More Public Housing: A Housing Dream or Nightmare?

Robert Moses’ General Grant Houses was once a hopeful vision for New York City, but soon turned into a disaster. Before its completion in 1956, The Grant Houses were supposed to reintegrate the city in terms of economic and racial diversity. In fact, the first five families to move in were comprised of 2 White families, 2 Black families, and a Puerto Rican family. This public housing initiative was more in favor by New Yorkers and Moses in order to eradicate slums in the city. However, the amount of money spent clearing the slums only displaced the people who live there and moving the problems from a cleared slum, to the next. The people who were evicted from their homes for the slum clearance had first priority in the Grant Houses. According to the Columbia Spectator, the Grant Houses have “arisen above- the basin of scum that once was; it has cleared the air of the mind.”
In the 1960s, The Grant Houses fell into disaster. The electricity wasn’t working, the projects were still segregated, they weren’t clean, and they became pockets of concentrated crime. Columbia made numerous efforts to distance themselves and create buffers between their institution and the projects.
In hindsight, Moses’ Grant Houses did create more affordable housing for New Yorkers, but they created a lot of crime and did not live up to Moses’ or New Yorkers’ expectations.  Moses had the hopes to reintegrate the city, but the way in which he did it, only created more segregated housing  in closer proximity and a new fashioned slum.

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