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Cityscape: Volume 12 Number 1 | Chapter 1



Volume 12 Number 1

Better Neighborhoods, Better Outcomes?
Explaining Relocation Outcomes in HOPE VI

Edward G. Goetz

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


The HOPE VI Program for redeveloping public housing has been in operation since 1993. Previous studies have shown weak and inconsistent benefits for families forcibly displaced by the program, despite the fact that families are uniformly moved into better neighborhoods (as measured on a range of indicators at the census-tract level). This article reviews studies of HOPE VI and presents the findings of an additional case study, in Duluth, Minnesota. Improving on the design of most previous studies, this study connected changes in outcomes at the individual level with changes in neighborhood conditions. The results confirm the conclusion of previous studies: the degree of neighborhood change is not statistically related to changes in individual-level outcomes. These findings suggest that the HOPE VI model of dispersal reflects an oversimplified view of urban poverty and, in particular, may neglect the importance of informal networks of support and attributes at the individual level in determining the outcomes of forced relocation.

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