46 years ago and still true

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Jane Jacobs was the maven of public input, but she is also in many respects a common sense proponent of organic, private market growth in our cities. Try this on for size, from The Death and life of Great American Cities, published in 1961 when Robert Moses still held the marionette of New York in his hands:

There is a wistful myth that if only we had enough money to spend — the figure is usually put at a hundred billion dollars — we could wipe out all our slums in ten years, reverse the decay in the great, dull, gray belts that were yesterday’s and day-before yester-day’s suburbs, anchor the wandering middle class and its wandering tax money, and perhaps even solve the traffic problem.

But look what we have built with the first several billions: Low-income projects that become worse centers of delinquency, vandalism, and general social hopelessness than the slums they were supposed to replace…

Yup, yup, yup. There is an argument to be made that the state housing agencies, by stuffing more and more poor people into our major urban centers, is making them unsustainable. Fix the schools and focus on public safety, and frankly you could tell the state housing agency staff to pack up their things and go home.