The Geography of Opportunity: Race and Housing Choice in Metropolitan America

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Xavier de Souza Briggs
Brookings Institution Press, Mar 30, 2006 - Political Science - 353 pages
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A popular version of history trumpets the United States as a diverse "nation of immigrants," welcome to all. The truth, however, is that local communities have a long history of ambivalence toward new arrivals and minorities. Persistent patterns of segregation by race and income still exist in housing and schools, along with a growing emphasis on rapid metropolitan development (sprawl) that encourages upwardly mobile families to abandon older communities and their problems. This dual pattern is becoming increasingly important as America grows more diverse than ever and economic inequality increases. Two recent trends compel new attention to these issues. First, the geography of race and class represents a crucial litmus test for the new "regionalism"—the political movement to address the linked fortunes of cities and suburbs. Second, housing has all but disappeared as a major social policy issue over the past two decades. This timely book shows how unequal housing choices and sprawling development create an unequal geography of opportunity. It emerges from a project sponsored by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University in collaboration with the Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Brookings Institution. The contributors—policy analysts, political observers, social scientists, and urban planners—document key patterns, their consequences, and how we can respond, taking a hard look at both successes and failures of the past. Place still matters, perhaps more than ever. High levels of segregation shape education and job opportunity, crime and insecurity, and long-term economic prospects. These problems cannot be addressed effectively if society assumes that segregation will take care of itself. Contributors include William Apgar (Harvard University), Judith Bell (PolicyLink), Angela Glover Blackwell (PolicyLink), Allegra Calder (Harvard), Karen Chapple (Cal-Berkeley), Camille Charles (Penn), Mary Cunningham (Urban Institute), Casey Dawkins (Virginia Tech), Stephanie DeLuca (Johns Hopkins), John Goering (CUNY), Edward Goetz (U. of Minnesota), Bruce Katz (Brookings), Barbara Lukermann (U. of Minnesota), Gerrit Knaap (U. of Maryland), Arthur Nelson (Virginia Tech), Rolf Pendall (Cornell), Susan J. Popkin (Urban Institute), James Rosenbaum (Northwestern), Stephen L. Ross (U. of Connecticut), Mara Sidney (Rutgers), Phillip Tegeler (Poverty and Race Research Action Council), Tammy Tuck (Northwestern), Margery Austin Turner (Urban Institute), William Julius Wilson (Harvard).

 

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Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction
1
Chapter 2 More Pluribus Less Unum? The Changing Geography of Race and Opportunity
17
Housing Choice Racial Attitudes and Discrimination
43
Housing Opportunity for LowIncome Families
125
Metropolitan Development and Policy Coalitions
217
Conclusions
287
Contributors
343
Index
345
Back Cover
354
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About the author (2006)

Xavier de Souza Briggs is associate professor of sociology and urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former faculty member at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a former senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. William Julius Wilson is the Lewis F. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University.

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