siue geography


current projects

Public Housing in the United States: From the Margins to the New Urban Frontier - research on the national scope of public housing redevelopment.

The Persistence of Public Housing Segregation in the United States - research on historical and contemporary patterns and trends in racial and ethnic segregation within public housing.

St. Louis Regional Plan for Sustainable Development - evaluation of regional sustainability planning, through the SIUE Institute for Urban Research (Applied Research Collaborative component of HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program awarded to East-West Gateway Council of Governments, St. Louis, MO).


Hanlon, J. 2012. Beyond HOPE VI: Demolition/Disposition and the Uncertain Future of Public Housing in the U.S. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 27 (3): 373-388.

Abstract: Public housing redevelopment in the United States is virtually synonymous with the HOPE VI program, through which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has transformed over 250 housing projects into mixed-income communities. However, the overall the extent of public housing redevelopment has far exceeded the original mandate of HOPE VI due to the expansion of Demolition/Disposition activities facilitated by the program. The permissiveness of such activities has resulted in the replacement of housing projects with luxury condominiums, shopping and convention centers, and other land uses unrelated to affordable housing. In the process, over 210,000 housing units guaranteed to be affordable to low-income households have been removed from the country’s public housing inventory. This article investigates the foundations, the overall scope, and the characteristics of Demolition/Disposition activities beyond the purview of HOPE VI, and discusses their implications for the uncertain future of public housing in the U.S..

Hanlon, J. 2011. Unsightly Urban Menaces and the Rescaling of Residential Segregation in the United States. Journal of Urban History 37 (5): 732-756.

Abstract: In this article, the author uses a slum clearance project in Lexington, Kentucky, as a lens through which to examine the spatial dynamics of racial residential segregation during the first half of the twentieth century. At the time, urban migration and upward socioeconomic mobility on the part of African Americans destabilized extant residential segregation patterns. Amid this instability, various spatial practices were employed in the interest of maintaining white social and economic supremacy. The author argues that such practices were indicative of a thoroughgoing reinvention of urban socio-spatial order that in turn precipitated the vastly expanded scale of residential segregation still found in U.S. cities today. Evidence of this reinvented ordering of urban space lies in the rendering of some long-standing African American neighborhoods as “out of place” within it and the use of slum clearance to remove the “menace” such neighborhoods posed to it.

Hanlon, J. 2010. Success by Design: HOPE VI, New Urbanism, and the Neoliberal Transformation of Public Housing in the United States. Environment and Planning A 42 (1): 80-98.

Abstract: Since the mid-1990s over 200 public housing projects across the United States have been redeveloped through a Department of Housing and Urban Development program called HOPE VI. The objectives of HOPE VI, each of which bears the imprint of neoliberal urban policy, include: promoting ‘mixed-finance’ partnerships between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors; replacing housing projects with ‘mixed-income’ communities; and rebuilding those communities in ways that bear no resemblance to traditional public housing. In this paper I interrogate the means and motives of these objectives through the lens of a ‘successful’ HOPE VI site. My case study is Park DuValle in Louisville, Kentucky, which is widely regarded as one of the program’s crowning achievements. This approach allows for a more precise explication of how HOPE VI is intended to work than existing research on the program provides, and in turn affords a clearer perspective on the underlying rationales for, and broader implications of, HOPE VI revitalization. A key component of Park DuValle’s apparent success is its embrace of New Urbanism and the stark contrast to the architecture of public housing that this planning and design paradigm presents. The physical transformation effected through HOPE VI, as exemplified by Park DuValle, both enables and legitimates the program’s mixed-finance and mixed-income objectives while eliding the costs of pursuing these objectives.

Hanlon, J. 2001. Spaces of Interpretation: Archival Research and the Cultural Landscape. Historical Geography 29: 14-25. [PDF]

other publications

Carr, T.R., J. Hanlon, H. Pavitt, A. Schreiber, A. Theising, M. Tranel, and W. Winter. 2012. Regional Plan for Sustainable Development: Annual Report, 2012. Report to the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, St. Louis, MO. http://www.ewgateway.org/RPSD/RPSD-Resources/Yr1EvalRpt.pdf.

Hanlon, J., E. Hostetter, and C. Post. 2011. Everyday Landscapes: Past and Present, Presence and Absence (Special Issue Introduction). Material Culture: The Journal of the Pioneer America Society 43 (2): 1-5.

Hanlon, J. 2011. Review of The Culture of Property: Race, Class, and Housing Landscapes in Atlanta, 1880-1950 by LeeAnn Lands. Social and Cultural Geography12 (1): 100-102.

Hanlon, J. 2008. Review of Public Housing That Worked: New York in the Twentieth Century by Nicholas Dagen Bloom. H-Urban, H-Net Reviews (September 2008). Available at http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=15772.

recent conference presentations

The Abandonment of Public Housing Desegregation Policy in the U.S. To be presented at the Urban Affairs Association Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA, April 3-6, 2013.

The Segregation, Desegregation, and Resegregation of Public Housing in Louisville, Kentucky. Urban History Association Conference. New York, NY, October 26-28, 2012.

The Devolution and Expansion of Public Housing Redevelopment. Urban Affairs Association Annual Conference. Pittsburgh, PA, April 18-21, 2012.

With or Without HOPE VI: The Devolution of Public Housing Redevelopment in the U.S. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Seattle, WA, April 12-16, 2011.

Crossing Greenwood: Racial Segregation, Social Progress, and Urban Decline in a Louisville Neighborhood. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Washington, DC, April 14-18, 2010

Public Housing in the United States: From the Margins to the New Urban Frontier. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Las Vegas, NV, March 22-27, 2009

Blockbusting the West End: Racial Segregation and Neighborhood Transition in Louisville, Kentucky. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Boston, MA, April 15-19, 2008

Selling the Projects: The Beginning of the End of Public Housing in the U.S. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. San Francisco, CA, April 17-21, 2007

(Dis)placing Poverty: HOPE VI and the Relocation of Public Housing Residents. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Chicago, IL, March 7-11, 2006

James Hanlon
Department of Geography
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1459
Phone: 618-650-2943
E-mail: jhanlon [at] siue.edu