The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Urban Development Lesson 2-Don’t Go for Fads

Housing and Urban Development programs, anti poverty programs etc. like to engage in fads. By this I mean some new program or process becomes hot and everyone jumps on board. This may mean tenant management, small business entrepreneurship, growth barriers, or inclusionary zoning. Most of these programs are developed by academics who have no practical experience in the field and do not work. When I worked for HUD for a few years we were big on putting computer centers in affordable housing complexes. This is a good idea but not life changing.

Ending poverty or solving urban problems is difficult, lengthy work that does not lend itself to shortcuts. We must be patient and listen to the communities.

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