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Changing PlacesThe Science and Art of New Urban Planning$
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John MacDonald, Charles Branas, and Robert Stokes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195216

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195216.001.0001

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Cities in Ruin

Cities in Ruin

(p.55) 4 Cities in Ruin
Changing Places

John Macdonald

Charles Branas

Robert Stokes

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on urban building and housing interventions that have been evaluated at some of the highest levels of scientific evidence. Building and housing interventions strongly appeal to policy makers and the public who intrinsically recognize the basic human need for shelter. The most blighted and neglected human dwellings in cities provide a strong basis for motivating action. After all, one can clearly see a significant change in an area when old buildings and physical structures are razed and new ones constructed. Questions arise, however, in terms of the actual need for complete replacement with new structures, as opposed to more widespread renovations and preservation of old buildings. It is equally important to consider the effect that urban-revitalization activities—especially in residential districts—have on gentrification and the possible reduction of a city's affordable housing stock, which itself influences health and safety. The chapter then discusses examples of building interventions that have failed to produce positive evidence and ones that have shown success without causing significant dislocation or displacement.

Keywords:   building interventions, housing interventions, human dwellings, shelter, cities, renovations, old buildings, urban-revitalization activities, gentrification

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