Blueprint for Disaster: The Unraveling of Chicago Public Housing

Blueprint for Disaster Cover

University of Chicago Press, 2009, Historical Studies of Urban America Series

Now considered a dysfunctional mess, Chicago’s public housing projects once had long waiting lists of would-be residents hoping to leave the slums behind. So what went wrong? To answer this complicated question, D. Bradford Hunt traces public housing’s history in Chicago from its New Deal roots through current mayor Richard M. Daley’s Plan for Transformation. In the process, he chronicles the Chicago Housing Authority’s own transformation from the city’s most progressive government agency to its largest slumlord.

Available from the University of Chicago Press and Amazon


Winner, Lewis Mumford Prize for best book in American city and regional planning history in the previous two years, Society for American City and Regional Planning History, 2009.

Honorable Mention, Kenneth Jackson Award for best book in U.S. Urban History, Urban History Association, 2010.

Jeff Lowenstein, Blog, July 2, 2009
Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune, August 15, 2009
Deonna Issacs, Chicago Reader, August 2009
Adrian G. Uribarri, Chi-Town Daily News, August 2009
Megan Cottrell, Chicago Journal, October 14, 2009
Granta Magazine, October 22, 2009
Center for Building Communities, Notre Dame, October 28, 2009
Edward G. Goetz, American Planning Association, Spring 2010
David P. Varady, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, Vol. 25, 2010
Lincoln Quillian, Contemporary Sociology, Volume 39, 2010
Phyllis M. Santacroce, Urban History, Volume 21, 2010
Harold L. Platt, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 2010
Robert Chaskin, Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2010
Thomas L. Bell, Illinois Geographical Society, Fall 2010
Joel L. Rubin, National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter, January 2011
Margaret Garb, American Historical Review, April 2011