New Communities in Old Spaces: Evidence from HOPE VI

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The goal of this study is to understand how residents may benefit from living in a mixed income, HOPE VI development in the South. This analysis focuses on a former housing project and its immediate neighborhood in the aftermath of HOPE VI revitalization. I conducted a case study by utilizing original data collected from in-depth, semi-structured interviews and unstructured interviews, along with administrative records, evaluation data, media accounts, observation, and casual encounters. A unique contribution of this study of a HOPE VI development is that it also addresses the surrounding neighborhood. Furthermore, this case study offers a unique lens for examining contemporary black gentrification in a publicly constructed space.

A major finding of this study is that complex intra-racial social dynamics among African American community members may stem from HOPE VI intervention. Specifically, there may be limited positive interaction among residents in the development, and between them and residents of the proximate exterior neighborhood. Further, the nature of constrained interaction manufactures divisive processes for claiming space and community identity that may potentially have negative consequences for renters.

These consequences stem from a reproduction of space and community, which shapes social control, policing, and exclusion contests, among other tensions. Overall, this study brings to bear some unimagined consequences of HOPE VI that potentially neutralize anticipated benefits of mixed income living for the poor, based on real and perceived alterations of class, mobility, and shared identity in and around the development site.






Burns, Ashley Brown (2013). New Communities in Old Spaces: Evidence from HOPE VI. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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