Date(s) - 02/08/18
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore
Seminary Co-op Bookstores
Thursday, February 8, 2018 – 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Ben Austen discusses High Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing.
At the Co-op
RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested, not required)
About the book: High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project. Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000—all of it packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource—it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, the families dispersed. In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told movingly through the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of moving portraits, High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor—and what we can learn from those mistakes.
About the author: Ben Austen’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Wired, The Atlantic, Harper’s and The Best American Travel Writing; he is a former editor at Harper’s Magazine, a former high school English teacher, and one-time Fulbright scholar to South Africa. Born and raised in Chicago, he currently lives there with his wife and two children. This is his first book.