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Next Friday, journalist Ben Austen is coming to Cornell to discuss the rise and fall of Cabrini-Green, the Chicago public housing project that was razed in 2011. Often portrayed in the media as a crucible of vice and violence, Austen’s recent book on the development, High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing, explores Cabrini-Green’s origins and decline through the stories of its residents.

An abstract of the talk is reprinted below:

The rise and fall of high-rise public housing is the story of America’s ever-changing inner cities — and the story of the country’s always uneasy relationship to poverty and race. Cabrini-Green, located just blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast, was the most “infamous” of these housing projects. Depicted constantly in the news, in TV shows, in horror films, Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and government failure. For the thousands of people who lived there, it was also a much-needed home. What was myth and what was reality there? What went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor? What can we do now?

Austen will deliver his talk, officially the Russell Van Nest Black Lecture. on September 14 at 12:20 p.m. in the Milstein Hall auditorium. More information on this and other Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP) lectures can be found here.

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