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  • The “Narrative” of my talk. There are opportunity structures that shape peoples lives beyond the decisions they make. These structures are racialized. We can use maps to represent them and further to design interventions to disrupt the processes that produce racialized outcomes. Specifically, we can use opportunity maps to propose integration remedies across regions that will move students to high opportunity schools.
  • It is important to emphasize that this is a conceptual framework, built upon existing empirical data. This framework is important because of the new insights it provides.
  • This data is not new or comprehensive. The conceptual framework within which this evidence is understood provides important insights. Even for the non-poor, living in impoverished neighborhoods reduces student IQ by 4 points, roughly the equivalent to missing one year of school (Sampson 2007)
  • Two-thirds of white families in poverty are poor for only three year or less (intermittently), and only 2 percent are impoverished for more than 10 years. 17 percent of the impoverished Black population are poor for ten or more years. African Americans are more likely to suffer the cumulative effects of prolonged poverty, such as long-term, inadequate health care and lack of access to and experience in the mainstream labor market. Even for the non-poor, living in impoverished neighborhoods reduces student IQ by 4 points, roughly the equivalent to missing one year of school (Sampson 2007)
  • Decades of magnet schools have created the perception that Montclair is an integrated community. This map helped illustrate the continued need for integrative measures.
  • Decades of magnet schools have created the perception that Montclair is an integrated community. This map helped illustrate the continued need for integrative measures.


  • 1. The Racialized Structure of Opportunity Stephen Menendian Senior Legal Research Associate, The Kirwan Institute For the Study of Race and Ethnicity The Ohio State University March 10, 2010
  • 2.
    • What is an “Opportunity Structure”?
    • Opportunity Mapping
      • To represent the distribution of opportunity
      • To design interventions to challenge these structures
  • 3. Opportunity Matters Race, Place and Life Outcomes
  • 4.
    • Opportunity structures are the web of influences beyond our control that enhance and constrain our ability to succeed and excel.
    • Life chances are shaped by opportunity structures , and those structures are often just as important, if not more so, than the choices that individuals make.
    Opportunity Structures
  • 5.
    • The opportunity structure includes the geographically varying set of institutions, systems, and markets of the area in which a person is born.
    Achieved Outcomes Metropolitan Characteristics (employment, income, industry) Fixed Personal Characteristics (race, gender, status, ethnicity, primary language) Local Jurisdictional Characteristics (health, education, safety programs) Neighborhood Characteristics (peers, networks, institutions, transportation) Malleable Personal Characteristics (skills, experience, et)
  • 6.
    • This is a claim that these opportunity structures are racialized , meaning that they produce and reinforce racial advantages and disadvantages.
    • The linkage between race, place, and life outcomes is mediated by three related forces:
      • Sprawl (Jurisdictional Fragmentation)
      • Concentrated Poverty
      • Racial and Economic Segregation
    Structural Racialization
  • 7.  
  • 8.  
  • 9.
  • 10.  
  • 11. The Rise of Suburbia: But not accessible to everyone In the suburb-shaping years (1930-1960), less than one-percent of all African Americans were able to obtain a mortgage.
  • 12. The Fair Housing Act of 1968
    • The last ‘plank’ in the Civil Rights movement.
      • Signed into law a week after the assassination of MLK
    • Prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of residential housing.
      • Exempted single family dwellings that were not sold using a realtor
    • Duty of all executive and administrative agencies to ‘affirmatively further’ fair housing.
  • 13.
    • Sprawl: Between 1950 and 1990, the number of municipalities in metropolitan areas grew from 193 to 9,600.
    • Segregation: Typical white resident resides in a neighborhood that is 80% white. A typical Black person lives in a neighborhood that is 33% white.
    • Concentrated Poverty: 3 of 4 persons living in concentrated poverty are Black or Latino even though more whites are poor.
  • 14. Cross-Domain Impacts of Opportunity Segregation Neighborhood Segregation School Segregation Racial stigma, other psychological impacts Job segregation community power, civic participation and individual assets Educational Achievement Exposure to crime Transportation limitations and other inequitable public services Adapted from figure by Barbara Reskin at: http://faculty.washington.edu/reskin/ Segregation impacts a number of life-opportunities Impacts on Health
  • 15. Opportunity Mapping The Geography of Opportunity
  • 16. Maps can visually track the history and presence of discriminatory and exclusionary policies that spatially segregate people.
  • 17.
  • 18. Columbus
  • 19.
    • Since opportunity is a spatial phenomena, maps are naturally an effective way to represent it
    • Opportunity mapping is a research tool used to better understand the dynamics of “opportunity”
    • Maps allow us to understand volumes of data at a glance through layering
    Opportunity Mapping
  • 20. Demand Connection Supply Layering of Information
  • 21. Comprehensive Opportunity Map
  • 22. Comprehensive Opportunity Map: Greater Boston
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25. Access to Opportunity: Race
    • Racialized isolation from neighborhoods of opportunity in Massachusetts:
      • More than 90% of African-American and Latino households in 2000 were isolated in the lowest opportunity neighborhoods in the State
      • Over 55% of Asian households were found in low-opportunity neighborhoods
      • By contrast, only 31% of White, Non-Latino households were found in low-opportunity neighborhoods
  • 26.
    • School Composition layered over census tract data in Montclair, NJ
    • Maps illustrate how residential segregation can manifests in schools
  • 27.
    • Magnet school policy counteracts effects of neighborhood segregation
  • 28.
  • 29.
  • 30. Opportunity Mapping For Schools
    • Mapping the geographic distribution of opportunity helps us to evaluate where these opportunity mismatches exist in a community and to design interventions to move people to opportunity
    • Education Quality and Opportunity
      • Student Expenditures
      • Student Poverty Rate
      • Test Scores for Neighborhood Schools
      • Graduation and Dropout Rates
      • Teacher Quality (Experience, Qualifications, etc)
  • 31.
  • 32. Three Zone Integration Model
    • GOAL: Each school has diversity of students from each zone, within 5% point deviation of K class zone baseline.
    • K and transfer students are assigned based on parental preference and zone balance.
  • 33. Application: Thompson v. HUD Baltimore, MA
  • 34. Example: Opportunity Based Housing in Practice (Baltimore – Thompson Litigation)
      • Plaintiffs used opportunity mapping to frame their remedial proposal, in response to a liability ruling that found the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in violation of the Fair Housing Act
      • The plaintiffs have proposed establishing 7,000 affordable housing units in the region’s high- opportunity communities, available to volunteers who wish to relocate out of the City of Baltimore’s public housing
  • 35. Methodology: Indicator Categories
    • Education
      • Student/Teacher ratio? Test scores? Student mobility?
    • Economic/Employment Indicators
      • Unemployment rate? Proximity to employment? Job creation?
    • Neighborhood Quality
      • Median home values? Crime rate? Housing vacancy rate?
    • Mobility/Transportation Indicators
      • Mean commute time? Access to public transit?
    • Health & Environmental Indicators
      • Access to health care? Exposure to toxic waste? Proximity to parks or open space?
  • 36. Proposed remedy identifies Communities of Opportunity
    • Used 14 indicators of neighborhood opportunity to designate high and low opportunity neighborhoods in the region
      • Neighborhood Quality/Health
        • Poverty, Crime, Vacancy, Property Values, Population Trends
      • Economic Opportunity
        • Proximity to Jobs and Job Changes, Public Transit
      • Educational Opportunity
        • School Poverty, School Test Scores, Teacher Qualifications
  • 37. Application: Stimulus Projects and Job Creation We can use opportunity maps to see if ARRA funds are being used to help those communities that have been hardest hit by the recession
  • 38. Save the date; March 11-13, 2010
  • 39. Appendix