When the New York City Housing Authority took form in 1934 and began building housing projects, its officials initially thought the agency would need to market its apartments to skeptical New Yorkers. (They need not have worried.) NYCHA reached out to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal effort to promote cultural programs, travel and tourism in the United States, health and safety issues, and community activities while giving employment to artists lacking jobs.
The result was a series of striking WPA posters featuring the design ethic of the projects themselves, including these surivivng examples now housed by the Library of Congress. They are displayed here to provide a look back at an era when the projects offered housing unambiguously decent. Curiously, most of these examples seek to lure New Yorkers by focussing on the ills of slum housing rather than any intrinsic appeal of the projects themselves. By contrast, survivng examples of Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority posters directly promote new public housing in that city.