Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Old Solutions for New Communities: The Failed Promise of DC’s New Communities Initiative
by Hart, Christopher A., M.S., The George Washington University, 2020, 121; 27838144
Abstract (Summary)

A growing population, gentrification, and a limited housing supply have created a housing affordability crisis in the District of Columbia. Gentrification is an ongoing process in the District of Columbia. This crisis has had a particularly severe impact on extremely low-income households. The New Communities Initiative (NCI) is one District program that has sought to address housing affordability for extremely low-income households. NCI's main goal is to replace distressed public housing with vibrant, mixed-income communities, based on a model widely used nationally through the HOPE VI program in the 1990s and early 2000s. The thesis considers the following research questions: 1) Has NCI been successful implementing its four key principles: one-for-one replacement, right to return, mixed-income, and Build First?; 2) What factors have helped or limited NCI’s success in delivering new affordable housing units?; and 3) Are the four identified key principles the necessary ingredients to solve the problems that public housing has faced in many major United States cities?

The thesis concludes that NCI has had mixed success in adhering to the four key principles. Notably, the Build First principle, whereby new affordable housing would be constructed before the demolition of existing public housing, has been a failure. Nonetheless, NCI has shown success, including being on track to replace all demolished public housing units. Ultimately, the mixed-income housing model has become obsolete, and cities should explore new and innovative ways to produce more housing affordable to extremely low-income households.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Benton-Short, Lisa
Commitee: Cullen, Declan, Price, Marie
School: The George Washington University
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 81/11(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography
Keywords: Affordable housing, Gentrification, Mixed-income housing, New Communities Initiative, Public housing, Washington DC
Publication Number: 27838144
ISBN: 9798645457495
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