Unruly Spaces of Managed Persistence

Robert P. Fairbanks

in How It Works

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226234083
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226234113 | DOI:
Unruly Spaces of Managed Persistence

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This chapter sketches an elaborate ecology of managed persistence to explain the proliferation of unregulated, illegal recovery houses in Philadelphia, and explains how illegal forms of housing settlement are selectively tolerated because of the benefits that governments enjoy from their survival. To illustrate how managed persistence works in Philadelphia, it reveals how the recovery house movement has taken shape at the vortex of several factors such as a degraded post-industrial landscape, modest pump-priming dollars from a declining welfare state, the absence of recovery house licensure, and the role of the houses in providing affordable housing options. The chapter then complicates and builds on the notion of managed persistence through ethnographic analysis of recovery house practices, as well as key informant interviews with Licenses and Inspections (L&I) inspectors and public welfare officials. Certainly, the interviews and fieldwork presented in the chapter reveal a series of missteps, lapses, and loopholes—all of which rest implicitly on the original sin of a regulatory void that enables operator mobility and recovery house persistence.

Keywords: recovery houses; Philadelphia; government; managed persistence

Chapter.  18105 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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