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After the ProjectsPublic Housing Redevelopment and the Governance of the Poorest Americans$
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Lawrence J. Vale

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624330

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190624330.001.0001

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Inhabiting and Inhibiting River Garden

Inhabiting and Inhibiting River Garden

5 Inhabiting and Inhibiting River Garden
After the Projects

Lawrence J. Vale

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 reveals the challenges of inhabiting and managing River Garden. Phase 1 opened in November 2004. The devastation wrought by the Katrina disaster in August 2005—coupled with ensuing challenges to the housing market—caused subsequent phases to be delayed, altered, or cancelled. Rather than an investment that would create a “win-win” combination of a revitalized neighborhood and genuine opportunity for the former neighborhood’s least-advantaged residents, the redevelopment process, slowly but surely, shunted public housing tenants to the margins—both literally and figuratively—and also failed to construct the market-dominated community that the developer wanted. Framed by policymakers as a deconcentration of poverty, this strand of HOPE VI instead purged the poorest and yielded many ongoing tensions in community governance. Still, St. Thomas became a precedent for the post-Katrina transformation of many of the remaining large public housing developments in New Orleans.

Keywords:   New Orleans, River Garden, housing management, paternalism, governance, Hurricane Katrina, public housing redevelopment

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