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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Crime and Urban Form
  • Volume 13 Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Using the Weighted Displacement Quotient To Explore Crime Displacement From Public Housing Redevelopment Sites

Meagan Cahill , The Urban Institute

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


HOPE VI, a federal funding initiative begun in 1992, is designed to eradicate severely distressed public housing. The program implicitly recognized the importance of geography to its efforts, also aiming to improve conditions in areas surrounding sites targeted for improvement under HOPE VI. This article considers changes effected by HOPE VI redevelopment from the perspective of geography, examining the spatial movement of crime in and around five public housing sites in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., throughout their redevelopment, using the Weighted Displacement Quotient (WDQ). The results from Milwaukee were mixed, with evidence of crime displacement provided by some of the WDQs. In Milwaukee, the redevelopment’s reduction effects on crime grew with time and were stronger later in the study period. The results from Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Gateway and Capper/Carrollsburg sites were much more consistent than those from Milwaukee, because the WDQs for different areas and time periods produced similar results, indicating a diffusion of benefits. Because of its simplicity, the WDQ should be attractive to practitioners who are studying the effects of this type of redevelopment, as long as the method is used with the understanding that the results are descriptive.

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