the various arguments HUD used to
advocate its policy of mixed-income development. Further, the components of their
arguments, made clear by the model, indicate their characterization of mixed-income
housing, the assumptions they make about its impact on residents and surrounding
communities, and the processes by which these impacts are thought to occur.
HOPE VI is an example of social and institutional action as constitutive of decision-
making on immigration, civil rights, and ethnic affairs in general. Its presuppositions,
meanings, structures, and strategies thus signal the real social and political functions
and consequences of such discourse for the social and racial/ethnic minorities in the
nation (van Dijk 1997, 62). Consequently, I believe it is important to understand not
only which arguments HUD relies upon to support their policy of mixed-income
housing, but why those particular arguments were selected. Thus, my third and final
research question is:
What motivates proponents of mixed-income housing policy?
Like Marston (2004), this dissertation is investigating the conceptual relations
between agency, social structure, and discourse in the politics of policy change (11).
Traditional policy analyses typically attempt to make rational, value-free assessments
of the costs and benefits of a given policy, framing the assessment in terms of hard
facts and the objective achievement of broader departmental goals. However, this
positivist approach overlooks key considerations of how policy subjects are
constructed, how policy goals are framed, and how the facts of the situation are
7


determined. The policy analysis presented in this dissertation aims to explore and
understand how policy meanings are discursively constructed (ibid., 14), including
the social identity of policy subjects and the ways policy makers characterize and
articulate the relevant problems and solutions.
This final research question will be answered by analyzing the selected HUD HOPE
VI texts using Faircloughs (1989; 1992) critical discourse analysis (CDA). CDA can
be defined as the analysis of relationships between concrete language use and the
wider social and cultural structures (Titscher et al. 2000, 149). It focuses on how
social relations, identity and power are constructed through written and spoken texts.
CDA explores both the intended and unintended effects of language by
deconstructing spoken and written texts to disrupt and render problematic the
themes, concepts, and power relations embedded within them (Marston 2004, 5).
Thus, in addition to facilitating a comparison of the ways relevant issues are framed
by the creators of HOPE VI, this method enables me to focus on the roles that power
and influence play in setting the policy agenda.
While the roots of CDA are linguistic, it is concerned with social problems rather
than language per se, making it an interdisciplinary methodology. As a social science
tool, CDA makes its interests explicit and applies its discoveries to practical
questions. CDA sees itself as politically involved research with an emancipatory
requirement: it seeks to have an effect on social practice and social relationships
(Titscher et al. 2000, 147). Laying bare the motivations behind a given social policy
is critically important for the targets of that policy as well as to provide guidance for
future policy development. Creators of housing policy, specifically, need to
understand the larger context in which they are working and have the information
necessary to make pro-active decisions, rather than just reactionary ones. At the same
time, the individuals and groups who are policy targets need to understand the
8


intentions of their elected representatives, appointed officials, and the other powerful
interests that influence policy. Policy targets need to be aware of the assumptions
that are being made about them, and learn the language of policy discourse so that
they can fight, if necessary, any unwelcome changes that are being imposed on them.
When the facts about public housing residents and mixed-income HOPE VI
housing are deconstructed with CDA, it becomes clear that the texts describing the
policy have worked to construct low-income residents as targets for social control
and influenced the form the control itself will take (Cameron et al. 1999, 142). The
analysis demonstrates that linguistic interaction is social interaction, and therefore
the study of language use is fundamental to our understanding of how oppressive
social relations are created and reproduced. Awareness of the power of language
does not threaten our freedom to speak as we choose but threatens only our
freedom to imagine that our linguistic choices are inconsequential (Cameron 1994,
33).
Organization of the Dissertation
The stage for the dissertation will be set in Chapter 2 with an overview of mixed-
income housing practice and policy in the U.S. today. The next three chapters present
the broad range of social theories that constitute arguments to either support or refute
the development of mixed-income housing, in response to my first research question.
These theories are presented in a structure of three themes that not only organize the
literature reviews, but provide a framework for understanding the broad conclusions
of the study as well. The first theme relates to the weight that theories accord to the
influence of individual agency versus that of broader social structures in individuals
lives. This can also be conceptualized as microsociological and macrosociological
theoretical scale. The second theme concerns the limits of the role of place and
9


environment in peoples lives. Finally, the third theme considers the challenges of
segregation and integration of diverse populations.
In Chapter 6, the Conceptual Model of Residential Social Mix described above is
presented in detail to function as a framework with which to assess the impact of the
theories presented in the earlier chapters. It also serves as an acknowledgement that
while the literature review provided is comprehensive, it is also incomplete; other
disciplines and theories may contribute to our understanding of mixed-income
housing. The conceptual model can help integrate those additional concepts into the
overall picture.
Starting with Chapter 7, the dissertation begins to focus on an analysis of an example
of a mixed-income housing policy, namely the federal HOPE VI program. Chapter 7
provides a thorough description of critical discourse analysis, including its theoretical
foundations and methodological principles. (Additional details about the
methodological process followed in this study are provided in Appendix B.) Chapter
8 is an overview of the HOPE VI program that includes the legislative evolution of
the program and a thorough discussion of the criticisms that have been leveled against
it by various stakeholders. Chapter 9 presents an analysis of relevant excerpts drawn
from four HOPE VI texts that were published by HUD in the late 1990s. (A complete
list of the excerpts analyzed is provided in Appendix A.) The chapter begins by using
the Conceptual Model of Residential Social Mix as an analytical tool. The
observations recorded with this analysis form the theoretical foundation for the first,
descriptive phase of the critical discourse analysis that is presented in the second half
of the chapter. The results of the final interpretation and explanation phases of the
CDA are presented in Chapter 10. The discussion focuses around the intersecting
functions of HUDs HOPE VI texts, namely, to legitimize the HOPE VI policy and to
construct it in a way that resonates with the moral framework of U.S. society.
10


I conclude the dissertation by describing the contributions made by the conceptual
model and the critical discourse analysis toward answering the projects guiding
research questions. Next, I use the notion of effective choice (Brown and King 2005)
as a framework with which to present some final observations about mixed-income
housing generally, and the HOPE VI program specifically. Finally, I suggest the
policy implications of these observations and some areas for future research.
Implications of the Study
This study makes some important theoretical and policy-related contributions. First,
drawing together the arguments for and against mixed-income housing across
disparate fields of study will hopefully contribute to future interdisciplinary research
on to the topic. Second, incorporating the myriad relevant theories into a useful
conceptual model has the potential to provide policy-makers, developers, housing
advocates, residents and community groups with a tool for evaluating the possible
benefits and liabilities of particular mixed-income development proposals. Third,
applying critical discourse analysis to housing policy can help reveal the ideological
assumptions that underlie policy decisions, and ultimately enable policy targets to
respond effectively.
The policy implications of the study for HOPE VI include first, a caution against
relying on physical determinism to solve the complex, obdurate problems that face
low-income households. Second, for the potential positive outcomes of mixed-
income development to be realized, effective and meaningful participatory planning
processes must be instituted and maintained for all project stakeholders. Third, the
government must not abdicate its critical responsibility to assist the most
disadvantaged members of society. Mixed-income public housing needs to include
11


the neediest households, not just the most socially acceptable. Finally, by itself,
HOPE VI will not change entrenched patterns of segregation in U.S. metropolitan
areas. It must be accompanied by policies that facilitate area-wide integration.
Mixed-income housing alone will not solve the issues of poverty, nor is it the only
possible response to the equity challenges of housing production in a market-based
system. However, this dissertation contends that
not until developers and public officials value economic integration as
a societal benefit and forge the financing tools to implement it will the
goal first proclaimed in the National Housing Act of 1949a decent
home and suitable living environment for every American familybe
realizable (Mulroy 1991, 7).
12


CHAPTER 2
MIXED-INCOME HOUSING
To launch this dissertation, this chapter introduces the idea of mixed-income housing.
The first task of the chapter is to review the competing definitions of what exactly is
meant by mixed-income. The following section presents the potential economic and
political advantages of income-diverse housing, as well as the challenges to achieving
those benefits. Finally, the chapter elucidates the main lessons for designing and
developing mixed-income housing as identified in the literature.
Definition
Determining what an author means by mixed-income is one of the first challenges
that must be met when reviewing this body of housing literature. Unlike, for
example, affordable housing, mixed-income does not carry a formal definition in
the housing field. Authors disagree about the range of incomes, the grain of the mix
(e.g., unit-by-unit mix, income-segregated floors within a single building, or income-
segregated buildings on a single site), and the demographic make-up, tenure mix, unit
mix, and scale required for a development to be considered mixed. Moreover, there
is no consensus as to which resident characteristicsif any, other than incomeand
across what range of diversity are necessary or sufficient for a project to be
considered mixed, nor which project features or financing packages are most likely to
result in a resident population with a range of incomes.1
1 Throughout this dissertation, the terms developments and projects are used interchangeably, and
are considered to be synonymous with housing complexes.
13


Authors in the field typically establish a definition for mixed-income housing which
suits their analytical purposes or perhaps their political agenda. Some authors
stipulate that there must be a specific mix of incomes, and some insist on the presence
of working families and/or market-rate units (Smith 2002). Some definitions are quite
broad, such as Suchmans (1998), which considers mixed-income developments to be
those which simply include both subsidized and market-rate units (59). Similarly,
according to Khadduri and Martin (1997), HUD unofficially defines mixed-income
projects to be those that include some residents who are not technically poor, or some
units that are not subsidized. Myerson (2003) considers mixed-income projects to be
developments (achieved through a variety of policies and practices) that contain
units that are affordable to households with different income levels, (4) whether the
households earn a moderate income (80 to 120 percent of the area median income
(AMI)), a low income (50 to 80 percent of AMI), or a very low income (below 50
percent of AMI). Others add the factor of intention, such as Brophy and Smith (1997)
who require that truly mixed-income housing be a deliberate effort to construct
and/or own a multifamily development that has the mixing of income groups as a
fundamental part of its financial and operating plans (5). Their review implies that
developments that simply house different income groups in different parts of the same
project cannot be considered truly mixed-income (Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn
1998). Other authors, such as Khadduri and Martin (1997) and Wilkins (2001),
require that families with children be part of the mix. According to Rosenbaum,
Stroh, and Flynn (1998), this reflects an assumption that it is children who will
primarily benefit from living in a mixed-income environment, and those benefits may
not appear if the market-rate households in the development are childless. Khadduri
and Martin (1997) and Wilkins (2001) both further insist that poor households (not
simply those with below-average incomes) be present for income levels to be
considered truly mixed, and Wilkins adds that there must also be a significant
number of working families with incomes above the poverty level (4).
14


Because of these unresolved definitional differences, it is perhaps more useful to
think in terms of typologies that identify the range of mixed-income development
forms. Khadduri and Martin (1997) were the first to suggest such a typology, and
their categorizations have been adoptedin part or in wholeby other authors (e.g.,
Wilkins 2001; Smith 2002). Khadduri and Martin surveyed the HUD-owned
multifamily housing stock, and after limiting their purview to family projects,
found over 1,100 projects that fit into one of three mixed-income categories. First are
projects that are partly subsidized, and simply include both subsidized and
unsubsidized households. The second group consists of projects with a broad range
of incomes, a term established in the Community and Development Act of 1974
which made it a goal for public housing. These projects are completely subsidized,
but include both families in poverty and those with relatively higher incomes. This
category demonstrates that even developments that are 100 percent subsidized can
have a mixed-income character. Khadduri and Martins third category includes
projects with a culture of work; these lack households with relatively high incomes
but have a preponderance (more than 70 percent) of households with wages as their
primary source of income. The authors characterize these developments as having a
culture of resident self-sufficiency rather than one of dependency.
Smith (2002) suggests considering projects along a scale of closer to farther away
from purely market-rate. His typology includes five categories, namely: 1)
moderate-income inclusion, or projects that are predominantly market-rate but
include some units for moderate-income households; 2) low-income inclusion,
which are predominantly market-rate projects that include some units for low-income
households; 3) broad range of incomes, which are projects that serve market-rate,
moderate- or low-income, and very low-income households; 4) market-rate
inclusion, which are developments that are predominantly low-income but include
15


#
some market-rate units; and 5) affordable mix, which are developments that are
only mixed at the lower end of the income spectrum, including only moderate- or
low-income households and very low-income households.
Schwartz and Tajbakhsh (1997) define a typology based on whether the mix is at the
project or neighborhood level and the type of ownership (i.e., public or private).
Their four broad categories include: 1) projects fostered by state or local government
schemes that require low-income unit set-asides, sometimes through incentives such
as density bonuses and sometimes through regulations such as inclusionary zoning; 2)
federally-funded public housing; 3) developments shaped by state and local
government financing programs that require mixed-income occupancy, such as the
tax-exempt financing schemes used in Massachusetts and New York; and 4) privately
developed mixed-income housing created by drawing on funding sources such as
HOME funds, Community Development Block Grants, Low-Income Housing Tax
Credits, tax-increment financing, or tax abatements.
Khadduri and Martin (1997) offer an additional typology of project-based mixed-
income housing based on the grain of mix and the presence or absence of subsidy.
This brief categorization includes, first, mixed developments that occur naturally in
the private rental market without any subsidization or deliberate design. The authors
cite that more than one-quarter of the unassisted poor renters in U.S. metropolitan
areas live in census tracts in which less than 10 percent of the population is poor,
suggesting that mixed-income housing probably often occurs in these areas without
the intervention of a public program. The second category includes projects that rely
on unit-based subsidies to create a mix of income groups, but keep them segregated
on the site; the authors note that practitioners debate whether this is truly mixed-
income housing (38). The third category consists of projects that use unit-based
16


subsidies to create a finer grain of income mixing within the same building,
considered by most authors to clearly fit the concept of mixed-income housing.
HOPE VI projects, using Smiths (2002) typology, generally include a broad range
of incomes, from market rate to low-income units, often with a small percentage of
very low-income affordable units as well. Because of their variety and complexity,
HOPE VI projects generally do not fit discretely into the other typologies of mixed-
income housing. For example, the complex public-private financing schemes
typically employed to make the numbers work in HOPE VI projects mean that the
developments span Schwartz and Tajbakhshs (1997) funding-based categories.
Similarly, the design and composition of each HOPE VI project is unique, and there
are examples across the spectrum of Khadduri and Martins grain-of-mix based
typology, from income segregated to densely integrated sites, as well as projects that
incorporate more than one approach on a single site.
Overall, the definition of mix in studies and in developments is individually
determined and operationalized. The composition which results is due to a wide
range of factors including the local housing market, the availability or requirements
of financing programs and legislative efforts, and the goals of the developer, whether
public or private. The wide variety of possible developments and the lack of a clear
definition can make evaluation of mixed-income housing difficult.
In this dissertation, no strict definition of mixed income has been adopted in order to
include a wide range of project forms in the discussion. However, I generally believe
that developments must include low-income residents to be truly considered mixed-
income housing.
17


Goals and Challenges
As evidenced in Chapters 4 and 5, the possible social benefits of socioeconomically
mixed housing are a hot topic in sociological research today (e.g., Brooks-Gunn,
Duncan and Aber 1997; Briggs 1997; Ellen and Turner 1997; Jencks and Mayer
1990; Rosenbaum, Reynolds and DeLuca 2002). The destructive impact of
concentrated poverty has become only too apparent in recent decades. The argument,
however, that mixed-income housing will result in positive social or economic gains
for lower-income households through their proximity to more affluent neighbors has
been called into question by many authors (e.g., Smith 2002; Wilkins 2001;
Arthurson 2002). Nonetheless, some argue that, because of the severity of the
adverse consequences of concentrated-poverty properties, it is good public policy to
pursue mixed-income approaches even if it cannot be convincingly demonstrated that
mixed-income approaches are superior (Wilkins 2001, 3).
Further, beyond the debates over the possible social benefits of mixed-income
housing, there are important economic and political considerations as well. The
literature discussing these, including the opportunities and challenges created by
mixed-income development, is summarized below. Unlike affordable housing,
mixed-income housing is only a fledgling field of research. The dearth of systematic
studies on the topic, and the project-specific nature of the stated goals, challenges,
and definitions of success used in many of the available studies make evaluation of
the field difficult, but no less necessary.
Addressing the Shortage of Affordable Housing in the U.S.
Housing affordability is a persistent problem in the U.S., and it is clear that the
marketplace alone cannot meet the demand for housing that is affordable to low- and
18


moderate-income households. The federal government does provide direct housing
assistance to about 5 million households, but only one in three that are eligible
receive it (Smith 2002, 12). One reason for this is NIMBY attitudes toward
subsidized housing in many communities across the country. As Smith (2002)
succinctly states, being poor is a proxy for being minority and vice versa, and being
either is a proxy for not wanting them in your neighborhood (13). Affluent
neighborhoods are resistant to affordable housing due to fears of crime and damage to
property values, while lower-income neighborhoods argue that they already have
more than their fair share of affordable housing and are resistant to the construction of
additional units. Consequently, affordable housing is politically unpopular among a
variety of constituencies at every level of government. Housing subsidies are very
expensive for governments, and when combined with political battles over where to
locate the needed housing units, affordable housing often becomes a political
casualty.
Mixed-income housing can provide both direct and indirect responses to some of the
challenges of providing affordable housing. By my definition, mixed-income
developments include affordable housing units, and thus directly contribute to
fulfilling that need. However, there may be a serious downside to this type of
development if it results in the creation of fewer total units of affordable housing
(Nelson and Khadduri 1992; Smith 1999). If vacant sites are limited, there is an
argument that as much affordable housing as possible should be built. As a non-
profit developer notes, it is very difficult to get zoning and site plans approved, and
we dont want to squander it on regular market-rate housing (Smith 2002, 34).
Mixed-income development can also contribute indirectly to an overall increase in the
availability of affordable housing by generating high-quality housing to win
neighborhood approval, overcoming political barriers, and providing economic
19


incentives for developers to include affordable units. Elaborated upon below, these
are important contributions that can be made by mixed-income development.
However, these indirect achievements should not overshadow the top priority of any
housing policy: helping families with the greatest housing needs (Smith 2002, 38).
Assuaging Community Concerns
It is no surprise that communities are often opposed to the development of low-
income housing within their borders. Smith (2002) notes that even with an
investment of time, a commitment to quality, and outreach to build community
support, it is difficult [for developers] to overcome deep-rooted fears about the effects
of low-income housing and its residents (34). Subsidizedespecially public
housing has a reputation for being very poor quality. While this is certainly true of
some projects, this perception is largely a stereotype. A 1998-99 HUD survey of
subsidized units (both publicly and privately owned) revealed that 82 percent of
inspected units were in good or excellent condition (ibid.). Still, some of the units are
stigmatized because they have the appearance of projects or simply do not look like
the rest of the surrounding neighborhood. In lower-income areas, residents feel
burdened with a disproportionately high share of cheap, low-priced housing, and in
higher-income areas, people fear that subsidized housing will cause a decline in
neighborhood property values. In addition to concern about the quality of the housing
itself, prejudice and stereotypes support fears of low-income, minority, or immigrant
households and dread of the higher crime rates these people are assumed to introduce
to the neighborhood (Bursik and Grasmick 1993).
Mixed-incomeas opposed to strictly low-incomehousing can help to assuage
community concerns over the quality and management of affordable housing. The
inclusion of market-rate units in a project means that the developer must create a
20


housing product that can compete with other all-market-rate developments. The
result is typically a project in which all units, both subsidized and market rate, have a
high-quality exterior appearance. Well-designed mixed-income developments
include human-scale buildings, local architectural features, attractive landscaping,
and often amenities that rival those found in market-rate developments (Myerson
2003). In most successful projects, there is no visible difference between the market-
rate and the subsidized units (Brophy and Smith 1997). One note of caution is that
the higher cost of the demanded amenities may limit the number of affordable units
that are included in the project (Smith 2002).
A mixed-income development will likely be maintained to a higher standard than that
found at an all-low-income project both due to the need to attract residents who can
afford to choose where they live, and because those same residents are likely to
complain if other tenants are not conforming to their high standards. Continued high
quality requires that the developer hold sufficient operating and replacement reserves,
has incentive to maintain marketability (or disincentive to fail), and hires competent
management (Smith 2002).
High-quality mixed-income development can also allay property value concerns.
Several studies cited by Myerson (2003) have found that the presence of affordable
rental units made no difference in neighboring property values. Moreover, a
Minneapolis study found that new affordable housing can improve neighborhood
stability and appeal, and in doing so, actually can boost nearby property values
(ibid., 18). Healthy, established neighborhoods have long included units that can
accommodate a range of income levels and household configurations, and the
stability and sustainability that this provides is widely considered a community asset.
21


In lower-income neighborhoods, the development of high-quality mixed-income
housing can assuage feelings of having cheap affordable housing dumped on them.
According to interviews with developers conducted by Smith (2002) and Myerson
(2003), producing mixed-income housing that includes market-rate units in both
affluent and lower-income neighborhoods is demonstrably effective in overcoming
neighborhood objections to the affordable units. Smith regards this as the clearest
success of the mixed-income approach (2002, 40).
Strengthening Political Viability
By reducing communities tendencies to rally against the introduction of affordable
housing into their neighborhoods, mixed-income housing can ease the way for a
second important contribution towards the creation of more affordable housing,
namely, expanding and strengthening its political viability. High-quality housing
developments can boost community approvaland thus political approvalfor
publicly-funded housing subsidies and projects. Rather than appearing to be a waste
of taxpayer money, good quality mixed-income housing both aids needy households
and may be perceived as a community asset. Well-developed mixed-income projects
can help to raise the standards for good design of affordable housing generally
(Myerson 2003) and thus perhaps have a positive effect on future development
proposals.
Further, housing that is designed for a mix of incomes rather than just the very poor
can attract support by appearing to aid the deserving poor (i.e., working families)
(Smith 2002). Simply stated, taxpayers and legislators are more likely to support
housing when a significant number of its residents are people who work hard and
play by the rules (Wilkins 2001, 3). Most contemporary policy makers want public
housing to pay more of its own way and to be more consistent with traditional
22


American beliefs in self-sufficiency and upward mobility (Vale 1998, 750),
reflecting the current neoliberal limited welfare agenda. To this end, contemporary
mixed-income programs such as Mixed-Income New Communities (MINCS) in
Chicago and HOPE VI often include self-sufficiency requirements for participating
households (Ceraso 1995; Office of Inspector General 1998; Solomon 2005). The
policy language of these programs reveals that subsidized housing is not perceived to
be an entitlement nor a hand out, but rather a hand up that requires people to take
responsibility for improving their lives and those of their children in exchange for the
housing opportunity (Ceraso 1995).
It is arguable that mixed-income housing is an essential tool for attracting broad
political support for affordable housing. Historical evidence has shown that as public
housing has increasingly become an expensive vehicle to assist only the very poorest
households, its funding and political support have declined (Cavanaugh 1992).
Ensuring a support base for affordable housing requires expanding the political
constituency for housing assistance to include working-class and middle-class
households. Because spending levels for domestic programs are strongly influenced
by the numbers and political significance of the beneficiaries (ibid., 68), the only
way to serve the poor properly is by hitching their needs to those of a more influential
population (ibid., 75). In other words, only by being reconceptualized as a
seamlessly integrated part of more economically diverse communities will public
housing be able to attract further and broader funding (Vale 1998, 754).
It can be argued that the current fascination with mixed-income housing programs
is an admission that these supportive interventions simply may not be funded unless
they can be targeted to a broader and more politically appealing constituency. In the
end, income mixing may be a political necessity to save public housing (Vale 1998,
756).
23


Yet, some authors (e.g., Smith 2002) assert that while mixed-income housing may be
helpful in building a political constituency, it may not be necessary. Instead, it is
possible that simply developing high-quality, well-managed affordable housing
developments can overcome the negative perceptions of low-income housing while
serving more needy households than a mixed project.
The debate over whether mixing incomes is necessary to win political approval for
affordable housing touches a nerve in the U.S.: are the poor better served by
universalist or selectivist policy approaches? Universalists argue that there are
certain fundamental elements of life to which everyone is entitled, and thus their
policies do not make a distinction between deserving and undeserving nor
stigmatize those who are program recipients. Selectivists, alternatively, assert that it
is just, charitable, and fiscally responsible for governments to target subsidies to those
people with the greatest need (Saldov 1991; Nelson and Khadduri 1992; see also
Block 1983; Findlay 1983; Greenstein 1991; Skocpol 1991).
Providing housing assistance through mixed-income housing can be thought of as a
universal approach as the developer, whether private or public, is making housing
units available to households at a wide range of incomes, not merely a select group.
However, this approach raises the justifiable concern that expanding the population of
recipients of housing assistance may result in limiting the benefits available to those
who are most truly in need (Smith 1999; Nelson and Khadduri 1992).
Using insightful empirical analyses of American Housing Survey data, Nelson and
Khadduri (1992) effectively demonstrate that many low- and very low-income
households with the worst housing needs are not getting the assistance they require.
Drops in absolute levels of federal housing assistance, coupled with diluted housing
24


programs that spread available housing dollars to employed, relatively stable
households, have resulted in too many needy families facing housing problems that
are both severe and multi-dimensional (26). Instead, the authors call for sharper
targeting of available housing resources to those households with worst-case needs,
especially households with children. In a comment on Nelson and Khadduri,
however, Cavanaugh (1992) counters that to accept targeting as the substitute for
resources is to buy into the conservatives game (67) of reducing housing assistance
expenditures overall. He argues that increased targeting will result in annual, more
restrictive redefinitions of preferred households to meet funding limitations and
further channeling of available funds to jurisdictions that have the highest percentage
of those households. Instead, he advocates a more universal approach, as a public
housing program that is permitted to serve a broader and more diverse population
even within the current income limits...will attract greater funding support in
Congress (75).
Further, Schill (1997) concludes, based on his study of Chicagos MINCS program,
achieving economic integration through a supply-side housing approach typically
requires sacrificing vertical equity, as the more affluent residents of a mixed-income
project are likely to be indirect beneficiaries of government financial contributions to
the developer. Consequently, according to Arthurson (2002), a mixed-income
approach to affordable housing represents a retreat from public policy as a way to
alleviate problems of social inequality (255) and instead simply disperses the
evidence of poverty by spreading its attendant problems around rather than
addressing them. Vale (1998) concurs, stating that to the extent that mixed-income
developments house people who would otherwise be able to find alternative
affordable housing, they represent a withdrawal from the central challenge of public
housing: finding a way to assist the least-advantaged renters (754).
25


Similarly, Smith (1999) takes issue specifically with the notion that mixing incomes
results in better communities and is thus a better use of housing dollars for everyone.
She asserts that this rationale is a smokescreen, merely utilizing the rhetoric of
community, density and income mix to justify anticipated reductions in public
resources without addressing systemic problems (50). When decreasing the
concentration of poor households through mixed-income development is justified on
the grounds that it improves housing quality as well as provides social benefits that
will improve poor individuals, Smith believes that this rhetoric conceals the true
motive behind de-targeting housing assistance: to clean up public housing by
sweeping out the very poor (60) and reducing the total stock of housing that is
affordable to them.
The bottom line of this debate is simply whether mixed-income housing development
contributes to or diminishes the goal of increasing the supply of affordable housing.
The universalist view is that by increasing the breadth of beneficiaries, mixed-income
development can gamer support for affordable housing that would otherwise remain
unbuilt. Alternatively, selectivists urge that the limited funding available for housing
assistance makes it crucial to target funds to households with the greatest need and
not squander them on households that are relatively well-off in an effort to achieve
elusive social goals for the poor through mixed-income development. The reality of
this debate is that, in the absence of hard data on the social costs and benefits of
income and social mix, the formulation of social housing policy on the subject has
consisted mainly of a debate between competing ideologies and values (Saldov
1991,7).
26


Providing Economic Advantages
In addition to being a politically palatable effort toward providing affordable housing,
mixed-income housing may be an economically attractive housing solution as well.
Budgetary considerations have led to programs such as HOPE VI that mix relatively
higher income familieswho can pay more rentinto publicly-funded housing
developments (Khadduri and Martin 1997). Further, mixing incomes can be a way to
leverage private sector resources when creatively financed through government
incentive programs. For example, when a density bonus is offered to a private
developer who includes affordable units in their project, the income from the
additional units can offset the below-market rents in the subsidized units.
Developers may find that offering a wider variety of housing products at a range of
price points can reduce the overall risk of the project and help increase absorption
rates by widening the scope of the target market. Diversity within a single
development can allow it to respond more flexibly to changing market conditions
(Myerson 2003).
More controversial is the idea that the income from the market-rate units can cross-
subsidize the lower-income units (Smith 2002; Wilkins 2001; Khadduri and Martin
1997; Schwartz and Tajbakhsh 1997). This is the notion that the rents collected from
market-rate units can provide part of the subsidy needed in the lower-income units,
reducing the financial input required from the government. According to Wilkins
(2001), there is ample evidence that this can occur over time in properties whose
market rents escalate rapidly. In areas with tight, competitive housing markets and
high market rents (such as Boston or San Francisco), cross-subsidy is theoretically
possible (Brophy and Smith 1997). However, it is unlikely that this scenario will
exist at the time of development in most areas, as basic real estate economics teaches
that market rents rarely exceed the rents necessary to support new construction
27


(Wilkins 2001). Making below-market rents feasible at the time of construction will
nearly always require some type of external subsidy. Further, any substantial cross-
subsidization would only be possible in developments that had a small number of
below-market units. Realistic use of cross-subsidization is more feasible for non-
profit developers who have a smaller profit threshold than for-profit developers
(Smith 2002). In general, the problem with the notion of cross-subsidization is that
it assumes middle-income people are willing to pay above-market rents to get to
live with poor people (Khadduri and Martin 1997, 37).
Some developers claim that mixed-income projects are more cost-effective than all-
subsidized developments because higher-income households are less expensive to
serve. However, the cost of the extra amenities demanded by higher-income
households, as well as the additional marketing expenses, can make mixed projects
actually more expensive than all-subsidized developments (Smith 2002). Further,
market-rate units have higher tenant turnover than subsidized units, as renters who
can afford to pay market rates have more choice in where to live than lower-income
households (Schwartz and Tajbakhsh 1997). At Lake Parc Place in Chicago, for
example, the rate of turnover in the moderate-income units was three times that of the
low-income units (Schill 1997). Developers value the low turnover and the
guaranteed rent provided by subsidy programs, but some of these benefits are offset
by the added administrative expenses of reporting to housing agencies and
maintaining officially equitable waiting lists for units (Mulroy 1991). There is
disagreement over whether these types of projects present greater long-term financial
risks (Smith 2002), but it is certain that they typically involve very complex financing
as well as unique marketing and management challenges.
28


Gentrification
A critical consideration regarding the economic impacts of mixed-income
development is the controversial issue of gentrification. Gentrification is composed
of two related processes: class-based colonization of lower-priced residential
neighborhoods and reinvestment in the physical housing stock (Atkinson 2003). First
identified in a working-class London neighborhood by Ruth Glass in 1964,
gentrification represents a challenge to the widely accepted process of middle-class
succession and suburbanization promulgated by the Chicago School (Newman and
Ashton 2004; Burgess 1925). While gentrification was unexpected and new in the
1960s, it was noted on a significant scale in North American and European cities by
the 1970s (Ley 1986). To many, the widespread expansion of gentrification during
the 1980s was one of the symbols of the me-era; this decade also represented the
peak of the theoretical debate on gentrification (Wyly and Hammel 1999). However,
the recession of the early 1990s seemed to stop gentrifiers in their tracks, prompting
debate over the possible emergence of a post-gentrification era and causing some
observers to conclude that it had simply been an aberrant, temporary phase of urban
growth (ibid.). Its major resurgence in the late 1990s and early years of the 21st
century, however, erased such notions; a late-1990s survey of 25 cities cited by Wyly
and Hammel (1999), for example, revealed that respondents expected their downtown
populations to grow by 75 percent before 2010.
Aside from the facts that it exists and that it is continuing to cause major changes to
the physical and social landscape of urban areas, researchers agree on little else about
gentrification. There are long-standing and overlapping debates over the appropriate
definition of the phenomenon, its causes, and whether it is positive or negative for
cities. This dissertation will use the brief definition suggested by Bailey and
Robertson (1997): gentrification is the process by which the professional/ managerial
29


class comes to reside in previously decayed inner-city neighborhoods, renovating the
housing stock and displacing poorer households (562).
The causes of gentrification are complex, but researchers tend to separate into two
camps, asserting primary causality to either demand-side or supply-side factors.
Hamnett (1991) provides a widely cited overview of the debate, explaining that
gentrification represents a key theoretical and ideological battleground between
the liberal humanists, who stress the key role of choice, culture, consumption and
consumer demand, and the structural Marxists who stress the role of capital, class,
production and supply (174). Briefly, the demand, or consumption side is built on
the work of David Ley (e.g., 1986), who focuses on the forces that produce demand
for gentrifiable property, namely the cultural, consumption, and reproductive
orientations of gentrifiers (Hamnett 1991). For example, demographic changes such
as the demand surge of the baby boom, the reduction in average household size, and
the rise in non-traditional households have led to a greater demand for non-suburban
housing options. Moreover, consumer preference trends indicate a desire for greater
density, diversity, aesthetic variety and historic connection in neighborhoods.
Further, economic changes such as increasing suburban housing prices as well as a
post-industrial economic structure based on downtown white-collar professionals
have created additional demand for inner-city middle-class housing (Ley 1986).
On the other side of the debate are those who follow the work of Neil Smith (e.g.,
1979) and assert that the factors affecting the supply of gentrifiable propertysuch as
the production of urban space, the operation of land and housing markets, the role of
capital, and the role of actors such as developers and financial institutionsare the
primary drivers of gentrification (Hamnett 1991). Smith asserts that the only
consumer preference that really matters is their preference for making a profit on real
estate investments. Smiths key theoretical contribution is his rent gap theory,
30


which explains that a period of disinvestment eventually leads to the point where the
capitalized ground rent of the site or neighborhood is less than its potential ground
rent in its highest and best use (ibid., 179). In other words, at a certain point in the
cycle of neighborhood disinvestment in certain areas, there is the opportunity to make
huge profits through rehabilitation of housing units, and investment capital will begin
to pour in, causing gentrification.
I concur with many contemporary researchers that the demand- versus supply-side
debate is overdrawn (e.g., Slater 2004, 1192) and that both elementsunder-valued
neighborhoods and available finance, as well as a population of people for whom an
inner-city residence would fit their lifestyle and walletare necessary for
gentrification to actually occur. A more important issue with respect to the goals and
challenges of mixed-income development is the ideological battle over the
implications of gentrification for the wide range of stakeholders involved. For many
cities and developers, attracting more affluent households into low-income areas
through gentrification is a lucrative process that results in positive spillover effects
for the downtown as a whole with little cost to the municipality. Property owners
who are able to afford the likely tax increase would also benefit from the resulting
rise in property values. However, challengers assert that these benefits accrue only to
the incoming middle-class residents (Slater, Curran and Lees 2004). For existing
low-income residents, rising prices due to gentrification often force them to leave
their homes and neighborhoods, thus destroying existing community networks.
Among defenders on the political right, however, displacement has been
acknowledged but seen as an unfortunate corollary of processes that are revitalizing
city centers, attracting private investment, and securing the physical fabric of
architecturally viable neighborhoods (Atkinson 2003, 2345). Developers of mixed-
income housing must address these two conflicting outcomes as well.
31


Expanding Residential Choice
The opportunity for expanded choice in residential location for all people is one of the
most important, but difficult to quantify, motivations for producing mixed-income
housing.
Part of Americans national identity is that society should be open, with freedom of
choice, freedom to move up occupational and social ladders, and opportunity to
participate fully in economic and political life (Fitch 1970, 53; Sarkissian 1976).
The country was founded upon the ideal of freedom, and it is a society that
measures freedom in terms of proliferation of choices (Ahrentzen 1999, 1). Simply
stated, mixed-income housing represents an expanded freedom of choice and
increased equality of opportunity for many Americans that would otherwise have
their residential environments dictated by entrenched patterns of segregation.
Lewis Mumford (1938) recognized that diversity was a key for human advancement:
the city with a single class, with a single social stratum, with a single type of
industrial activity, offers fewer possibilities for the higher forms of human
achievement than a many-sided urban environment (486). At an individual level as
well, choice contributes to human well-being. Fischer (1977) approached the notion
of community with the belief that it is not limitation of choice that produces inter-
personal bonds and community strength. Rather, recognizing that people make
choices between socially structured alternatives, individual well-being is likely to
be maximized by expanding the choicesthat is, options, resources, and
autonomyindividuals have with respect to the places they live in and the relations
they form (6). Michelson (1976) emphasized the importance of individuals ability
to achieve mental and physical congruence with their environment; choice enables
32


people to find environments that accommodate their personal characteristics,
behaviors, values and expectations.
Gans (1968a) points out that reducing social and economic inequalities can lead to a
cycle of expanded social and spatial heterogeneity. When more people have the
opportunity to make real choices about their lives, a demand for greater diversity in
housing, as well as opportunities for recreation, employment and education will be
the result. Then, when people have true freedom of choice over where they live,
heterogeneity can flourish. Wood (1960) concurs that only by offering options can
genuine demand, in the long run, be determined (29).
A critical part of this concept is that viable choices must be available to all members
of society, not just the affluent. Discrimination and segregation restrict the housing
options of the lower-income and racial minority members of society far more than
others, forcing them to live in value-heterogeneous neighborhoods which undermine
their aspirations for their children (Merry 1980, 67; Marrett 1973; Shaw and McKay
1942). True choice does not mean that all people must live in heterogeneous,
integrated neighborhoods and housing developments; rather, all people must have the
ability to choose their neighbors and their neighborhood (Millen 1973). Otherwise,
the policy of enforcing residential integration by administrative action,
designed to achieve social justice, actually creates a greater social
injustice: the poor are compelled to live in heterogeneous housing in
order to have good, subsidized housing, while the rich have the
freedom to choose between heterogeneous and homogeneous
neighborhoods (Merry 1980, 67).
Surely, heterogeneity achieved through administrative fiat is less viable in the long
term than that produced by expanded housing options (Merry 1980).
33


Choice also plays a major role in Galster and Killens (1995) notion of the
geography of opportunity. They emphasize that youth make decisions a) on the
basis of their perceived opportunities, and b) under the influence of their social
networks and neighborhood conditions. When geographic inequalitiese.g.,
inadequate institutions, lack of job access, and segregationcontribute to the
degradation of neighborhood values and aspirations, youths opportunities may seem
(or be) restricted, which may lead them to make decisions that ultimately lock them
into a state of deprivation (ibid., 8). Choice of residence thus affects individuals
through both objective conditions and subjective perceptions of opportunity.
The notion of expanding residential choice is additionally important in modem
society because of the enormous diversity of household configurations that are
common today. Most U.S. housing is designed and marketed for conventional
families, despite the fact that only 10 percent of U.S. households fit the traditional
model of a single-earner couple with children (Ahrentzen 1999). Enlarging the
concept of acceptable housing types, rather than promoting the same ideal for
everyone, can result in more sustainable communities that are able to retain their
residents, even as their households needs evolve. Further, real housing options can
help households achieve their occupational, educational, and social goals by either
permitting them to move advantageously within their existing community, or pursue
their aspirations into a wide range of other communities.
However, Gans (1968b) cautions that the ability to choose between alternatives does
not guarantee wise choices, and choices that are wise for individuals do not always
serve the public interest (150). Nonetheless,
if the poor are expected to live up to the moral and legal standards of
the affluent society,.. .the only justifiable antipoverty strategy is to
give them the same access to resources now held by the affluent and to
34


let them use and spend these resources with the same freedom of
choice that is now reserved to the affluent (Gans 1969, 205).
The choices provided by mixed-income projects can enable lower-income households
to overcome the economic segregation that pervades U.S. metropolitan areas and
become part ofand accepted intothe broader society. Mixed-income
development can enable low-income households to live in healthier communities, and
it can attract higher income households into transitioning or struggling communities.
Slowly, as quality examples of mixed-income development have helped society to
become more accepting of integration, the search for good homes and a good living
environment has become much more important than the income or color of the
neighbors (Bryan 1974, 371).
Positively Impacting Neighborhood Services
A long-standing basis for understanding urban politics and economics is known as the
Tiebout hypothesis (Tiebout 1956; Dowding, John, and Biggs 1994). Tiebout
theorized that in a perfectly rational and freely mobile economic world, citizens will
choose their residential jurisdiction based on their individual preferences for the
perceived cost-benefit ratio of the public services offered in each locality. For
example, households that place a high value on school quality will be willing to move
to localities that demand high taxes but provide good quality schools. The result of
this voting with ones feet is proposed to be the efficient allocation of public goods;
the indirect result is economic segregation (Evans 1976) (see also Chapter 5). Dozens
of empirical investigations (Tiebout has been cited by over 1000 articles and books
since 1970, according to Dowding, John and Biggs 1994) have shown that Tiebouts
basic theory provides important insight into the sorting of urban populations.
35


One implication of the Tiebout hypothesis is that lower-income communities are
likely to be underserved by both commercial interests and public services.
Businesses are likely to locate where higher-income consumers reside, and the best
public services are likely to be found where taxpayers are theoretically the most
willing and able to pay for them. Consequently, lower-income areas should benefit
from the development of mixed-income housing. Attracting higher-income
households to a distressed area is critically important for creating a market for
businesses and adding political clout to the area, which should result in better public
services (Saldov 1991; Smith 2002). Similarly, Tiebouts theory suggests that mixed-
income development in higher-income areas will enable lower-income residents to
benefit from better public and commercial services than may have been previously
unavailable to them in an income-segregated area (Saldov 1991).
An additional implication of Tiebout presented by Mills and Oates (1975) is that
deliberate creation of mixed-income housing creates an opportunity for non-cash
income redistribution. In a pure Tiebout world, wealthy households will locate
together to consume high levels of public services and create a large tax base in their
jurisdiction. Mixed-income housing developed in affluent jurisdictions would enable
lower-income residents to consume high-quality public services for a
disproportionately small fiscal contribution. Without mixed-income housing, the
fiscal imbalance suggested by Tiebout can lead to wealthy jurisdictions enacting
exclusionary zoning measures to protect themselves from being invaded by low-
income households.
As financial inequality results in political inequality between communities, an
important possible contribution of mixed-income housing is a more equitable
distribution of community services than is found across income-segregated
communities (Gans 1968a; Sarkissian 1976). The structural advantages of improved
36


access to jobs, better schools, and public safety are clear benefits for lower-income
people who can live in higher-income areas because of mixed-income housing
(Brophy and Smith 1997) or through low-income dispersal programs such as Moving
to Opportunity (e.g., Galster and Zobel 1998; Briggs 1997).
A more equalized distribution of services and opportunities has benefits for the wider
society as well. It can be argued that economic integration will improve the physical
functioning of cities (Sarkissian 1976). A diversified housing stock means that a
wide range of workers can live in close proximity and thus better satisfy the needs of
the community and reduce the persistent housing-jobs mismatch first identified by
Kain (1968). Also, this variety can bring better public transit to more areas, and
reduce its peak use strains (Sarkissian 1976).
Mixed-income development can also contribute to improved economic and social
stability. The introduction of mixed-income housing into distressed areas can help
transform them into more economically balanced and socially functional areas. The
double benefit of being physically attractive and drawing higher-income households
to the area may be an impetus for other investment, and may help to stabilize a block
or neighborhood that had been experiencing disinvestment (Smith 2002). Further,
residential areas become more stable when they include a mix of housing costs,
tenures, sizes and types. Even if their circumstances change, residents are able to
move within the community and maintain its stability and social networks. Similarly,
the wide range of workers that can live in mixed-income areas contributes to the
general economic security and stability of the community (Sarkissian 1976). Finally,
mixed-income development can contribute to racial integration as well. Zubrinsky
Charles (2003) notes that stably integrated communities tend to be economically
diverse (201).
37


While the potential for mixed-income housing to more equitably distribute services to
needy neighborhoods is considered by most researchers to be one of the more
convincing arguments for its construction (Arthurson 2002, 248), there are a few
points of contention. First, Arthurson (2002) notes that there may be an advantage to
having special and high needs groups located together. The concentration allows
threshold levels to be reached that can attract needed special services. Also, Smith
(2002) questions the extent to which mixing incomes is required to achieve the
benefits from redeveloping housing in distressed areas. If a derelict housing project
that was a center for crime and drug activity is demolished and replaced with higher-
quality, attractive, well-managed housing, including a mix of incomes per se may not
play an important role in improving the neighborhood. Finally, Rosenbaum, Stroh
and Flynn (1998) make the important point that even if a particular project in a
distressed area undergoes major renovation and has had a mixed-income population
introduced, these changes do not
alter the economic picture of [the city] or the job market for low-
skilled or unskilled workers: they do not affect the number of good
jobs that have moved to the suburbs. They do not pour more money
into the public schools. They do not change patterns of racial
segregation...nor do they alter employers hiring practices (712).
The structural sources of poverty emphasized by Wilson (1987) cannot be
substantially lessened by a single housing development alone.
Lessons
Many studies of mixed-income housing conclude with lessons or a similarly titled
section that consists of a list of attributes that the authors have determined to be
essential to the success of the projects they reviewed (Brophy and Smith 1997;
Khadduri and Martin 1997; Myerson 2003; Ryan et al. 1974; Saldov 1991; Smith
38


2002; Wilkins 2001; Silverman, Lupton and Fenton 2005). Often these are written in
response to the challenges posed by developing mixed-income housing that had been
enumerated by the same authors. Summarizing the challenges and conclusions drawn
by the limited number of authors in the field represents the state of the art of mixed-
income housing.
There Is No Pre-Determined Appropriate Mix of Incomes
Although determining the ideal mix in mixed-income housing is a fundamental
question, at this point, researchers do not agree on an answer. However, although
Brophy and Smith (1997, 25) bluntly state, we know virtually nothing about the
optimal combination of incomes needed for successful mixed-income housing,
perhaps this is an exaggeration. One conclusion that is widely shared is that mixed-
income housing is most successful when the income gaps between residents are
moderate (Myerson 2003; Wilkins 2001; Brophy and Smith 1997; Mulroy 1991;
Saldov 1991). Rather than housing a dichotomy of affluent and poor households,
most research indicates that mixed-income housing should also include moderate-
income households to bridge the gap. Without this gradual range of incomes,
internal tensions in the development may ensue. Wilkins (2001) states that there is a
point at which the income gap can become a source of resentment for the lower-
income residents, a condition which Saldov (1991, 4) calls a relative deprivation
effect. Brophy and Smith (1997) report that projects they studied that did not have
residents with an inclusive range of incomes faced a clash of resident lifestyles, a
situation exacerbated by the fact that more lower-income households had children,
and had more of them, than the market-rate households. However, Mulroy (1991)
urges that more research is needed to determine if and when the income gap may
become too large to bridge socially (7).
39


Another conclusion that is commonly recognized among researchers is that the
number of households at each income level is not as important as the presence of
employed households (Khadduri and Martin 1997; Wilkins 2001; Rosenbaum, Stroh
and Flynn 1998; Schill 1997). According to Wilkins (2001), a number of owners
and managers have developed the opinion that a mix of 15-20 percent non-working
families in an otherwise working-family property is likely to be feasible if managed
competently (3), and that projects with higher proportions of non-working residents
are increasingly less likely to function successfully. However, a non-working
component of up to 20-40 percent is possible if the project is very intensively
managed (ibid.). He urges that the key to success of any mixed project is a policy of
leasing preference for working families, coupled with a set-aside for very low-income
households to ensure that a significant number of units are available for them.
In the wide range of developments reviewed by Brophy and Smith (1997), the actual
mix of residents was determined by the objectives of the developer, the sense of the
numbers that were needed to make the individual project successful, and the
specific financial constraints and opportunities faced by the developer.
Smith (2002) offers a useful interpretation of the notion of the correct mix of
incomes, asserting that such an assessment should be based on the primary motivation
of the developer and the context of the development. Using the definitions in his
five-part typology (mentioned above), he suggests, for example, that developers who
create a project with moderate-income inclusion often spin their projects as
workforce housing in order to overcome community objection to affordable
housing. Similarly, low-income inclusion projects use a mix that allows the
developer to build affordable units that require less subsidy and projects that are more
acceptable to the surrounding community because they must compete in quality for
higher income households. Developments with a broad range of incomes are used
40


to revitalize transitioning areas and may enhance the stability of neighborhoods by
allowing residents to stay in the community even if their economic circumstances
change. Projects that are mostly subsidized but contain a market inclusion hope to
attract higher income residents into distressed neighborhoods and achieve positive
interaction between different types of residents. These developers recognize that cost
savings will be minimal because of the additional expenses they will incur to attract
higher income households. Finally, developers who create projects with an
affordable mix seek to engender a community with a culture of work, even
though most residents have low or moderate incomes. These distinctions may be
important to developers, but research indicates that the balance of residents incomes
per se is not important to most residents of these developments.
Income Mix Is Not a Significant Issue for Residents
Despite the fact that the amount, type, range, and distribution of income mix is widely
debated among housing researchers and practitioners, numerous studies have shown
that for residents of mixed-income developments, the income mix has little or no
bearing on their residential satisfaction.
The best-known example of a study on the effects of mixed-income housing on
resident satisfaction is by Ryan et al. (1974). They examined the results of the
Massachusetts Housing Finance Authoritys (MHFA) legislated policy that all
MHFA-financed housing developments had to include a minimum of 25 percent low-
income affordable units and actively pursue racial integration. By 1997, more than
17,000 units had been developed under their model (Schwartz and Tajbakhsh 1997).
Ryan et al. (1974) evaluated 16 MHFA projects with a total of 3,200 residents, and
sought to determine the effects of income and racial mix on resident satisfaction.
41


The authors were somewhat surprised by their initial finding that residential
satisfaction was highest in the developments with the greatest income variability.
Closer inspection of a wide range of project variables revealed that this finding was
spurious: the developments with the most income variation had been developed from
the outset to attract market-rate tenants. In addition to the greatest income mix, these
developments had the highest quality design and construction, and were competently
managed (Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn 1998). The researchers determined that
income mix works, in this sense, because income mix is not a significant
determinant of satisfaction, but rather an accidental corollary of the significant
package of development and management variables that are the direct determinants of
satisfaction (Ryan et al. 1974, 18).
Significantly, MHFA project resident responses to questionnaires and interviews
revealed that group characteristics of neighborssuch as their race, income, or
agehad no bearing on residential satisfaction. According to conventional wisdom,
it was expected that residents differing income levels would result in clashes of
lifestyles, values and attitudes. Yet, Ryan et al. (1974) found no significant
differences between income levels on these measures. While income differences did
not lead to dissatisfaction, neither did they lead to significant social interaction. Most
residents had visiting-level relationships with only a few neighbors. It is unclear,
however, whether heterogeneity had any role in this finding. As Gans queried: why
do we assume that people find their friends among their neighbors? (ibid., 21).
Overall, Ryan et al. (1974) confirm the findings of most other analysts that income
mixing, per se, does not play a major role in the subjective evaluation by tenants of
the desirability of a given project (Schwartz and Tajbakhsh 1997, 80). Mulroy
(1991) concurs, emphasizing that all tenants, whether in subsidized or in market-rate
units, generally used the same criteria in determining where to live, namely: the
42


overall quality of the development and neighborhood, the amount of monthly rent
charged, and the projects accessibility to services such as stores, public amenities,
and transit. Location, not income mixing, was the most significant factor in residents
decision-making. Bryan (1974) also asserts that economic mix is a neutral factor in
residential decisions, concluding that that mixing income levels is not a deterrent to
people seeking better housing and neighborhoods, so long as the development itself is
well-designed, built, and managed (368). Consequently, both Wilkins (2001) and
Brophy and Smith (1997) conclude that generally, the fact that a development
includes an income mix should not be included in marketing efforts (but should be
disclosed to prospective residents).
High-Quality Physical Features and Management Are the Keys to
Resident Satisfaction
There is general agreement among practitioners and researchers that residential
satisfaction is derived from 1) high quality design and construction, and 2) high
quality management. The developments considered by residents to be superior in
Ryan et al.s 1974 MHFA study were: well-designed, well-constructed, located in
higher-income communities, had spacious and well laid-out apartments, had few
apartments with more than two bedrooms, and (perhaps surprisingly) had poor play
areas for children. The last two features indicate a preference for having few children
as neighbors. However, in Silverman, Lupton and Fentons (2005) study, which
focuses on the suitability of mixed-income developments for families of all incomes
with children, childrens play areas and units designed for comfortable family use (as
well as proximity to good-quality schools) are deemed essential to maintaining a
stable mix of families. Some of the physical characteristics of successful projects
noted by Khadduri and Martin (1997) include design that fits in physically with the
surrounding neighborhood; the presence of adjacent, low-traffic commercial spaces to
43


help with security; a vest-pocket park near the entrance that is controlled by the
management of the project; and window boxes. Generally, desirable projects have
the curb appeal of luxury housing (ibid., 58).
The role of physical design is particularly pronounced in projects that are extensively
renovated. Lake Parc Place in Chicago was transformed from a derelict public
housing project to a much higher quality mixed-income development. Because the
project redevelopment was carried out by the Chicago Housing Authority who had
previously focused entirely on minimum-cost housing, they consulted with market-
rate developers to determine what amenities must be included in order to attract more
affluent residents. Some of the new additions included ceiling fans, mini-blinds,
wooden kitchen cabinets, on-site laundry and site improvements such as higher-
quality landscaping and playgrounds, and better security. While these may seem like
modest additions, they were truly luxurious for residents whose former units did not
even include shower heads or closet doors (Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn 1998).
Researchers report that these relatively dramatic physical improvements and the
positive media attention garnered by the project may have created a Hawthorne
effect that produced high levels of tenant satisfaction (Nyden 1998). Although the
intention of the developers of Lake Parc Place was to evince normative behavior
changes through the introduction of higher income households, Nyden suggests that
the sense of pride, control, and ownership residents felt as a result of the physical
changes to the project may be more important contributors to the higher quality of life
at the project.
Researchers (Smith 2002; Wilkins 2001; Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn 1998; Brophy
and Smith 1997; Khadduri and Martin 1997; Mulroy 1991) agree that the complexity
of housing a mixed-income population demands that these developments be managed
with exceptional competence. Brophy and Smith (1997) enumerate some of the
44


critical management qualities derived from their research. Managers must establish
strong, clear rules and enforce them routinely and quickly. There must be prompt
response to maintenance calls and a consistent, high level of property upkeep.
Careful attention must be paid to security, including maintaining the front desk,
incorporating security guards, and using electronic security measures. Noise control
policies are especially important to enforce. Strong management in general is critical
in order to build a sense of shared culture in the building (ibid.). Wilkins (2001)
notes that higher property management fees should be charged to allow for the
difficulty factor in mixed-income projects. Further, he urges that management
should support appropriate non-housing services, especially in riskier projects with
higher proportions of needy households. Mulroy (1991) found that a key
management role at all of the mixed-income projects reviewed in her study was
careful tenant selection. Managers sought tenants who would play by the rules and
would not need to be evicted. All prospective tenants had to provide references from
previous landlords, record of their credit or employment history, and an income
check. At one development studied, managers also made visits to the homes of
prospective subsidized unit tenants to assess their standards of property care (ibid.,
6). At Lake Parc Place, managers not only screened residents on the above items, but
additionally checked police records and even sought personal references and
recommendations from the administrators at the schools attended by the children of
prospective tenants (Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn 1998). The results of this heavy-
handed screening process were high occupancy rates and stable tenancies (cf. Popkin,
Cunningham and Burt 2005). The low unit turnover and guaranteed rent from the
subsidized units helped to offset the additional management costs incurred in these
projects. Similarly, at Lake Parc Place, additional management efforts paid off
through better rent collection rates and less vandalism (Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn
1998).
45


Wilkins (2001) emphasizes the need for managers of mixed-income projects to
particularly insist on high standards for resident conduct. The experience of Lake
Parc Place demonstrates that while mixed-income developments demand this, they
also facilitate it by their very nature. Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn (1998) report that
the residents in the unsubsidized units in that development formed a near-unanimous
constituency in support of managements rules (725) and thus positively influenced
the quality of life in the development. While the majority (70 percent) of residents in
the subsidized units also supported rule enforcement, the dissenting group was large
enough to have caused problems without the strong normative consensus (725)
provided by the management and the more affluent residents. However, I concur
with Vale (1998), who disputes the implied assumption that people with slightly
higher incomes automatically behave better than those who are more needy, and that
mixed-income housing [is] a necessary tool for moral surveillance (752).
Location, Location, Location
The physical features and management practices of a mixed-income development are
clearly crucial to its success, by any measure. The question remains, however,
whether the benefits of a good development by itself are enough to overcome the
detriments of an undesirable neighborhood. Wilkins (2001) asserts that a good
location, i.e., a neighborhood with good schools, a low crime rate, and access to jobs,
is basically a prerequisite (11) for a successful mixed-income project. Brophy and
Smith (1997) agree that this type of development is seriously challenged when a
project is located in a neighborhood that makes it very difficult for management to set
behavioral norms. In their sweeping overview of HUD mixed-income developments,
however, Khadduri and Martin (1997) observe that while most of those projects are
found in low-poverty census tracts, 20-30 percent of them are in tracts with poverty
rates of 30 percent or higher. While better neighborhoods will more easily attract
46


market-rate residents, they do not believe that being in a high-poverty area makes
sustaining a mixed-income project impossible (ibid.).
Nonetheless, the real estate adage location, location, location is a valid maxim for
developers of mixed-income housing to follow. Building in a marginal neighborhood
because of inexpensive land is probably counterproductive for profit-minded
developers, according to Wilkins (2001). Such a situation will require greater
development and marketing costs, very intensive management, and will probably
demand more significant non-housing services for residents. Brophy and Smith
(1997) agree that it is usually important for mixed-income projects to be sited in
desirable areas in order to attract market-rate renters who have control over their
housing location.
This may present a challenge to mixed-income housing development, as developers
and financial supporters of programs such as HOPE VI often cite wider neighborhood
revitalization as their motivation. Brophy and Smiths (1997) review of a variety of
mixed-income developments showed that building in marginal neighborhoods can
work when the project was bounded from the existing community by a natural (e.g.,
hill or water) or man-made (e.g., highway) feature, or when the project was large
enough that it created a market or neighborhood with its own unique character. Also,
these developments were most successful when they were located with good access to
employment centers or universities that drew a pool of young, market-rate renters
who had less bias against living in a formerly blighted area. Lake Parc Place in
Chicago, for example, was built in the poorest census tract in the city (more than 70
percent poverty in 1990) yet was able to attract a substantial number of working,
moderate-income households because of its desirable location on Lake Michigan and
close proximity to downtown Chicago (Rosenbaum, Stroh and Flynn 1998).
Khadduri and Martins 1997 study suggests that special market conditions or the
47


presence of large numbers of recent immigrants can also make a mixed-income
project viable in a high-poverty area. Further, special rent incentives and additional
security features may be useful for attracting more affluent households if the project
is located in a high-poverty or declining area.
Pro-Active Financial Policies Are Essential for Continued Development
Most researchers agree that innovative, unconventional financial instruments are
essential for the successful development of mixed-income housing (Schwartz and
Tajbakhsh 1997; Bryan 1974; Myerson 2003). Bryan adds that no matter what
financing is available, developers of this type of housing also need to have a social
motivation that makes the human and community needs at least equal in priority to
the economic return on investment. Myerson (2003) gives a partial list of the various
legislative, financial, and government program tools that are available to developers.
Some examples of regulatory assistance that encourages (or requires) developers to
incorporate a mix of incomes include inclusionary zoning ordinances, modified
subdivision regulations, and modified building codes. Local and state governments
may also provide technical assistance to developers to help them access incentives,
deal with the complexities of financing mixed-income projects, and tap into
government programs. Examples of mixed finance (ibid., 11) instruments include
tax-exempt bonds, tax credits, housing trust funds, and tax-increment financing.
Government programs available for developers include HOME Investment
Partnerships, Community Development Block Grants, and Low-Income Housing Tax
Credits.
48


Conclusion
Evaluation of mixed-income housing is difficult due to the limited amount of research
literature that has been produced specifically about it to date. Nonetheless,
contemporary policy emphasis on this type of developmentas well as the nexus of
ideological debate it has becomemeans a thorough review of the topic is warranted.
The field presents a challenge because there are two conflicting streams of common
knowledge on residential income diversity. First, as evidenced, for example, by the
extreme price-point segregation of new suburban housing in the U.S., there is a strong
belief that consumers prefer income-homogeneousas well as socially and racially
homogeneoushousing. On the other hand, the movement toward mixed-income
housing is based on the widely-held belief that mixed-income, multifamily housing is
preferable to housing in which large numbers of low-income residents are clustered
together (Brophy and Smith 1997, 4).
Similarly, there are effective but conflicting arguments regarding the necessity and
true impact of mixed-income housing. Some authors assert that income mixing is
politically and financially appealing but socially unnecessary (Vale 1998, 749).
That is, if you provide very low-income people with good management, a good
living environment, good maintenance, and housing that blends in, mixed income
may not be necessary (Smith 2002, 21). Whether or not the necessity of mixed-
income development or its effectiveness in producing documented social benefits can
be demonstrated, evidence has indicated that mixed-income projects have opened
the way for lower-income people, with subsidy support, to escape from slum areas
and become part of a broader community environment (Bryan 1974, 374). The
experience of Chicagos Lake Parc Place confirms that even in economically
depressed communities, socially mixed public housing developments can be places
49


where children can grow up in safe and sanitary surroundings without living in
constant fear for their lives (Schill 1997, 152).
In conclusion, while mixed-income housing is not a silver bullet to overcoming the
difficult challenges faced by families seeking to escape from poverty or the realities
of housing markets (Smith 2002, iii),
not until developers and public officials value economic integration as
a societal benefit and forge the financing tools to implement it will the
goal first proclaimed in the National Housing Act of 1949a decent
home and suitable living environment for every American familybe
realizable (Mulroy 1991, 7).
50


CHAPTER 3
THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AGENCY AND STRUCTURE
The Micro/Macro Debate
The literature reviewed in this dissertation comes from a range of disciplines and
schools of thought. Each of the theories described is limited by the perspective of its
discipline of origin. To be useful as a body of knowledge and applicable to policy
formation, there must be first, an understanding of the differing theoretical
perspectives, and second, an effort to integrate them. The conceptual model
presented in Chapter 6 is a contribution toward the latter goal. The following
discussion introduces a way to begin conceptualizing the differing perspectives held
by the theories that are reviewed in this and the next two chapters.
A key challenge with exploring the potential merits of mixed-income housing is
outlining the existing perceived problems, and then assessing whether mixed-income
development is the appropriate vehicle for alleviating these issues. While research
and theory can be helpful in these tasks, the practitioner or policy-maker will often
find themselves needing to reconcile dichotomous theoretical perspectives about both
causewhether the problems are generated by individuals or by society as a whole
and effectwhether the outcomes of an intervention will benefit or harm individuals
or the larger society equally or differentially. These differing perspectives can be
termed microsociological and macrosociological.
51


Briefly, microsociological theories explain human relations in terms of the
psychological and social interaction processes underlying them. Larger social
patterns are perceived to be aggregations of individual motivations and behaviors
(Blau 1977). Micro-level considerations include encounters and patterned
interaction among individuals (which would include communication, exchange,
cooperation, and conflict) (Munch and Smelser 1987, 357).
Macrosociological theories, alternatively, explain individuals social relations in
terms of the differentiation of the wider social structure. Relations are attributed to
the multi-dimensional structure of different social positions and institutions among
which the population is distributed (Blau 1977). Macro-level factors are those
structures in society (groups, organizations, institutions, and cultural productions) that
are sustained (however imperfectly) by mechanisms of social control and that
constitute both opportunities and constraints on individual behavior and interactions
(Munch and Smelser 1987, 357).
The fundamental question to be asked of a theoretical text (or larger theoretical
tradition) is the perceived source of social patterns. If they thought to be produced by
the cumulative actions of individuals, the theory privileges microsociological
processes; if the source is thought to be external to individuals, implying the actor is
subject to collective circumstances, it is a macrosociological perspective (Alexander
and Geisen 1987). Another way to make the distinction is to ask whether macro-scale
patterns are thought to require micro-scale foundations (Calhoun and Scott 1990).
These two perspectives are a reflection of some of the core debates in Western
thought, e.g., whether the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and whether the
society/ state has primacy over individuals rights. The ontological corollary is
52


whether knowledge is located outside the actorprompting rational actionor
within the actor, generating interpretive action (Alexander and Geisen 1987).
This introduces a second, closely related theoretical dichotomy: the source of
individual behaviors. Whereas the micro versus macro debate pertains to the order of
society, the rational (objective) versus interpretive (subjective) debate is a question of
action. These two debates inform each other: social structures can be seen as both
emerging from and constraining social interactions. Further, the degree to which one
perceives humans to be knowledgeable actors produces different macrosociological
notions (Calhoun and Scott 1990).
This intertwining of cause and effect has led to increasingly persistent calls for
linkage between microsociological and macrosociological theories. The debate has
deep roots, however, and attempts to join the two sides have been halting. Marx, for
example, established an extremely influential, purely structuralist
macrosociological perspective, asserting that individual actions are dictated by
macrosociological structuresnamely, capitalism. Durkheim wrestled with the
dichotomy, and eventually concluded that action is subjective, but controlled at a
macrosociological scale through the influence of social consciousness on individuals.
Mead and Freud, alternatively, established powerful arguments for subjective action
and the resulting primacy of microsociological forces (Alexander and Geisen 1987).
Weber was the first classical sociologist to synthesize the two positions on order and
action. His focus on institutions emphasized the patterns within them, and thus his
theorizing move[d] back and forth, naturally and fluidly, between the macroanalysis
of ideational complexes and institutional systems and the microanalysis of how
individuals within such situations make interpretations and purposefully act
(Alexander and Geisen 1987, 16). Parsons also made important contributions to
53


linkage by sociologizing Freuds psychoanalytic theory while psychologizing macro-
level processes (ibid.). Despite the forward progress made by Weber, Parsons, and
others, social circumstances such as urban unrest and the spread of the American
ideological emphasis on individual freedom, have made it difficult for linkage
theories to gain a foothold (ibid.). Nonetheless, several social theorists are continuing
to seek theoretical synthesis that transcends boundaries of paradigm, discipline, and
theory.
Although he does not explicitly use the terms micro- or macrosociology, I would
argue that Michelsons (1976) intersystem congruence model is an excellent example
of such linkage. He recognized that social scientists had typically conceived of
society according to (often, one of) three systems. These separate but impinging
systems include cultural (including the rules and goals by which social behavior is
guided), social (peoples relations to each other in social groups), and psychological
(individual predispositions to certain behaviors). To these, Michelson added the
environmental system, arguing that the built environment becomes a major
explanatory variable of both social behavior and social structure as people rationally
seek to best match a specific social, cultural, or personality variable with a planned
setting (25). Significantly, Michelsons resulting intersystem congruence model
does not set up a hierarchy of variables or systems, but takes each factor on its own
terms without assuming the direction of its influence on other variables.
In agreement with Michelson, I approach the study of mixed-income housing as
social theory grounded in the physical plane, where space becomes an important
variable; housing is not simply a neutral container for social activity. The way that the
built environment is divided, distributed and accessed both has social impact and is a
result of social factors. Thus, understanding the goals and outcomes of socially-
mixed housing must account for both micro- and macro-level processes.
54


This chapter takes up the linkage challenge by interrogating the balance between
individuals ability to independently influence the course of their lifetheir agency
and the extent of the role played by the wider social structure. Given that mixed-
income housing, in the context of this dissertation, by definition involves low-income
households, this chapter reviews the ideological debate over the nature of poverty in
the United States. The competing conceptualizations of poverty being a result of
individual behaviors versus being due to inequities in the wider political/economic
structure is interpreted as a reflection of the contest between macro and micro schools
of sociological thought.
Characterizations of Poverty in the United States
The nature of poverty has been an enduring subject among social observers for
centuries. The tide of public and official opinion has rolled in and out over time
liberal to conservative, compassionate to corporal, religious to economic. A thorough
understanding of the ways poverty has been characterized in the U.S. is necessary in
order to assess policy decisions across a range of issues which affect the lives of the
poor, including housing. The assumed causes of poverty dictate conceptual
approaches and proposed solutions to this enduring social problem.
Katz (1993) identified six long-standing points of contention that are the source of the
persistent debates over poverty. These include:
1. the extent to which individuals are responsible for their own poverty, or the
balance between individual agency and structural forces
2. the role of culture in perpetuating poverty and dependence
3. the contribution of family structure, organization, and modes of child rearing
to developing and reproducing social pathologies
55


4. the influence of ecology, or environment, on behavior
5. the capacity of institutions to counteract the influence of family and
neighborhood, and why institutions so often fail to fulfill their missions
6. why poverty persists despite public policy and whether policy has, in fact,
made matters worse
Conflicting answers to these questions about the causes of persistent poverty are
reflected in the various approaches that have been proposed to address it. Underlying
them all is the same indelible question: what are the limits of social obligation?
For centuries, a common approach to answering this question began with sorting the
poor into moral categories determining them to be either undeserving or
deserving of societys assistance. The undeserving are those who are not only
deficient in basic skills and aptitudes, but are apathetic, indolent, and lack the
fortitude for self-improvement (Gans 1969). These paupers (Schwartz 2000) are
able-bodied people who lack self-responsibility and often exhibit immoral or deviant
behavior. The deserving poor, alternatively, are perceived to be deprived of the
necessities of life through circumstances often beyond their control (e.g., widows,
children, the disabled, the elderly). The able-bodied poor may also be considered
deserving if they exhibit the virtues of diligence, temperance, thrift, and family
responsibility (ibid.). Although the need to carefully distribute scarce resources is
often cited as the practical reason for making this distinction, it is often employed as a
way to attribute blame. Specifically, the flawed morality of the poor has often been
judged to be the source of their condition (Foucault 1965; Katz 1993; Schwartz
2000). This determination has important policy implications, for
if the poor are deserving, they are obviously entitled to admittance into
the affluent society as equals, with all the economic, social, and
political redistribution this entails; if they are undeserving, they need
56


not be admitted, or at least not until they have been made or have
made themselves deserving (Gans 1969, 202).
In recent years, the discussion of the morality of the poor has most often taken the
form of a debate over whether there is a culture of poverty that engenders immoral
behavior and avoidable dependency.
Culture of Poverty Thesis
In the 1940s and 50s, social scientists were working toward expanding Darwins
biological determinism ideas into the concept of social determinism (Rainwater
1970). Rainwater cites examples from Allison Davis, Talcott Parsons, Walter Miller,
and other leading social scientists of the period who attributed the behavior of the
poor to adaptations they made in response to their social environment. Further, these
behaviors were seen as rational within their environment and were reinforced through
contextualized rewards (Rainwater 1969; 1970). Oscar Lewis began to refine these
ideas into the concept of a culture of poverty in the late 1950s. As an
anthropologist, Lewis sought to understand poverty as a culture with its own
structure, as a way of life passed down through each generation. He identified about
70 interrelated social, economic, and psychological traits that together, he argues,
form a distinctive culture of poverty. These traits are arrayed across four general
areas, including the relationship between the poor and the larger society, the nature of
slum communities, the nature of poor families, and the attitudes, values and character
structure of poor individuals (Lewis 1969). While many poor people might exhibit
one or more of its characteristics, Lewis believes that a true culture of poverty only
exists among the poorest of the poor (Rainwater 1970). To Lewis, the culture of
poverty is both an adaptation and a reaction of the poor to their marginal position in
a class-stratified, highly individuated, capitalistic society (Lewis 1969, 188). He
characterizes it as an effort to cope with the feelings of hopelessness and despair that
57


develop from the realization of the improbability of achieving success in terms of the
values and goals of the larger society and can be viewed as an attempt to derive local
solutions to problems (Lewis 1969, 188; Gans 1969). It is a self-perpetuating
culture because it is transmitted to children, resulting in the fact that by the time
slum children are age six or seven, they have usually absorbed the basic values and
attitudes of their subculture and are not psychologically geared to take full advantage
of the changing conditions or increased opportunities that may occur in their lifetime
(Lewis 1969, 188). Significantly, Lewis recognizes that this culture persists in
response to the capitalist structure of the larger society and that there is nothing in
the concept that puts the onus of poverty on the character of the poor (ibid., 199).
However, due to the ingrained nature of the world views, aspirations, and child-
rearing practices of members of the culture of poverty, simply creating improved
economic opportunities for them will not quickly eliminate their culture; yet, it will
not ever fade without these structural changes (Gans 1969).
Lee Rainwater called Lewis culture of poverty formulation the most influential
concept of the past two decades for trying to make sense out of the situation of the
American poor (Rainwater 1970, 133). Rainwater advanced the concept by
emphasizing the notion of a subculture of poverty within the larger American culture.
He identifies two different perspectives on the distinctiveness of lower-class norms
and values in relation to those held by conventional society. First, according to
Allison Davis and Walter Miller, the poor simply have a distinctive culture, one
which limits and patterns the learning environment for both children and adults,
and colors attitudes about realistic expectations, normative values, and satisfactory
rewards. Alternatively, Talcott Parsons and R.K. Merton argue that American society
comprises a single, integrated value system that applies the same symbols of success
to everyone, no matter their class. This reality affects the behavior of the poor, who
may resort to deviance in pursuit of these goals that are relatively unattainable to
58


them. Hyman Rodman combined these two perspectives in his 1963 concept of the
lower-class value stretch, which argues that the poor have not abandoned
mainstream values, but instead have stretched them or developed alternatives which
enable the lower class to adjust to the deprived nature of their circumstances
(Rainwater 1970). This dual recognition by the lower class of their unique class-
based modifications of conventional values as well as the norms of the wider society
forms a lower-class subculture, a pattern of existential and evaluative
elements.. .distinctive to a particular group in a large collectivity and consequential
for the way its behavior differs from that of other groups in the collectivity (ibid.,
141).
Like Lewis (1969), Rainwater urges that it is of limited value to focus on the lower-
class subculture without considering the larger social, economic, and ecological
setting to which it was adapted. However, he notes that middle-class Americans are
almost totally unwilling to admit any complicity in creating the ecological conditions
to which the poor must adapt. In our society, lower class people are deprived of a
right that even the most uncivilized and primitive people...accord their members.
That is, the right to consider oneself and to be considered by others a worthwhile and
valid representative of the human race (Rainwater 1969, 248). The policy
perspective of the Johnson Administrations War on Povertynamely, that simply
providing opportunities for the poor to lift themselves out of poverty (such as through
job training programs) would be enough to enable them to achieve mainstream
goalsfailed, according to Rainwater, because the pre-existing lower-class
subcultural adaptations made such means programs distrusted or meaningless.
Instead, he urges that before programs such as these can be successful, the wider
social and ecological situation must first be changed, reducing relative deprivations
between the classes, and thus enabling the lower-class subculture itself to evolve and
become more aligned with mainstream society (ibid., 250). Rainwater is thus
59


asserting a macrosociological perspective in which individual actions are primarily
facilitated by structural conditions.
Katz maintains that the 1960s writers who established the culture of poverty idea
actually intended that the concept be put to liberal, activist use. Instead, the idea
became a euphemism for the pathology of the undeserving poor and an excuse for
both inaction and punitive policy (Katz 1993, 13). Banfield (1974) embodies this
attitude.
Banfield (1974) argues that the trait that most accurately defines each socioeconomic
class is their psychological orientation toward the future. He perceives the lower
class as having an extreme present-orientation. Their tendency to live from moment
to moment results in irresponsibility, poor work skills and attitudes, and a general
unwillingness or inability to consider the future, which also makes them poor spouses
and parents. Banfield makes two different arguments about the source of such class-
based characteristics: social heredity (shared group experience translated into
cultural patterns) and situational factors (similar experiences resulting in similar
attitudes and perceptions) (55). Notably, both of these sources are social, not
biological. Banfield lists several traits that he believes are associated with each class,
all of which derive from their unique time horizon. He does not consider a single
lower-class trait to be positive (e.g., they are anti-community, impulsive, and poor
parents); in fact he summarizes the lower class as pathological and all other classes
as normal (63). Whereas Lewis and Rainwater seem to respect the poor for
developing a relatively stable, cultural adaptation to their circumstances and the
structure of society, Banfield appears to blame the character of lower class
individuals for their circumstances. He takes as evidence the fact that they live in
the slum, which, to a greater or lesser extent, is an expression of [their] tastes and
style of life (71). To Banfield, lower class people simply are not troubled by dirt or
60


dilapidation, nor do they mind having poor facilities such as schools, parks, or
hospitals. Rather, they prefer the degraded slum as they find it exciting and full of
opportunity for vice and criminal behavior. Moreover, in the slum, one can beat
ones children, lie drunk in the gutter, or go to jail without attracting any special
notice; these are things that most of the neighbors themselves have done and that they
consider quite normal (72).
As a result of believing that the lower class simply has an irredeemable outlook and
style of life which is radically present-oriented and which therefore attaches no value
to work, sacrifice, self-improvement, or service to family, friends, or community
(235), Banfield makes policy suggestions which would do almost nothing to improve
the circumstances of the poor, but instead try to keep them from infecting their
children or harming the rest of society. He argues, for example, a poor child should
be taken from its lower-class parents at a very early age and brought up by people
whose culture is normal (251-2). However, recognizing that this might interfere
with parental rights, he suggests that the simplest way to deal with the problemand
one which would not involve any infringement of parents rightswould be to permit
the sale of infants and children to qualified bidders both private and public (253).
He further suggests that the hardest cases among the lower classes be considered
only semi-competent and thus be semi-institutionalized or imprisoned (258).
This recalls Foucaults description of the British and French treatment of the poor
during the Age of Reason. The Confinement of the poor and the insane together
with criminals together was established by a French royal edict in 1656. It was only
one of several measures that advanced the criminalization of poverty and organized
into a complex unity a new sensibility to poverty and to the duties of
assistance, new forms of reaction to the economic problems of
unemployment and idleness, a new ethic of work, and also the dream
61


of a city where moral obligation was joined to civil law, within the
authoritarian forms of constraint (Foucault 1965, 46).
Banfield feels that his suggestions would be untenable simply because the
government has a perverse tendency to adopt the wrong measures due to an
inappropriate sense of service and responsibility to the community (261).
Rather than condemn the poor directly because of their culture of poverty, another
policy-oriented social scientist blamed the welfare system for creating an
intergenerational pattern of dependence. Murrays Losing Ground: American Social
Policy 1950-1980 (1984) argued that welfare programs were the source of a culture of
poverty that was defined not by income, but by behavior; the policies themselves had
eroded the will to work and the incentives for stable family life (Katz 1993). The
prime culprit was Lyndon Johnsons War on Poverty, which represented a
fundamental shift in assumptions about social policy. Murray describes that in the
reform period, 1964-1967, social policy went from having the goal of ending the
dole to the institution of a system of permanent income transfers. There were four
forces behind this shift. First, a strong, growing economy both led some to question
why the rising tide was not lifting all boats, and made it possible to fund social
programs. Second, the introduction of the concept of structural poverty provided a
respectable rationale for establishing that poverty was not the fault of the poor. Third,
despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, worsening race riots led to
policies to control the restiveness of blacks, and the shift from a hand, not a
handout to income transfers was in the nature of a bribe (Murray 1984, 30).
Finally, analysis of the original, supply-side, opportunity-oriented anti-poverty
program proved it to be a failure, according to Murray. Overall, these forces led to a
belief that something was wrong with the American system itself, and if left
unmodified, it would perpetuate unacceptable inequality and discriminatory behavior.
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Murray argued that the revised welfare system, which expanded eligibility even to
low-income working households, had built-in incentives to fail, including a focus
on short-term gains, lax criminal punishment, and weak association between
educational achievement and success. The system homogenized the poor, lumping
them all together as victims and abandoning the historic distinction between the
self-reliant and the indolent. Whereas in the past, working conferred status by
indicating that the worker was an asset to the community and enabling the worker to
have a higher standard of living, this systemic shift changed attitudes toward welfare:
any stigma associated with it was lifted since the fault lay with the system, not the
individual. This official sanction to reject personal responsibility for ones failures
and successes, as well as the implied expectation of failure and the isolation of the
ghetto from mainstream culture all promoted defeatist attitudes within poor
communities and threatened the work ethic. The new welfare system changed the
notion of status in poor communities by withdrawing approbation from the working
but low-income family, as well as from the behaviors that enable an escape from
poverty more generally. Murray thus assumes that macro-level factors have near total
control over the micro-level behaviors of individuals.
Consequently, Murrays policy suggestion for ending this officially-created culture of
poverty is straightforward and abrupt: the United States should scrap
the entire federal welfare and income-support structure for working-
aged persons, including AFDC [Aid to Families with Dependent
Children], Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance,
Workers Compensation, subsidized housing, disability insurance, and
the rest. It would leave the working-aged person with no recourse
whatsoever except the job market, family members, friends, and public
or private locally-funded services (227).
Losing Ground has been called the most sophisticated statement of the culture of
poverty thesis (Greenstone 1991, 400). Wilson (1987, 16) noted that probably no
63


work has done more to promote the view that federal programs are harmful to the
poor. The books promotion of conservative themes made it well-receivedand
very influentialamong its Reagan-era audience.
However, a stream of critics were quick to point out the flaws in Murrays logic. The
major criticism is that he applies statistics and research precedents in a self-serving,
rather than accurate way, omitting key studies and evidence that are damaging to his
thesis. For example, the book blames liberal welfare policies for the rise in female-
headed households and illegitimate births. However, other well-respected researchers,
ignored by Murray, concludes that welfare simply does not appear to be the
underlying cause of the dramatic changes in family structure of the past few
decades (Wilson 1987, 81). In fact, benefit levels actually fell in real dollars during
the years the book addresses; during the 1970s, for example, the real value of AFDC
fell nearly 30 percent (Greenstein 1985). Further, Greenstein (1985) reveals that to
make the argument that welfare caused work disincentives, Murray uses data only
from Pennsylvaniaa state whose welfare benefits were twice that of the nation as a
whole. In most states, working was actually more financially beneficial to individuals
than collecting welfare. Additionally, Murray argues that despite increases in federal
spending for welfare, the poverty rate did not fall, apparently indicating that more and
more people abandoned work for welfare. However, as Greenstein (1985) points out,
the national unemployment rate in 1980 was double the 1968 rate; the fact that the
poverty rate was able to remain steady under these conditions demonstrates that the
social programs were in fact working. In general, Murray believes that poor people
react hedonistically to policy incentives and thus the system itself creates a culture of
poverty. Yet, given that the real value of welfare payments has fallen substantially
over the past several decades, something else must account for the growth of the
lower class (Greenstone 1991).
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The very notion of a culture of poverty has been widely criticized as well (Gans
1969, Wilson 1987, Greenstone 1991). Gans disputes the concept on several grounds.
First, the cultural view of poverty is derived from observations of the behavior of the
poor, yet ignores their aspirations, their values that express the desire for alternative
forms of behavior (Gans 1969, 207). Overlooking the aspirations of the lower class
leads to limited and static assumptions. Gans explains that when a behavior pattern
is identified as part of a larger and interrelated cultural system..., there is a tendency
to see the behavior pattern and its supporting norms as resistant to change and as
persisting simply because they are cultural (ibid., 209). Moreover, the ecological
circumstances surrounding todays poor are relatively recent; cultural assumptions
are being made without evidence of historical continuity (Greenstone 1991). Gans
suggests that focusing on the aspirations of the poor can lead to better policy
decisions. A microsociological understanding of the sources, the directions, and the
substance of their ambitionsnot just their current situationscan foster more asset-
based policies and the creation of opportunities that can facilitate individual agency
and eventually lead to cultural changes.
Second, Gans recognizes that the assertion of a culture of poverty is merely a
reworking of the ancient deserving-versus-undeserving poor argument. Authors like
Banfield and his supporters perceive the values of the poor to be deviant, and thus the
source of their problems. The cultural characterization opens the door for character
judgments: if the poor choose to reject the basic American belief in personal
responsibility, then the affluent are justified in passing moral judgment on them.
However, Gans is alert to the class bias in this perspective, and asserts that
deservingness is.. .not an absolute moral concept but a means of preventing one
groups access to the rights and resources of another (Gans 1969, 204). Specifically,
65


if the culture of poverty is defined as those cultural patterns that keep
people poor, it would be necessary to also include in the term the
persisting cultural patterns among the affluent that, deliberately or not,
keep their fellow citizens poor. When the concept of a culture of
poverty is applied only to the poor, the onus for change falls too much
on them, when in reality the prime obstacles to the elimination of
poverty lie in an economic, political, and social structure that operates
to protect and increase the wealth of the already affluent (Gans 1969,
216).
The conservative interpretation of the culture of poverty asserts that the values and
attitudes of the lower class make it all but impossible for them to develop the
behavior patterns and attitudes that would enable them to succeed in mainstream,
affluent society. The policy consequence of this blaming the victim (Ryan 1971)
view is that efforts to enhance the life chances of the poor require first changing their
traits (e.g., mandatory workfare assumes that the poor lack a work ethic). As Wilson
notes, this philosophy resonate(s) with the basic belief system in the United States
about the nature and causes of poverty and welfare which.. .frames economic and
social outcomes strictly in individualist terms (Hughes 1989, 189). In other words,
this microsociological characterization of poverty assumes that the flawed, subjective
actions of the poor are the cause of their situation.
Alternatively, the liberal approach to the culture of poverty is to emphasize that
behaviors of the lower class are simply modes of adaptation to the macro-economic
and social structure into which they are bom (Gans 1969). The deviant behavior
arising from lower-class cultural values should therefore be considered a symptom of
class and racial inequality. Consequently, the policy premise is that despite their
reality, the poor share the values and aspirations of affluent society, and if the
economic/ political structure allowed them to access decent jobs and resources, they
would cease to suffer from the pathological consequences of poverty (Gans 1969).
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No matter which interpretation of the culture of poverty is upheld, however, the
general focus of this conceptualization of poverty is explaining the motivations of the
poor and determining how best to reform them. Consequently, this paradigm
downplays the role of the American socioeconomic/ political structure in the
perpetuation of poverty.
Structural Thesis
The (unintended) 1965 publication of a confidential report written by the Assistant
Secretary of Labor, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, entitled The Negro Family: The Case
for National Action, brought the culture of poverty thesis crashing into the civil rights
movement. Without using the phrase, the report used culture of poverty arguments to
explain the conditions in the inner-city ghetto. Civil rights leaders publicly declared
the report to be offensive, empirically flawed, denigrating, and guilty of deflecting the
blame for poverty onto its victims (Katz 1993). The report was so controversial that
it curtailed serious research on inner-city and minority problems for a decade; it
discredited the culture of poverty thesis and removed it from the research agenda as
well (Wilson 1987).
Liberal researchers reacted in four principle ways to the fallout over the Moynihan
report (Wilson 1987). First, they began to avoid describing any behavior that might
be seen as stigmatizing for fear of fueling racist arguments or being accused of
blaming the victim (Ryan 1971). Second, they refrained from using terms such as
underclass because of the tendency for such terms to homogenize the poor. Third,
they endeavored to deny the existence of an underclass by 1) emphasizing the
positive aspects of the black community such as their abilities to survive under
adverse conditions, and 2) asserting that only a small percentage of poor Americans
were chronically dependent on government handouts. Finally, it became common for
67


researchers to blame racism generally for the adverse conditions in urban ghettos, an
approach which Wilson faults for short-sightedness and over-simplification (Wilson
1987).
The publication of Murrays Losing Ground in 1984 provided the spark for a liberal
revival that was set ablaze by publication of Wilsons The Truly Disadvantaged in
1987. Wilsons text has been called the most influential scholarly book on
contemporary American poverty (Katz 1993, 17), and its author easily the most
influential contemporary analyst of the lower class (Hughes 1989, 188). Wilsons
contribution was to help return poverty to the national agenda and revive a research
topic that had been nearly dormant since the publication of the Moynihan report.
Moreover, his assertion of the structural thesis of urban poverty represented the
strongest argument against the notion of a culture of poverty to date (ibid.).
Wilsons work does not purport to address all poverty in the United States; rather, he
focuses solely on the urban underclass. Wilson defines this group to include
individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-
term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals
who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior,
and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/ or
welfare dependency (Wilson 1987, 8),
and are by definition, typically black. Wilsons conceptualization is a more
generalized version of Aulettas 1982 description of the underclass as a relatively
permanent minority among the poor who fall into four categories: the passive, who
are long-term welfare recipients; the hostile, who are street criminals, dropouts, and
drug addicts; hustlers, who earn their living in the underground economy; and the
traumatized, a group which includes drunks, addicts, drifters, bag ladies and the
mentally ill homeless (Katz 1993). Thanks to the strength of Wilsons concept, it has
68


been accepted by many social observers that during the 1970s, the ghetto gave birth
to the underclass (Massey and Denton 1993, 61).
The structural thesis asserts that underclass behaviors are rational reactions to an
economic and social macro-structure that systematically imposes constraints and
limits opportunities for ghetto residents (Greenstone 1991). Prior to the 1960s, inner-
city neighborhoods were relatively economically and socially integrated, which
enhanced the stability and organization of these communities. When middle and
working-class families began their exodus to the suburbs in the wake of the urban
crises of the 60s, the urban neighborhoods they left behind faced increasingly high
concentrations of the most disadvantaged households (Bartelt 1993). Moreover, the
historic ecological and discriminatory patterns of urban development that resulted in
the dependent relationship between inner-city ghettos and manufacturing districts
were upended when the American economic structure changed and manufacturing
jobs were either decentralized, moved to another country, or dissolved entirely
(Greenstone 1991; Bartelt 1993; Sugrue 1993). The large-scale changes in the labor
market and the increasing suburbanization of the upper classes resulted in the spatial
concentration and isolation of the underclass (Gans 1990). Wilsons transformation
hypothesis is that systemic economic changes disproportionately impacted the inner
city and radically increased the deprivation of the ghetto in relation to other
metropolitan areas (Hughes 1989, 192). Specifically, the result of these structural
changes was a dramatic increase in black male joblessness and the subsequent
creation of an underclass.
These structural, economic shifts engender urban poverty through three interrelated
factors: racism, economic marginality, and social isolation. Together, these forces
represent social exclusion, a notion that has replaced that pejorative U.S. import,
the underclass in discussions about the poor (Byrne 1999, 1) in much
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contemporaryespecially Europeanliterature. However, echoing Wilsons use of
underclass instead of a simplified notion of poverty to indicate the broader,
systemic implications of the interaction of the forces of marginalization, discussions
of social exclusion also emphasize the impact of the sense of social isolation and
segregation from the formal structures and institutions of the economy, society, and
the state (Somerville 1998, 762). In this sense, the term emphasizes the influence of
macrosociological factors over individual actions.
Social exclusion is
a multi-dimensional process, in which various forms of exclusion are
combined: participation in decision making and political processes,
access to employment and material resources, and integration into
common cultural processes. When combined, they create acute forms
of exclusion that find a spatial manifestation in particular
neighborhoods (Byrne 1999, 2).
Somerville (1998) presents two prevalent meanings of the term, one referring to
exclusion from the labor market, and the other addressing the denial of social
citizenship status to certain groups.
Because his observations were limited to the American urban context, Wilson
asserted that the underclass was made up of only inner-city blacks. However, most
European writers recognize a wider variety of socially excluded groups and thus treat
the issue of racial and ethnic discrimination more broadly. Nonetheless, because
racial residential segregation is the principal structural feature of American society
responsible for the perpetuation of urban poverty and represents a primary cause of
racial inequality in the U.S. (Massey and Denton 1993, cited in Byrne 1999, 113),
Americas unique black-white racial tensions cannot be ignored when discussing
poverty in this country. Wilson emphasizes the need to distinguish between the
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effects of historic and contemporary racial discrimination. He believes that
contemporary racism, or the conscious refusal of whites to accept blacks as equal
human beings and their willful, systematic effort to deny blacks equal opportunity
(Wilson 1987, 10) is an insufficient explanation for the recent economic changes in
the inner city. He notes that because a) a racially unequal economic structure would
still exist even if all racists suddenly changed their views, and b) black unemployment
has increased dramatically despite the sweeping civil rights legislation passed in the
1960s, it is historic discrimination that has the most significant impact on the
condition of the underclass. Racial division of labor has been created due to
decades, even centuries, of discrimination and prejudice (ibid., 12) and is reinforced
because those in the low-wage sector of the economy are more adversely affected by
impersonal economic shifts of the economy. The structural thesis asserts, then, that it
is not current, micro-level racial bias that can be blamed for the composition of
todays poorest classes; rather, it is racism as a macro-level occupational hierarchy
rooted in history and institutionalized in the labor market (ibid., 11) that creates the
structural obstacles to social and economic mobility.
Both the social exclusion literature and Wilsons presentation of the structural thesis
of urban poverty emphasize the role of economic marginalization in the perpetuation
of poverty. In a study of official British policy documents addressing social
exclusion, Levitas (1996) noted that the main association drawn was between social
exclusion and unemployment, rather than between exclusion and poverty. In the
United States and in other developed nations, the major transformation of the
economy from goods processing to information processing has created jobs with high
educational requirements while the jobs suitable to unskilled workers or those with
low education levels have either disappeared or moved out to the suburbs (Wilson
1987). This has resulted in both absolute levels of unemployment among inner-city
ghetto residents, and a spatial mismatch between the location of suitable jobs and
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inner-city residential areas (Kain 1968; Hughes 1989; Holzer 1991). In a seminal
paper which introduced the spatial mismatch concept, Kain (1968) concluded that the
American suburbanization of metropolitan employment and housing market
segregation may reduce the level of Negro employment. Holzer (1991) reviewed 20
years of studies on the mismatch phenomenon, and concluded that the trends
originally identified by Kain are still working to depress the employment levels of
central city blacks. Hughes (1989) notes that the mismatch discussion has evolved
into a debate between space and race explanations of black welfare; in fact,
however, it is the complex interaction between race (more precisely, racism) and
space (more precisely, place effects and distance effects) that limits black
opportunity (ibid., 199). Durkheim (1893/1984) argued that the division of labor in
modem society would generate an organic solidarity between the classes. Blau
(1977), however, cautions that while occupational heterogeneity can create
opportunities for expanded social associations, mere functional interdependence is
likely to include paralyzing status differences. Without new strategies for
inclusionary regulation, economic divisions will continue to produce social exclusion
(Levitas 1996).
Wilson defines social isolation as a lack of contact or sustained interaction with
individuals and institutions that represent mainstream society (Wilson 1987, 60). The
urban poor have become increasingly concentrated, and thus increasingly isolated
from the rest of the metropolitan areas in which they live. For example, although the
total population of the five largest U.S. cities fell between 1970 and 1980, the urban
population living in poverty areas increased by 40 percent overall, by 69 percent in
high poverty areas (those with at least a 30 percent poverty rate) and by 161 percent
in extreme poverty areas (those with at least a 40 percent poverty rate) (ibid., 46).
(See Chapter 5 for further discussion of these trends.) Hughes (1989) studied
impacted ghettos, which he defined as census tracts with double the median
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metropolitan level of any of the following variables: percentage of female-headed
households, percentage unemployed, percentage on welfare, or percentage of high
school dropouts. He found that across the nation, these areas are consistently
adjacent to each other, forming a wide swath of impoverished neighborhoods with
badly damaged infrastructure typically adjacent to the central business district, yet
excluded from its jobs while remaining vulnerable to its cycles of disinvestment or
speculation. The impact of this type of concentrated poverty is that the residents are
deficient in social capitalthey are not tied into a work or information network,
they have little contact with steadily employed people or people in different parts of
the city, and they have few role models for positive work- or education-related
behavior (see Chapter 4; Portes 1998; Briggs 1998; Lin 2001; Field 2003). Further,
the concentration effect of living in a deeply impoverished area creates ecological
niches that the residents of these neighborhoods occupy in terms of access to jobs and
job networks, availability of marriageable partners, involvement in quality schools,
and exposure to conventional role models (Wilson 1987, 61; see also Chapter 4;
Jencks and Mayer 1990; Brooks-Gunn et al. 1993; Ellen and Turner 1997; Briggs
1997).
The structural thesis asserts that it is social isolation, not a culture of poverty that
explains the behavioral or moral deviance of the poor. Specifically, the ghetto
underclass manifests its social isolation from opportunity through behavioral
dysfunction (Hughes 1989, 188). Like Lewis (1969) originally emphasized, the
poverty subculture is thought to represent positive adaptive mechanisms that enable
the poor to function in extremely adverse conditions (Byrne 1999). Consequently, it is
the social mobility within the economic structure of the metropolis that should be
improved, as the impoverished conditions and behavioral adaptations of the poor are
due to faults in the economy rather than in the jobless themselves (Gans 1990, 272).
The policy considerations generated by the structural thesis of urban poverty thus
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focus on making macro-level changes to the economic system and reducing isolation,
rather than attempting micro-level changes to the character of the poor (Blau 1977).
Like the culture of poverty thesis, the structural argument is not immune to criticism.
Some authors argue that the use of the term underclass is problematic (Levitas
1996; Gans 1990; Peterson 1990). Levitas (1996) takes issue with the notion that an
underclass exists at all, noting that the group lacks permanence, intergenerational
continuity, and homogeneity. She is concerned that using the term encourages the
false perception that everyone that is not in the underclass is doing fine and
enjoying equal participation in society. In fact, she asserts that the underclass concept
has appeal specifically because it allows the recognition of the continuing existence
of povertywhich can hardly be disguisedto coexist with arguments or
assumptions about the attrition of class and class divisions in the main body of
society (ibid., 6). Peterson (1990) notes that the terms meaning is modified by the
perspective of each group using it, whether conservative, liberal, or radical. Gans
fears that widespread acceptance of the term is a signal that the economy, the
society, and the language are preparing to adapt to a future in which some people are
more or less permanently jobless (Gans 1990, 276).
Some criticism of the notion of an underclass echoes that which discredited the
culture of poverty. Peterson (1990) indicates that the use of under suggests a
group that is either lowly, passive, and submissive, or disreputable, dangerous, and
disruptive. Gans (1990) feels that the term has taken on pejorative connotations that
imply a constant state of undeservingness and an expectation of segregation that
may dilute the political concentration needed to address issues of poverty and
equality. Over time, underclass has become a stereotype, a label applied to people
with widely different problems, needs, and aspirations. This homogenization and
expectation of failure can become a self-fulfilling prophecy that influences both the
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institutions who work with the poor, and the poor themselves. Just as the idea of a
culture of poverty became transmuted from one that described adaptive behaviors
to one that was thought to cause behaviors, Gans (1990) fears that the notion of
underclass is being similarly assigned moral causality.
A presumption of underclass homogenization and behavior is also dangerous at the
neighborhood level. Wilson (1987) makes the case for an underclass by noting that
while long-term welfare families and street criminals are distinct groups, they live in
the same depressed, socially isolated communities. Hughes, however, notes that this
can be misinterpreted as an ecological fallacy, a belief that shared residence in the
ghetto causes underclass behavior (Hughes 1989, 191). Similarly, the role of
neighborhood effects on individual behavior is hotly debated (see Chapter 4; Jencks
and Mayer 1990; Brooks-Gunn et al. 1993; Ellen and Turner 1997; Briggs 1997).
Nonetheless, policies that strive to reduce the isolation of underclass communities,
are a cornerstone application of the structural poverty thesis, and will also reduce the
likelihood of harmful land use policies being proposed for areas written off as
underclass (Gans 1990).
The structural thesis is criticized as well for its focus on employment as a direct and
complete solution for the problems of urban poverty. To some, the belief that
changing the opportunities available to the urban poor will lead directly to changes in
their behavior is shortsighted and too dismissive of the potential dampening effects of
entrenched cultural adaptations (Greenstone 1991). Further, Levitas notes that the
unemployed are not merely excluded from the labor market (true), and excluded from
the benefits of economic growth (generally true), but excluded from society
(Levitas 1996, 11). Thus, she questions whether the skills and knowledge needed for
integration into mainstream employment are either necessary or sufficient for wider
integration into mainstream society. More critically, the primacy of the role of
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employment in the structural explanation of poverty ignores the importance of unpaid
work in society as well as the gender and racial inequality of income. Levitas does
not
deny the connection between poverty and unemployment, or the reality
of the effects of exclusion from the labor market.... Paid work may be
a source of social integration both because the work itself is a form
of social labor, and because money is a necessary passport to almost
all forms of social interaction.. ..But to see integration as solely
effected by paid work is to ignore the fact that social labor takes place
outside the market, most notably as unpaid work by women, and to
ignore the fact that society isand certainly should bemore than a
market (Levitas 1996, 18).
It should not be forgotten that the positions into which people are integrated into
society through paid work are fundamentally unequal.
Conclusion
It is clear that neither the culture of poverty nor the structural thesis provides a
complete answer to the question of the nature of poverty or an obvious approach to a
policy response. A focus on the macro-level structural causes of poverty should not
deny the fact that the poor are agents in their own lives, and are not utterly powerless
in the face of the socioeconomic system (Ryan 1971). Neither should a micro-level
focus on individuals assets or deficits overlook the wider economic, political, and
social context in which they must operate.
One way to reconcile the two positions is to consider the role of human rationality.
The poor, like all human beings, make economic and behavioral decisions through
rational, although perhaps subconscious, thought processes. Cultural adaptations to
ones structural economic situation are simply an example of this rationality. The
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context in which the urban poor exist is one in which decisions such as forming non-
traditional families, choosing welfare dependency over work, or choosing short-term
over long-term benefits are perhaps rational despite being disparaged by mainstream
society (Greenstone 1991; Katz 1993; Galster and Killen 1995). It can be argued that
if the contextsocial, cultural, economic, and environmentalof the poor is
changed, they will be empowered to make rational decisions that can lead them out of
poverty.
Similarly, Schwartz (2000) investigated the efforts of the moral reformers of the
nineteenth century, and found that their arguments are valid in the fight against
poverty today. The reformers encouraged the poor to apply the virtues of diligence,
sobriety and thrift, as well as family responsibility (which was not as much of a
challenge in their day) with the simple belief that these behaviors should be
encouraged because they help poor people escape poverty (ibid., 6). They argued
that the promotion of self-advancing behavior was simply sensible advice, not an
attack on the character of the poor. Schwartz presents a compromise position as to
the nature of poverty: There is no reason to believe that the poor are prevented by
social and environmental forces from doing anything to improve their condition, or
that they are completely able to improve it on their own (ibid., xix). Advocating
virtue and self-respect thus does not preclude bestowing material assistance. In the
nineteenth century, the material resources were simply not available to lift every
citizen out of poverty. Today, however, unprecedented national wealth makes full
employment and the eradication of poverty conceivable. The solution is not through
policies which encourage dependency and disrespect the agency of the poor,
however, as these dehumanize people by depriving them of the rationality and self-
control that are among the hallmarks of human excellence (ibid., 7). Rather, when
combined with structural reforms that ensure equality of opportunity, the human
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dignity of the poor is affirmed when they are able themselves to take steps to improve
their condition (ibid., 13).
Rainwater suggested that when the poor are considered immoral, pathological,
biologically inferior, culturally different, or heroic, these attitudes neutralize the
disinherited by painting them as unreal or inherently different (Gans 1969, 202).
Levitas (1996) reminds us, however, that the real society is not that constituted by
the (unequal) 70 percent, to which the poor are marginal or from which they are
excluded. The real society is that made up by the whole 100 percent, in which
poverty is endemic (19).
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CHAPTER 4
THE POWER OF PLACE
Introduction
The wide range of theories and concepts explored in this chapter share the common
theme of interrogating the roles played by the places in which people carry out their
lives, and the sources, limits, and characteristics of those roles. Questioning how
much influence an individuals environment exerts over their life chances,
perspectives, and aspirations can be seen as a part of the larger debate over the power
of an individuals agency in the face of micro-level social, economic, and political
structures. Given that the focus of this dissertation is to ultimately understand how
these ideas are manifest in the context of mixed-income housing, it is important to
tease out the assumptions that social observers make about the role of the residential
environment in individuals lives.
Each of the literatures reviewed in this chapter are broad and interdisciplinary, but
share a focus on the power of place. A review of the concept of community sets the
thematic stage for the chapter. Where community once implied a thick stew of
meanings, individuals, and roles, the term is used with such frequency in
contemporary society that it has become diluted into a thin broth, manipulated by
different parties to suit their purposes. The history of the notion of community is
presented, as well as its contemporary interpretations. Also, with particular relevance
for the wider discussion of mixed-income housing, the section concludes with a
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review of the debates over the potential impacts of social diversity and physical
design on community.
Second, social capital has become a critical concept in planning and social
literatures and policy. This chapter will outline how social capital has evolved and
how it has come to be understood as an important mechanism through which
residential environments have power in peoples lives.
Similarly, the third area reviewed in this chapter, neighborhood effects, is also
firmly grounded in the belief that residential environments have profound impacts on
the direction of individuals lives. Exploration of these presumed effects brings into
sharp relief the macro-level structure versus micro-level agency debate introduced in
the previous chapter.
This chapter ends with a brief discussion of the notions of environmental determinism
and social engineeringboth critical positions on the power of place.
Community
Early Conceptualizations of Community
Until the late nineteenth century, few westerners thought even to ask the question,
what is a community? Before the Industrial Revolution, most westerners lived in a
world largely fueled by farming and cottage industries. These occupations lent
themselves to small or medium-sized settlements, including hamlets and villages,
some small towns, and even fewer cities. The cities typically were of a size and
nature to be simply considered big villagesthey were not seen as sociologically
unique. Economic and social power were usually inherited privileges.
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With the Industrial Revolution, beginning first in Europe and then spreading to North
America, the nature of human settlement changed dramatically and permanently. As
technological innovations enabled goods and energy to be produced at unprecedented
rates, the scale of the typical human settlement changed. Fueling the supply and
demand flows of the new, fierce capitalism and aggregating enough material and
labor in one place to turn the great wheels of industrialism required an urbanism of a
scale that had never before existed on the planet.
The residents of the new, enormous cities had different relationships to nature, to
work, and to each other than they or their ancestors had ever known. According to
Nisbet (1993), during the earlier Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, a model of
society began to emerge that focused on individual freedoms. To social theorists of
those eras, relationships of all scales came to be seen as social contracts created by
individuals who rationally bound themselves into specific associations. The
burgeoning individualism supported by this social contract theory found an economic
voice with the Industrial Revolution. Technological advances fostered an
entrepreneurial spirit which overshadowed the assumptions of inherited status and
spawned an intense economic individualism. However, the modem, urban way of life
prompted social theorists to examine what had been lost as well as gained during the
great transformation. The rediscovery of the notion of community was the
crucial idea that separated nineteenth century social thought from its predecessors
(ibid.).
Ferdinand Tonnies seminal work, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, published in 1887,
articulated the social transformation that was taking place, and became the basis for
the conceptualization of community for the next century. Tonnies did not write about
geographically-based communities per se, but rather focused on the types of
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relationships people have with each other. He drew a distinction between natural and
rational will, with the former encompassing emotional volition, creativity, and
conscientiousness, and the latter being based in conscious thought and means-ends
planning. While both types of will exist simultaneously, Tonnies characterizes all
relationships in which natural will prevails as Gemeinschaft, and those dominated by
rational will as Gesellschaft (Tonnies 1957/1977). These two distinctions are applied
at the level of society. Gemeinschaft has been roughly translated as community
and is conceptualized as the type of community experienced in pre-industrial
settlements. Characteristic of families, groups of friends, and traditional
neighborhoods, Gemeinschaft relationships have a sense of mutuality and common
bonds and obligations. Gesellschaft, sometimes (although weakly) translated as
society, is embodied by the modem, capitalistic relationships engendered by the
Industrial Revolution. These relations are self-interested and little colored by
sentiment. Gesellschaft is characterized by rationally planned thought and is
represented by the market (Warren 1977). Social theorists commonly see these two
types of relationships in historical progression, from a world of small, rural hamlets in
which Gemeinschaft relationships were the norm, to a world dominated by industry
and enormous cities in which Gesellschaft predominates. Significantly, there is
usually a moral or normative component to Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft relations,
with the former nearly always portrayed as good, and the latter representing all that is
cold and amoral in modem society (Nisbet 1993).
Tonnies work has been extremely influential on sociological thought. Through his
characterization of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as types of fundamental human
relationships and social organization, he gives a sociological explanation for the rise
of capitalism and the modem state, expanding the economic, political, or
technological explanations posited by others. Specifically, to Tonnies, capitalism is
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the result of the loss of community, whereas Marx saw the loss of community as a
consequence of capitalism (Nisbet 1993).
Like Tonnies, Emile Durkheim was a pioneer of sociological thought. His first major
work, The Division of Labor in Society, published in 1893, helped advance sociology
from a philosophical approach to an empirically-based science. Again like Tonnies,
Durkheim was not writing about physical communities per se, but his characterization
of the changes taking place in the modernizing world provided the basis for
conceptualization of human relationships in society for generations to come. Briefly,
in The Division of Labor, Durkheim cites a rigidly defined and controlled conscience
collective, typically based in religion, as the source of unity in pre-industrial
societies. The modernization of society and the increasing emphasis on individualism
changed the conscience collective from a conservative, religious, communitarian
dictum to one which encourages each individual to contribute fully to society by
developing their unique qualities to the fullest extent (Giddens 1972). As Durkheim
explains his thesis, In the same way as the ideal of the less developed societies was
to create or maintain as intense a shared life as possible, in which the individual was
absorbed, our ideal is constantly to introduce greater equality in our social relations,
in order to ensure the free unfolding of the socially useful forces (ibid., 7).
Durkheim relates this concept to the larger community in his discussion of social
solidarity. Pre-industrial societies were characterized by mechanical solidarity, a
social unity generated by moral and social homogeneity, locally-based collectivism,
and ritualized religion. Modem societies, with their increased division of labor and
occupational specialization, however, are joined by an organic solidarity, one in
which unique individuals complimentary roles create ties of cooperation and
economic interdependence (Nisbet 1993) (see Figure 5.1). Whereas Tonnies
83