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Since February 2000, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has operated the Plan for Transformation, the largest public housing reform program in the United States. Its goals are to "renew the physical structure of CHA properties," "promote self-sufficiency for public housing residents" and "reform administration of the CHA." Consequently, the CHA has limited its role as comprehensive manager of the public housing system in favor of administering a network of private management companies. This transition is best expressed through the demolition of most of the CHA's high-rise buildings and large-scale projects and the construction of mixed-income developments in their stead.

As the organizational structure and built environment have been transformed, so have residents' lives. While many residents report improvements in conditions, a significant number of residents -- particularly those in mixed-income developments -- struggle within the new system. The most commonly reported concerns involve the difficulty of conforming to stricter regulations as well as miscommunications with market-rate residents. The way the CHA and residents negotiate these problems is evolving along with the continued modification of the communities.

With the above in mind, this ongoing series follows the use, demolition, construction and reoccupation of these public housing projects.

Nearly 40 photographs from Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation are included in The Poorhouse from Southern Illinois University Press.

An edit of the series was recently exhibited in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, where the project was selected as a highlight by publications including Metropolis, Frieze, and Curbed. The series has also exhibited in An Invisible Hand at Weinberg/Newton Gallery, in two shows at the National Public Housing Museum, and part of the exhibition Reimagining Open Space in the Inner City at Columbia College.

Photographs and interviews from the project were included in David's contribution to the National Film Board of Canada's interactive documentary "Highrise: Out My Window."

Prints from the Chicago Housing Authority's Plan for Transformation are available directly from David.

The entire series may be viewed on David's account at flickr.com.


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