Atlanta Is Making Way for New Public Housing

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In 1936, Atlanta built Techwood Homes, the nation’s first housing project. By the 1990s, a greater percentage of the city’s residents were living in housing projects — sprawling red-brick barracks that pockmarked the skyline — than in any other city in America.

Now, Atlanta is nearing a very different record: becoming the first major city to knock them all down. By next June, officials here plan to demolish the city’s last remaining housing project, fulfilling a long and divisive campaign to reduce poverty by decentralizing it.

Mixed-income developments oriented toward families, with trendy shops, golf courses and Y.M.C.A.’s, are emerging where bleak, uniform towers once stood. Displaced residents are receiving vouchers to move to private housing. And a landmark experiment in housing the urban poor in large government-run facilities that began under the New Deal is being undone.

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