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History, Challenges & Opportunity for America’s First Suburbs john a. powell July 18, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "History, Challenges & Opportunity for America’s First Suburbs john a. powell July 18, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 History, Challenges & Opportunity for America’s First Suburbs john a. powell July 18, 2011

2 The 20 th Century History of Suburbia Suburbs have existed for more than century ▫ Streetcar suburbs of the early late 19 th and early 20 th century  Tied to streetcar development ▫ Post WWII suburbs  Tied to FHA, Federal Highway Construction, GI Bill ▫ Post 1990’s – rise of the exurbs & return back to the city  Fueled by housing bubble Long history of people moving away from the congestion and conditions of the inner city Race intertwined with this movement and shift of people and opportunity in our metropolitan areas throughout the past century 2

3 History of Post-War Suburbs Historically, our nation’s suburbs have been defined by their homogeneity; from their physical form to their demographics, our nation’s suburbs represented uniformity. Suburbia fused ethnic identities into a new “whiteness” as suburban residents and developers produced a pattern of segregation which was repeated across the U.S. and reinforced by various forms of de jure and de facto discrimination.

4 Overall Historical Trend: Decentralization of Population Source: Mills, 1972

5 Role of the Federal Government: Suburbanization and Homeownership A series of mutually reinforcing federal policies across multiple domains have contributed to the disparities we see today ▫ GI Bill, Urban Renewal Emergence of discriminatory policies ▫ Racial Covenants ▫ Racial Steering ▫ Redlining & Mortgage Lending ▫ Housing Discrimination Housing as a marginalizing tool Suburbs become bastion of opportunity at the expense of cities

6 6 The Rise of Suburbia: But not accessible to everyone In the suburb-shaping years ( ), less than one-percent of all African Americans were able to obtain a mortgage.

7 watch?v=mW764dXEI_8&f eature=related

8 The effects of redlining ▫ Philadelphia Mortgage Insurance and Redlining ▫ Historic Lending and Today’s Opportunity Landscape ▫ Redlining was one of several tools to assure that our nation’s new suburban utopia remained White.

9 9 The “Wailing Wall” in Detroit

10 Examples of Covenants: Seattle, WA 10

11 Role of the Government: School Policy Progress in desegregation came after the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and following a series of Supreme Court decisions tightening requirements, ending delay, and authorizing busing. But have been re-segregating gradually over two decades ▫ Supreme Court decisions limiting desegregation (early 1990’s and 2007) ▫ The country’s growing Latino and black student populations are more segregated now than the 1960’s. ▫ Black and Latino segregation today segregates by race, class and educational opportunity

12 Suburbanization & Public Policy: Subsidizing Shifting Opportunity in Our Metropolitan Areas Suburbanization has been encouraged through federal policies related to…. ▫ Infrastructure ▫ Housing finance ▫ Local economic incentives ▫ Transportation subsidies  heavily subsidized road infrastructure and inexpensive oil

13 (Meanwhile in our Cities) Unprecedented Concentrated Poverty: Urban Renewal & the rise of concentrated public housing 13

14 Suburbia: Challenges & Opportunities

15 Can you identify this type of community in 2011? Is it the City or Suburbia? Business and job loss Growing poverty Population loss Growing financial security in the schools? Escalating vacancy, foreclosures and abandonment Unstable tax base

16 A Shift Has Been Occurring… The growth of diversity in our suburbs should be celebrated and does represent progress, but this progress should be viewed with caution, and from a historical perspective.

17 Growing Suburban Diversity Source: Brookings Institution

18 The changing face of suburbia ▫ Increasing suburban diversity ▫ Little evidence showing any current trends of “white flight” ▫ On the contrary, more whites are moving into cities 18

19 Changes Within Our Suburbs Increasing suburban diversity ▫ In 2007, the Census Bureau found 40% of immigrants were moving directly to suburban areas (Roberts, 2007). ▫ Approximately half of the nation’s immigrant population and 40% of the poor immigrant population live in our nation’s suburbs (DeParle, 2009).

20 But is it resulting in integration? “…it appears that the movement to the suburbs may not be true integration, but may actually represent the movement of concentrated racial populations into suburban areas” (Weizel, 2010) While suburban diversity is growing, residential segregation has only slightly declined for many racial groups. School segregation, along the lines of both race and class has actually increased in recent years (Bordas, 2006) Chasing Opportunity… Evidence suggests that the people of color who are moving into our nation’s suburbs are not necessarily making moves into areas of great opportunity, but into communities that are on the decline.

21 21 Continued Segregation from Opportunity? Suburbanizing African Americans in Baltimore are moving to areas with marginal economic growth

22 22 The following map illustrates “opportunity mapping” in Chicago. Communities in blue contain the highest concentration of opportunity, areas in red the lowest. Note that opportunity is highly clustered in the northern suburbs. Suburbanizing African Americans in Chicago are Moving Away from Opportunity

23 23 Suburbanizing African Americans in Chicago are Moving Away from Opportunity (High growth areas in dark blue). The following map shows that the largest movement of African Americans in Chicago (to the south side suburbs) is in the opposite direction of opportunity in Chicago (previous map).

24 Common Characteristics of First Suburbs Aging infrastructure and housing stock Aging population High public service costs Stressed tax bases Growing poverty

25 How do we seize this critical urban-suburban moment? An opportunity for real integration in first suburb communities, schools, and public spaces. Traditional assets of first suburbs can be leveraged to open opportunity to all, and build strong, diverse communities.

26 Opportunity Matters: Space, Place, and Life Outcomes “Opportunity” is a situation or condition that places individuals in a position to be more likely to succeed or excel. Opportunity structures are critical to opening pathways to success: ▫ High-quality education ▫ Healthy and safe environment ▫ Stable housing ▫ Sustainable employment ▫ Political empowerment ▫ Outlets for wealth-building ▫ Positive social networks 26

27 Space and Opportunity 27

28 "The old concepts of suburbia, Sun Belt, and Rust Belt are outdated and at odds with effective governance." -Alan Berube, The Brookings Institution Retire our traditional urban/suburban dichotomy, understand these changing conditions Learning from historic urban-suburban trends Refining our policies and approaches for new realities Adopt an opportunity based model: ▫ Opening and establishing pathways to opportunity for all

29 Moving from Transactional Policies to Transformational Policies Retiring our traditional transactional approaches to addressing urban/suburban development ▫ Transactional approaches  Intra regional economic cannibalism (zero sum tax incentive competition)  Peanut butter investment (spreading infrastructure investments widely and subsidizing shifting opportunity away from people)  Working in silo’s (housing, education, transportation) Embracing a transformational approach ▫ Regional solutions : regional revenue sharing, regional planning and sustainable development ▫ Sustainable Solutions: taking a systems perspective:  Tying housing, education & transportation initiatives together (breaking down silos)

30 Building Economically Vibrant Communities & Regions by Affirmatively Assuring Equity Inclusion is essential for healthy sustainable communities ▫ A 2006 Federal Reserve study found that a skilled workforce, high levels of racial inclusion and improved income equality correlate strongly and positively with economic growth at the regional level.  Eberts, Randall, George Erickcek and Jack Kleinhenz "Dashboard Indicators for the NortheastOhio Economy: Prepared for the Fund for Our Economic Future." in Working Paper Cleveland, OH: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

31 Positive Signs: The Growing Sustainability Movement HUD the DOT and EPA are now partnering to provide federal leadership and support for sustainable development and planning Launch of regional sustainable communities planning grants ▫ Deliberately linking the economy, environment & equity ▫ Breaking down silos ▫ Incentivizing regional planning and regional cooperation 31

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