Building One America


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Building One America

  1. 1. Building One America A National Summit on Regional Opportunity john a. powell Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Moritz College of LawSeptember 17-18, 2009Washington, DC
  2. 2. My Biography• I was born…2
  3. 3. My Biography• I grew up…3
  4. 4. My ParentsMy parents weresharecroppersin the South.They left theSouth in searchof opportunity.4
  5. 5. HOME • They moved north• They moved north seeking opportunity and seeking bought a house. opportunity and bought a house.• Today I would say they bought into a low • Today I would say opportunity neighborhood. they bought into a low opportunity neighborhood. 5
  6. 6. My Old Neighborhood The vacant grassyplots are not parks. 6
  7. 7. What’s left behind?Vacant lots andabandoned houses 7
  8. 8. Where I Grew UpI grew up in a low opportunity structure in a declining 8 opportunity city.
  9. 9. It is also known as Detroit. 9
  10. 10. I now live in a high opportunity structure. 10
  11. 11. A Tale of High and Low Opportunity Structures Low Opportunity High Opportunity• Less the 25% of students in • The year my step daughter Detroit finish high school finished high school, 100%• More the 60% of the men will of the students graduated spend time in jail and 100% went to college• There may soon be no bus • Most will not even drive by a service in some areas jail• It is difficult to attract jobs or • Free bus service private capital • Relatively easy to attract• Not safe; very few parks capital• Difficult to get fresh food • Very safe; great parks 11 • Easy to get fresh food
  12. 12. Which community would you choose? 12
  13. 13. Some people ride the Others have to run“Up” escalator to reach up the “Down” opportunity escalator to get there 13
  14. 14. Who’s to blame?14 Photo source: (Madoff) AP
  15. 15. An interlocking set of laws, government policies, and court decisions have „set the stage‟ for the disparities we see today
  16. 16. The Courts: School Desegregation• In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court announced that segregation on the basis of race was unconstitutional, and that „separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.‟ 347 U.S. 495 (1954).
  17. 17. School Desegregation: Drawing a Line at the School Border• By the mid-1970s, the Court began to slowly withdraw its support for school desegregation.• In Miliken v. Bradley (1974), the Court ruled that lower courts could not order an „inter-district‟ remedy that encompassed suburban districts without first showing that the suburban district was liable.
  18. 18. School Desegregation: Drawing a Line at the School Border• The effect of the decision was to sanction white flight and jurisdictional fragmentation to escape the Brown mandate.• Between 1950 and 1990, the number of municipalities in major metropolitan areas grew from 193 to 9,600. During the 1990s alone, the suburban population grew 17.7% compared to 9% for cities.
  19. 19. 19
  20. 20. Historical Government Role“If a neighborhood is to retain stability, it is necessary that properties shall continue to be occupied by the same social and racial classes. A change in social or racial occupancy generally contributes to instability and a decline in values.” –Excerpt from the 1947 FHA underwriting manual 20
  21. 21. THEN:Neighborhoodsthat had raciallyrestrictivecovenants (whitesonly) SacramentoNOW:Highest loan denials
  22. 22. Urban Renewal decimated entireneighborhoods, displacing cityresidents from their communitiesand re-housing them in high-rise, public housing projects
  23. 23. 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 23 obtain a mortgage.
  24. 24. Federal subsidies bankrolled Whites‟ departure to the suburbs, while neglecting public transit in the cities, creating racially and economically inequitable regions 50,000 45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 $ in millions 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 1956 1958 1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 Transit HighwaySource: U.S. Congressional Budget Office, Trends in Public Spending on Transportation and Water Infrastructure, 1956 to2004, August 2007. Data obtained from supplementary tables downloaded from, 17 December 2007.
  25. 25. 25Regional Fragmentation SuburbsSuburbs Central Suburbs City Suburbs
  26. 26. Low-income whitesare not as spatiallysegregated as low- income people of color
  27. 27. Structural Racialization Context: The Dominant Consensus on Race White privilege National values Contemporary culture Current Manifestations: Social and Institutional Dynamics Processes that maintain racial Racialized public policies and hierarchies institutional practices Outcomes: Racial Disparities Racial inequalities in current levels of Capacity for individual and community well-being improvement is undermined Ongoing Racial Inequalities 27Adapted from the Aspen Roundtable on Community Change. “Structural Racism and Community Building.” June 2004
  28. 28. Institutionalized Disinvestment: Redlining Map of Philadelphia 28
  29. 29. FromRedlining to Reverse Redlining
  30. 30. Connecticut
  31. 31. Columbus
  32. 32. Cleveland: Foreclosure and Race - Same TrendsMaps: Produced andadapted from CharlesBromley, SAGESPresidentialFellow, Case WesternUniversity 32
  33. 33. Baltimore:Foreclosure &Race/Income 33
  34. 34. 34
  35. 35. Gentrification:A New Form of Exclusion?
  36. 36. Building Sustainable, Inclusive Regions• Strong coalitions between cities and suburbs• Federal policies integrating housing, transportation, and infrastructure – Affirmatively connecting all people to opportunity throughout regions
  37. 37. Equitable regionalism– The city‟s economic future is dependent on its most plentiful natural resource, human capacity and innovation– Without addressing the social, racial and interregional inequities facing the region, the future of the entire region is compromised
  38. 38. Learning From Our Mistakes?• If we fail to pay attention to the resources that communities possess, we are likely to repeat the mistakes of the New Deal. – For example, Social Security benefits were initially denied to household and farm laborers – effectively excluding 65% of the Black population• How do we avoid the New Deal mistakes? – We must be intentional. – Policies should be targeted and programs should be structured so that they reach certain populations and communities.
  39. 39. Principles for Fair Policy– Targeted: Recognize the nature of our interconnected structures / larger inequitable, institutional framework.– Attention to situatedness: People are situated differently in the economic and social landscape of society.– Review outcomes: It may seem great if unemployment is cut in half, but if all the jobs go to white males, serious problems remain.– People of color included the process: Input from people often most impacted by the policies is vital.
  40. 40. Communities of Opportunity – Everyone should have fair access to the critical opportunity structures needed to succeed in life – Affirmatively connecting people to opportunity creates positive, transformativ e change in communities 41
  41. 41. Housing is an opportunityanchor and key leverage point Health Employment Childcare Housing Effective Education Participation Transportation 42
  42. 42. Example: Opportunity Based Housing - Integration into Opportunity• Rethink fair housing…• Not just integration but integration into opportunity• Inclusive fair housing means access to good schools, jobs, doctors, child care, transportation, parks, and the civic fabric 43
  43. 43. Connecting Multiple Domains: Housing and Schools How can we reverse this pattern? Low Opportunity High Opportunity 44
  44. 44. LIHTC and Segregated Schools• Currently, LIHTC development is conflicting with efforts to desegregate schools.• Nearly ¾‟s of African American and Hispanic LIHTC residents are located in segregated schools. Figure 8: Percentage of LIHTC Population within Proximity to Segregated Schools: Population in > 90% 50 to 100% Students of household by White Color household race: American Indian 16.8% 18.7% Asian 6.9% 71.3% Black 6.0% 69.6% Hispanic 8.4% 74.3% Other Race 33.5% 23.2% White 32.5% 17.0% 45
  45. 45. Agenda for Sustainable, Inclusive Regions• Revitalize core cities• Stabilize Older Suburbs• Diversify Newer Suburbs
  46. 46. Federal and state policies can support sustainable regional development by:• Mandating inclusionary opportunity-based housing development• Eliminating tax advantages and subsidies for „Greenfield‟ development• Limiting sprawl-inducing transportation and other infrastructure investments
  47. 47. Key Federal Policies • Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009 • Sustainable Communities Initiative • Reform HUD Housing Policies • Support diverse school districts and integration effortsThese must work together across multiple domains to connec all people to regional opportunity
  48. 48. Connecting to OpportunityThe Sustainable Communities Initiative must• Involve the entire region• Focus on social and racial justice goals• Utilize a strategy of changing the “geography of opportunity”
  49. 49. Connecting to Opportunity con’t:Reforming HUD Housing policies• Section 8 reform and reauthorization• LIHTC allocation policy• Enforcement of fair housing
  50. 50. Connecting Multiple Domains: Housing, Transportation and Land use PlanningThe Surface Transportation Authorization Act should:• Encourage Transit-oriented Development• Implement a “Fix it First” policy• Track race and opportunity in regional development patterns• Reform Metropolitan Planning Organizations• Set regional goals to reduce Sprawl, Segregation, and Concentrated Poverty• Increase employment of Women and Minorities in Federal Infrastructure Projects
  51. 51. Crisis …• Etymology: Middle English, from Latin, from Greek krisis, literally, decisio n, from krinein to decide• The Chinese symbol for crisis is a combination of the symbols for danger and opportunity Courtesy Hill Holiday Communications
  52. 52. Urgency…• Detroit‟s “frog in a pot” is cooked. Everyone else‟s is just warm…19th Century 21st Century
  53. 53. G20 Protests in Europe - 2009Reuters: Toby Melville; Digby Oldridge/PR Eye; Chris Ison/PA 54
  54. 54. Where will she grow up and go to school? ...
  55. 55. Questions or Comments: 56