Understanding the Historical Roots and Implications of Today’s Housing Policy: Contradictions and Possible Neighborhood Trajectories in Lewiston, Maine’s Growing Our Tree Streets Choice Transformation Plan
Department or Program
In FY2020, the City of Lewiston received a $30 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant will fund revitalization efforts in the downtown Tree Streets neighborhood based on the Growing Our Tree Streets Plan. It primarily focuses on several housing initiatives, including the development of new and replacement housing, lead abatement, and increasing ownership and community control. Given Lewiston’s past and the issues facing the Tree Streets today (e.g., high poverty, un/underemployment, food insecurity, etc.), which reflect widespread national issues (particularly in deindustrialized communities), the City acts as a case study for disinvestment and reinvestment in local communities. This thesis seeks to contextualize Lewiston’s Choice Plan within historical trends of national housing policy and a dominant neoliberal housing paradigm. In this pursuit, I ask: In what ways does Lewiston’s Growing Our Tree Streets Choice Transformation Plan conform to or depart from historical housing trends, particularly contemporary neoliberal precedent? What contradictions arise within the plans’ strategies and partners? Through a survey of 150 years of national housing policy history and an analysis of Lewiston’s plan, I explore possible community outcomes resulting from Choice reinvestment. This thesis argues that despite the many radical intentions expressed in Lewison’s plan, the broader neoliberal housing paradigm imposes constraints on realizing a truly radical community vision. This analysis takes a place-based examination of the broader question – what visions of housing does society articulate and value, and how does this impact accessibility to safe, healthy, affordable communities?
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Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Arts
Beckerman, Eleanor, "Understanding the Historical Roots and Implications of Today’s Housing Policy: Contradictions and Possible Neighborhood Trajectories in Lewiston, Maine’s Growing Our Tree Streets Choice Transformation Plan" (2022). Honors Theses. 391.
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Available to all.