To us, this means following the best practices of modern housing design (mixed-income neighborhood housing) instead of repeating the obsolete ideas from 50 years ago (segregate low-income people in housing that isolates them from the rest of society). So our proposal is to build more than what is in the Harvard/Charlesview proposal. Specifically, we believe that more median-income and more market-rate housing interspersed with the units that comprise the current Charlesview and much more land should be used than the 7 acres that Harvard has offered.
These ideas of a mixed-income neighborhood are not something that members of the ABNNF dreamed up on our own. Many people at many organizations support these goals, including the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which has published papers including:
The Vicious Cycle: Segregated Housing, Schools and Intergenerational Inequality
"The basic message of this report is that the educational consequences of residential segregation in metropolitan areas have profound intergenerational consequences, make a mockery of the promise of equal educational opportunity, feed the vicious cycle of racial inequality and separation, and that some very important things can and should be done to break that destructive cycle. To do them it is essential to think about housing as a key element in educational opportunity and to recognize that, far from having a true market or fair system of choice in either of these spheres, metro Boston has very severe racial barriers and boundaries that limit and threaten its future. This cycle can only be broken if it is recognized and there is a serious public commitment to integration."
Mixed-Income Housing Developments: Promise and Reality
"Large-scale, all-very-low-income developments will always pose problems... History has shown that concentrating large numbers of very poor households in one area is a destructive policy that is to be avoided at all costs."
The new Centennial Place contains nearly the same number of units as the two predecessor projects (900, compared to a former peak of 1,100), but they are less concentrated, with a three-tier mix of rent levels, including 40 percent of the apartments at unsubsidized market rates. But far more significant is that Centennial Place is no longer just a “housing project”—a mere agglomeration of apartments block after block—but also offers a new elementary school, a state-of-the-art YMCA, a high-tech public library, child-care facilities, and a host of employment and social services to help residents solve problems and raise their families. It has gone from being a project to being a community, part of a larger social whole."
The Social Costs of Concentrated Poverty: Externalities to Neighboring Households and Property Owners and the Dynamics of Decline
Rethinking U.S. Rental Housing Policy