Top 10 Worst Housing Projects in The United States

Public housing projects in the United States have a lengthy and intricate history. Initially designed to offer affordable housing to low-income families, many of these projects have unfortunately become synonymous with poverty, crime, and neglect. Here’s a list of some of the most infamous housing projects in the United States, both from the past and the present.

1. Cabrini Green, Chicago, IL

Originally named the Frances Cabrini Rowhouses, Cabrini Green gained notoriety as one of the most problematic public housing projects in the United States. Situated in Chicago, it held the title of the nation’s worst public housing authority for a significant period.

2. Marcy Houses, Brooklyn, NY

Located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, the Marcy Houses or Marcy Projects stand out as another notorious public housing project. They have received attention in popular culture, with rapper Jay-Z notably growing up in Marcy Houses.

3. Magnolia Projects, New Orleans, LA

The Magnolia Projects, officially known as the C.J. Peete Projects, ranked among the most perilous housing projects in New Orleans, notorious for high levels of crime and poverty.

4. Robert Taylor Homes, Chicago, IL

Once the largest public housing development in the U.S., the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago housed over 27,000 residents at their peak. The buildings were demolished in 2007 as part of the city’s plan to eliminate its dilapidated high-rise structures.

5. Queensbridge Houses, Queens, NY

Queensbridge Houses claim the title of the largest public housing development in North America. Home to numerous notable residents, including rapper Nas, it has also grappled with issues of crime and poverty.

6. Jordan Downs, Los Angeles, CA

Jordan Downs, a 700-unit public housing apartment complex in Watts, Los Angeles, has faced ongoing social and economic problems despite redevelopment efforts.

7. Pruitt-Igoe, St. Louis, MO

Pruitt-Igoe, a large urban housing project in St. Louis, saw its 33 buildings demolished less than 20 years after completion, serving as a frequent example of the failure of public housing policy.

8. East Lake Meadows, Atlanta, GA

Referred to as “Little Vietnam” due to high crime rates, East Lake Meadows in Atlanta was a public housing project demolished in the mid-1990s and replaced with a mixed-income development.

9. Nickerson Gardens, Los Angeles, CA

Nickerson Gardens, the largest public housing development west of the Mississippi, has been home to numerous notable residents but has also struggled with issues of crime and poverty.

10. Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects, Detroit, MI

The Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects, the largest residential housing project owned by the city of Detroit, housed notable figures such as Diana Ross and the Supremes but were demolished in 2014 due to disrepair.

While these projects represent some of the worst cases, it’s essential to remember that they do not represent all public housing. Many successful public housing projects provide safe, affordable housing for low-income families. However, the failures of these projects underscore the importance of proper funding, management, and community involvement in public housing.


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