In the 1970s, a landmark Supreme Court case named Gautreaux officially brought an end to segregated government housing in Chicago. But it also created a new challenge: how to undo decades of segregation. One part the solution was a relocation program that moved families from the city’s housing ‘projects’ to the mostly-white suburbs.
The Gautreaux program showed surprising promise not just in ending segregation but also in creating upward mobility and helping children escape poverty. But when the federal government tried to replicate a similar program in other cities, the results were disappointing. Now, forty years later, new research is calling attention to the importance of where children grow up on their future success – and raising questions about what that means for the future.