The Public Interest

Alternatives to the gilded ghetto

John F. Kain & Joseph J. Persky

Winter 1969

WE ARE FACED today with a spate of proposals and programs for improving the ghetto through economic development, renewal, and reconstruction. The intellectual basis of many of these proposals stems from a false analogy of the ghetto to an underdeveloped country in need of economic development.  This oversimplified and misleading view ignores the strong linkages that tie the ghetto to the remainder of the metropolis and to the nation. When the nature of these linkages and the complex relationship between the ghetto and metropolitan development is understood, the potential destructiveness of these proposals becomes apparent. In this article we attempt to describe these interrelationships and the ghetto’s consequent culpability for an expanded list of urban problems.

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