Best Laid Plans: Implementing Chicago’s Re-Newal of Three HOPE VI Developments
Jackson, April L.
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation seeks to understand why there are varying degrees in which HOPE VI ideals are implemented in project plans in Chicago. This research investigates the implementation of mixed-income developments through a comparative case study of three HOPE VI planning efforts in Chicago that exhibit different outcomes: Roosevelt Square, Westhaven Park, and Jackson Square. I compare how actors’ work to accomplish the design and income mix policy goals across the implementation process for each project to account for how the current outcomes are produced. I argue the differences found in HOPE VI developments trace back to changes in local actors’ level of commitment to ambitious plans for social and physical mixing during the implementation process. I also assess how institutional constraints affect actors’ commitment to understand how this interrelationship influences actor decisions during the implementation process. Constraints that cause actor commitment to adjust include consensus among stakeholders, legal parameters, financing, housing market conditions, and political support. I trace changes in actor commitment across ‘critical implementation episodes,’ to understand where actors commit, and where institutional constraints influence actors’ abilities to act on good intentions, or some mixture of the two. This qualitative based research uses 43 in-depth interviews, historical documents and plans, observations, and spatial analysis. My research findings show that the differences in case outcomes are based less on the new urbanist principles described in the initial HOPE VI plans, and more from differences in actor commitment at different phases of implementation. Overall, my cases reveal that projects that are more consonant with plan goals have actors considered idealists and realists along the way, that keep plan ideas alive and maintain an accountability check. Those projects that are less consonant with plan goals, have actors represented by non-believers, and those that are indifferent. Based on these findings, my research shows the range of actor commitment, and the types of actors needed at critical stages of development to implement HOPE VI plan goals. The cases also highlight key ‘critical implementation episodes’ such as marketing, occupancy, and community building. Whereas, institutional constraints act as barriers, in which even actor commitment is unable to overcome. As a result, the implementation of HOPE VI project plans, are not aligned at key development phases, which in turn influence the overall income mix, and broader community support systems that are not implemented as intended.