Year of Publication

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Richard Schein

Abstract

Homeownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere VI (HOPE VI) is dramatically changing the face of public housing. The HOPE VI program proposes to replace barracks-style and high rise apartments with a new public housing landscape built on the planning principles of New Urbanism: small-scale developments of single family homes and townhouses with front lawns and porches. Academic and governmental analyses of HOPE VI have used economic, political, and social perspectives to analyze this significant financial investment, radical landscape alteration, and change in residents lives. This dissertation analyzes the process of HOPE VI and its attendant landscapes using a critical humanist perspective focused on the human, emotional dimension of public housing policy. By bringing together geography, psychology, sociology, and philosophy literatures on emotion with geographic literatures on critical humanism and the cultural landscape this dissertation shows that specific emotions such as disgust, fear, shame, and enjoyment permeate, shape, and direct public housing policy and appearance in different places and across time. More specifically, the dissertation shows that 1) disgust, fear, shame, and enjoyment constitute both the political and economic logic essential to HOPE VI and 2) disgust, fear, shame, and enjoyment are articulated through and crystallized in reactions to the public housing landscape its aesthetic and social context. The overall contribution of the project is to first, challenge the binaries that often structure academic and governmental analyses of HOPE VI including rational-emotional, outsiders-residents, creation-implementation, and national-local. In challenging these binaries, the project offers an alternative way to think about and understand HOPE VI and housing policy. And second, the dissertation contributes to the methods literature by exploring how to analyze emotion through discourse analysis and how to ask people about emotions.

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