The University of British Columbia

Oscar Newman Speech - HABITAT 1976 Conference

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  • Excerpts of a speech delivered by architect Oscar Newman during HABITAT 1976 in Vancouver, Canada. Newman discusses the failure of US housing policy in the 1970’s and how the concentration of low-income public housing in cities has adversely effected urban and social development. He provides partial solutions to the housing predicament, such as legislating mixed income neighborhoods in both urban and suburban areas. He also examines the challenges inherent in the solutions themselves, such as further resistance from upper income residents to accept low-income residents; the potential lack of funding; and the ethical dilemma of infringing upon resident’s rights with intrusive amounts of government intervention. Newman abdicates solutions that further exacerbate the degradation of neighborhoods (citing the legislation following Brown vs. the Board of Education as an example of an avoidable solution) and questions how to maintain mixed-income neighborhoods without removing people’s rights.

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