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The Poorhouse

The Poorhouse

Subsidized Housing in Chicago

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Devereux Bowly Jr.


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
288 pages, 7.5 x 10, 172 illustrations


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About the Book

Chicago seems an ideal environment for public housing because of the city’s relatively young age among major cities and well-deserved reputation for technology, innovation, and architecture. Yet The Poorhouse: Subsidized Housing in Chicago shows that the city’s experience on the whole has been a negative one, raising serious questions about the nature of subsidized housing and whether we should have it and, if so, in what form.

Bowly, a native of the city, provides a detailed examination of subsidized housing in the nation’s third-largest city. Now in its second edition, The Poorhouse looks at the history of public housing and subsidized  housing in Chicago from 1895 to the present day. Five new chapters that cover the decline and federal takeover of the Chicago Housing Authority, and its more recent “transformation,” which involved the  demolition of the CHA family high-rise buildings and in some cases their replacement with low-risemixed income housing on the same sites. Fifty new photos supplement this edition.

Certificate of Excellence from the Illinois State Historical Society, 2013


Devereux Bowly Jr. has published more than three dozen articles on Chicago history and architecture and has been actively involved with community and civic groups in Chicago, including the Hyde Park Historical Society.