The Racialization of Public Housing: A Comparative Case Study of the City of Richmond and Stockholm
Housing for the poor, which is essential to ensuring basic dignity and survival, is highly racialized and segregated in the U.S. In this comparative case study, I compare the Swedish universal public housing program with the American means-tested public housing program. I trace the racialization of universal versus means-tested programs to understand how policy design influences race politics. Specifically, I hypothesize that means-tested programs, which are targeted at the poor, will become racialized, stigmatizing the poor and generating racial resentment against welfare. In contrast, universal programs, which are available to all citizens regardless of income, will incorporate the poor into the body politic. I test these expectations through a comparison of U.S. public housing and the Swedish Million Homes Programme.