Driven from New Orleans: How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization (Paperback)John Arena (author)
Paperback 344 Pages / Published: 31/07/2012
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In the early 1980s the tenant leaders of the New Orleans St. Thomas public housing development and their activist allies were militant, uncompromising defenders of the city\u2019s public housing communities. Yet ten years later these same leaders became actively involved in a planning effort to privatize and downsize their community-an effort that would drastically reduce the number of affordable apartments. What happened? John Arena-a longtime community and labor activist in New Orleans-explores this drastic change in Driven from New Orleans, exposing the social disaster visited on the city\u2019s black urban poor long before the natural disaster of Katrina magnified their plight.Arena argues that the key to understanding New Orleans\u2019s public housing transformation from public to private is the co-optation of grassroots activists into a government and foundation-funded nonprofit complex. He shows how the nonprofit model created new political allegiances and financial benefits for activists, moving them into a strategy of insider negotiations that put the profit-making agenda of real estate interests above the material needs of black public housing residents. In their turn, white developers and the city\u2019s black political elite embraced this newfound political \u201crealism\u201d because it legitimized the regressive policies of removing poor people and massively downsizing public housing, all in the guise of creating a new racially integrated, \u201cmixed-income\u201d community.In tracing how this shift occurred, Driven from New Orleans reveals the true nature, and the true cost, of reforms promoted by an alliance of a neoliberal government, nonprofits, community activists, and powerful real estate interests.
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 23 mm
"John Arena has written an important book on an important topic. New Orleans stands out because of the travesty associated with Hurricane Katrina; however, Driven from New Orleans tells a much deeper and broader story that could be replicated in many cities. Arena provides a sorely needed account of neoliberal reorganization of American cities with the active support of nominal advocates and representatives of the impoverished populations who are displaced as part of that reorganization. It is a signal contribution to the study of black urban politics, the political economy of urban redevelopment, and the concrete dynamics of urban neoliberalism." -Adolph Reed, Jr., University of Pennsylvania
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