The rebuilding of the South Bronx after the fiscal crisis

Themis Chronopoulos

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This article explores the rebuilding of the South Bronx since 1977. This rebuilding represents an important public policy accomplishment, since the South Bronx was one of the most physically devastated areas in the United States. In terms of economic policy, the rebuilding of the South Bronx defies linear narratives. One the one hand, public–private partnerships, which represent some of the most important features of urban neoliberalism, were used heavily in the revitalization of the South Bronx. Community organizations that had been rebuilding areas in the South Bronx in the 1970s and the 1980s were required to conform to the requirements of the market, if they were to continue participating in urban development. On the other hand, the building of housing for low- and moderate-income people is not exactly a neoliberal economic policy, since these housing units were built with public subsidies and regulated by government agencies. In its insistence to rebuild the South Bronx as well as other physically devastated areas, the city government of New York became involved in creative financing by incorporating nongovernment organizations that were ran by accomplished businesspeople but remained nonprofit. And whatever the original intentions of city administrations in building and preserving affordable housing in the South Bronx may have been, the accommodation of so many low-income people performing low-paying but essential jobs has contributed to the making of a more vibrant urban economy, even if these same people are not necessarily the ones benefitting from New York’s economic dynamism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)932-959
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number6
Early online date27 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • South Bronx
  • Affordable Housing
  • City Rebuilding
  • New York City
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Social Inequality
  • Racial Segregation

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