These research briefs were produced as a part of the Mixed-Income Development Study in collaboration with the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
Building Community in Mixed-Income Developments
The creation of mixed-income developments, with housing for residents of a variety of social and economic backgrounds, is central to the “Plan for Transformation” of public housing in Chicago. One view of mixed-income developments is that they are about more than building quality housing: they are about rebuilding urban neighborhoods. This goal is often talked about in terms of “building community.” But how is this task being defined, and what are reasonable expectations for building community in mixed-income developments?
Living in a Mixed-Income Development: Resident Perceptions of Benefits and Disadvantages
This brief focuses on early resident experiences in two mixed-income development, Oakwood Shores and Westhaven Park, which are part of the City of Chicago’s “Plan for Transformation.” We investigate how different residents–relocated public housing renters, two affordable and market-rate renters, and affordable and market-rate owners– perceive the early benefits and disadvantages of living in a mixed-income development. Respondents’ reflections about their early experiences in the new mixed-income developments focus on the following four areas:
- Physical environment and quality of life
- Emotional health and stress
- Social relations among residents
- Financial implications
The Nature of Social Interaction in Mixed-Income Developments
This brief focuses on early social relations in two mixed-income developments, Oakwood Shores and Westhaven Park, that are part of the City of Chicago’s “Plan for Transformation.” We investigate how different residents–relocated public housing residents, two affordable and market-rate renters, and affordable and market-rate owners– describe and assess their social interactions with their neighbors. We first discuss three main types of interaction among residents:
- Casual relations among neighbors
- “Instrumental” exchanges of information or favors
- Negative interactions
We then explore how these interactions compare to where residents used to live. Finally, we analyze barriers and challenges to interaction.
Whose Space? Whose Rules? Social Challenges in Mixed-Income Developments
This brief focuses in particular on the challenges raised in negotiating the uses and expectations of space in three mixed-income developments that are a part of Chicago’s Plan for Transformation. We explore residents’ perspectives on crime, safety, and disorder in the three developments, the kinds of behavioral expectations and cultural assumptions that lie behind these perspectives, and the ways in which formal rules, enforcement, and perceptions of fairness impact dynamics around these issues.
Chicago’s Public Housing Transformation: What Happened to the Residents?
Twelve years after the start of the Chicago Housing Authority’s Plan for Transformation, more than 16,000 families have been relocated into a variety of housing contexts with the stated goals of reducing concentrated poverty, revitalizing neighborhoods, and improving well-being, but questions remain about what has happened to the residents. Where did families end up? Are different types of households moving to different housing contexts? Does family well-being differ based on housing type? This brief explores these issues.
Why Do So Few Residents Return to Mixed-Income Developments? Insights into Resident Decision-Making?
In this brief, we explore the factors that influenced relocated public housing residents’ decisions to return or not return to a mixed-income development. Through interviews with relocated public housing residents of three mixed-income developments in Chicago- Jazz on the Boulevard, Oakwood Shores, and Westhaven Park- as well as a group of residents who chose not to return, we find that the following issues significantly influenced resident decision-making:
- Attachment to place and people
- Time pressures and other constraints
- Anticipated benefits from the mixed-income environment
- Trade-offs and risks associated with moves to mixed-income development
Participation and Decision-Making in Mixed-Income Developments: Who Has a Say?
A major policy focus over the past two decades has been support for housing policies designed to deconcentrate poverty, remake public housing, and promote the development of mixed-income communities in place of the most deteriorated and problematic public housing developments. Part of the argument for these policies concerns the promise of inclusion and the benefits that should accrue to low-income, relocated public housing residents by integrating them into safe, well-functioning, and better connected neighborhoods. This brief focuses on one aspect of inclusion: low-income residents’ participation in the deliberative and decision-making processes that shape the nature of community life in mixed-income developments (for example, with regard to design, amenities, eligibility requirements, service provision, resource allocation, norms of behavior, and rules).