Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. moved to Chicago's "slumdale" neighborhood in 1966. At the time, the housing projects in the city were sorry, segregated affairs - King moved there to draw attention to the rodent problems, chipping paint and rotting infrastructure.
Since then, the Department of Housing and Urban Development launched a concerted effort to move residents from high-poverty neighborhoods to lower poverty areas. A couple of months ago, they released a detailed report analyzing the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program. Their aim was to determine whether living in less economically distressed neighborhoods could improve "well-being and long-term life chances."
Our friends at Land Use Profs blog have put together an interesting post examining the findings. In the words of author Stephen Miller:
King wrote, “The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” HUD’s study quantifies King’s moral assertion, making clear that good neighbors have significant, long-term effects on a number, though not all, key life factors. The study’s results may well influence future policy choices for affordable and fair housing, and provide insights for what a new neighborhood can, and cannot do, for individuals.
See the full post here.