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Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring (citylab.com)
29 points by pseudolus 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments



She's just modeling the bottoming out of the middle-class. Its interesting that it visually looks a lot like cancer metastasizing.


What? You seem to be implying that people are forced to move to cities because it's cheaper?

I think you'll find that a lot of people have decided they would rather live in cities rather than the suburbs.


The unfortunate reality of the situation is that a lot of these disparities have to do with culture. Wealthier neighborhoods tend to be white and asian as those cultures tend to instill pursuing a higher level of education in their children as well as a few other positive values I could mention.. As long as politically correct leftists (a majority in this country) keep turning a blind eye away from these hard truths, and refuse to put their boot on the ground, these communities will unfortunately continue to be afflicted by their own culture.


As someone from Europe - I find it really weird they just seem to treat racial and economic classes as more or less interchangeable.

It's as if white==wealthy and black==poor - is the situation still so dire in the USA?


A higher percentage of black people live in poverty than white people[0], but the disparity is emphasized in cities. Read about White Flight.[1]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_the_United_States#B...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_flight


When white people move out of a neighborhood, it’s “white flight,” when they move in it’s “gentrification.” What is it called when they stay where they are?


There is sometimes a name for that too: a racial housing covenant.

When the California legislature passed a law outlawing them in 1963, the initiative process was used the next year to pass Prop. 14, which specifically allowed racial covenants in transferring housing. It passed with 67% of voters approving it.


I think you'll find that the bad part here is this business of people acting as a bloc of homogeneous race.


But both "white flight" and "gentrification" are a bunch of individuals making similar choices. There's no pre-arranged conspiracy to all sell up next year & move to X; the only "homogeneous bloc" is in the eye of the speaker. And it is indeed slightly weird how opposite things are perceived negatively.


We call ourselves trapped.


In the U.S. we have a lot of problems that are really socio-economic that are discussed in terms of race. There are historical reasons for this and this is particularly true in the southeastern part of the country. When white people talk about those taking handouts or getting something for free they mostly are talking about poor brown people. This despite the fact that whites - due to being a majority of th population - consume a majority of the welfare. If I talk about poor people in a large city almost everyone will imagine a black person.

There is the perception broadly speaking that white = wealthy and black = poor. Blacks on average are poorer and are more likely to be charged with committing a crime but in terms of numbers most crimes are committed by whites and most poor people are white. In the 90s when Hilary Clinton talked about super predators the images were those of black criminals. When Reagan talked about welfare queens the image given was of a black woman with lots of kids.

I’ve felt that if poor whites in the U.S. stopped thinking of themselves as better than brown people, if they would stop believing the myths and media narratives about race then we’d have universal health care and free higher education. A former President from Texas once said

If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.


> When white people talk about those taking handouts or getting something for free they mostly are talking about poor brown people.

This is not my experience as a lifelong American with many white friends, family, etc.

> Blacks on average are poorer and are more likely to be charged with committing a crime but in terms of numbers most crimes are committed by whites and most poor people are white.

Of course, whites are a larger part of the population—60ish percent in the USA, but they undercommit crimes. For whatever reason (legacy of historical racism, poor socioeconomic status, etc), black Americans overcommit crimes both according to police data and victim reports.

Many are tempted to deny these facts as “supportive of racism”, but these facts don’t support racism because the variance within a race is huge and the overwhelming majority of any race are decent, productive, law-abiding people.

> I’ve felt that if poor whites in the U.S. stopped thinking of themselves as better than brown people, if they would stop believing the myths and media narratives about race then we’d have universal health care and free higher education.

In America, the media narratives about race are entirely sympathetic toward minorities. I would also appreciate a citation for the implication that poor white Americans are somehow more racist than other Americans (esp other poor Americans).


> In America, the media narratives about race are entirely sympathetic toward minorities. I would also appreciate a citation for the implication that poor white Americans are somehow more racist than other Americans (esp other poor Americans).

That may be starting to shift, but it is not true that American media is more sympathetic towards minorities.

"White Americans overestimate the proportion of crime committed by people of color, and associate people of color with criminality."

"Many media outlets reinforce the public’s racial misconceptions about crime by presenting African Americans and Latinos differently than whites – both quantitatively and qualitatively. Television news programs and newspapers over-represent racial minorities as crime suspects and whites as crime victims. Black and Latino suspects are also more likely than whites to be presented in a non-individualized and threatening way – unnamed and in police custody."

"Race and Punishment: Racial Perceptions of Crime and Support for Punitive Policies" https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11...


> That may be starting to shift, but it is not true that American media is more sympathetic towards minorities.

This is a puzzling claim, especially just a few weeks after the Covington incident.


You can cite anecdotes and the person you responded to cited a study. The puzzling thing is that you choose to focus on the former and not the latter. You have been presented evidence that your perception is not correct. Perhaps study the issue further to see if indeed your perception is incorrect.


The study posted cites this study on racial stereotypes.

http://sci-hub.tw/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00255.x

And this is the survey data on white perception of crime:

“When you think about people who break into homes and businesses, approximately what percent would you say are Black?”

40.4% Mean Perceived

31.7% Actual

“When you think about people who rob other people at gunpoint, approximately what percent would you say are Black?”

43.4% Mean Perceived

42.0% Actual

“When you think about people who sell illegal drugs, approximately what percent would you say are Black?”

40.2% Mean Perceived

33.6% Actual

“When you think just about juveniles who commit crimes, approximately what percent would you say are Black?”

40.8% Mean Perceived

31.3% Actual

Given that blacks are about 12% of the US population, these numbers show both that blacks commit a disproportionately large percentage of crimes, and that whites slightly over perceive this. It might be more valuable for blacks to focus on ways to lower the actual crime rate than the perceived crime rate.


It's interesting that they don't pose the same questions for other races.

I'd venture to say a bad thing like crime is always going to be overperceived in occurrence compared to what it actually is.

Unfortunately, for some crimes, like robbing people at gunpoint, the reality seems to come dangerously close to the overperception.


It might be more valuable for blacks to focus on ways to lower the actual crime rate than the perceived crime rate.

Oh definitely this is needed. Poor city black culture has some very negative aspects to it that this community needs to address. This fact coupled with the environment of political correctness makes it hard to have honest discussions about race.


As an aside, at what point do we stop an interesting discussion due to a limit of studies or data.

If something hasn't been measured, or hasn't been measured since 2016, can we really just give in.

If the question is about media being sympathetic, in recent years, toward the oppression that every black person in the u.s. experiences every day. Does data from the 90s really trump no data at all? Isn't the question about recent times for which nobody might have evidence for ordering either case.

And if there is no study, can a sound and valid argument still be made.


In general I agree with the sentiment of your comments. I’m not one to dismiss a person’s opinion posted on an internet discussion site due to lack of cited studies. No one can provide studies to back up their views in every instance.

In the context we are talking about media perceptions. One person presents a study that provides an opposite conclusion to another person’s view. That study is 4 years old. Things may have changed in the intervening 4 years and arguments that they have are welcome.


> the person you responded to cited a study

Which study? "Race and Punishment" appears to be a report/pamphlet by a research/advocacy org.

The quote "Many media outlets reinforce.." is found in the summary, without sources, not in the body of the document.

> You can cite anecdotes

The anecdote refers to a real event, and real media coverage.


> Which study? "Race and Punishment" appears to be a report/pamphlet by a research/advocacy org.

Thats severely mischaracterizing a summary report with many references.

> The anecdote refers to a real event, and real media coverage.

Even if there was a Covington like incident every month, it doesn't prove anything. Isolated incidents should not be used to make judgements or infer reality. Instead, use criminal justice data aggregated from around the country, like the report cites.


> Thats severely mischaracterizing a summary report with many references

Not at all. It's factually true. The burden of proof is to point to one of those references as convincing, otherwise you are just handing someone reference material and asking them to do the work.


weberc2 said that the cited paper/study/opinion piece was puzzling given one recent event. I suggested that weberc2 might want to further study the issue to see if his/her perception is wrong. I did not say that weberc2 is wrong. What I was hinting at is a larger issue facing American society as it pertains to media consumption.

In the present era it is easy for media to focus stories on a given segment of society. People increasingly are in “news” bubbles where their preconceived views are reinforced by the media they consume. I put news in quotes because mostly what we have now are entertainment companies whose business model is largely based on generating rage by framing stories a certain way.

I can see and understand why weberc2 thinks media portrayal is minority friendly. If I had to guess I’d wager that weberc2 leans right politically in the U.S. based on language he/she used. I think weberc2 is referring to politically correct speech and how we have gone a bit far in this regard when talking about race issues. It’s very hard to have an honest discussion about race in the U.S. because of this. I think weberc2’s view on the matter at hand is referring mostly to this or comes from this perspective. I could be wrong. This is all a guess on my part.

When I talked about media portrayal I’m talking about movies, tv shows, images that have been spun to give a certain perspective. Narratives that have been crafted over decades that change what images are evoked when certain phrases are said. For instance, it wasn’t until after white flight from the cities that “inner city” became a phrase.

My suggesting to weberc2 was to look into all this. In what ways have the sources of our information formed our views? Are those views correct? Does the evidence support them?


I do want to continue studying the issue, unfortunately there simply aren't many quality studies on the subject from the last two decades, and most are behind a paywall (never mind the replication crisis in the social sciences and the difficulty of accounting for the progressive bias). :( I could rattle off a list of anecdotes, but I doubt that would change minds and many would imply that I'm a racist for merely taking an interest and I don't care to deal with that this morning.

I'm politically center-left, and I live in one of the most racially diverse zip codes in the country. My "news bubble" is HuffPo, Vox, NYTimes, Guardian, Bloomberg, and WSJ (occassionally CNN). It's unfortunate that I have to defend myself against these implicit ad hominems.


I didn’t make any implicit ad hominems. From my perspective you read what I write and interpret it with an assumption that I’ve got a particular agenda. Here are some pertinent quotes from what I wrote:

I did not say that weberc2 is wrong.

I can see and understand why weberc2 thinks media portrayal is minority friendly.

If I had to guess I’d wager that weberc2 leans right politically in the U.S. based on language he/she used.....I could be wrong. This is all a guess on my part.

And here I switch from you to our. Since the issue does not pertain solely to you but to everyone including me.

In what ways have the sources of our information formed our views?

In what way have I engaged in ad hominem like reasoning. I have not characterized you as anything bad or negative. I did state that I thought you were right of center politically but in what way is this an attack?

It appears that we agree when it comes to talking about race issues. I wrote:

I think weberc2 is referring to politically correct speech and how we have gone a bit far in this regard when talking about race issues. It’s very hard to have an honest discussion about race in the U.S. because of this.

I don’t see how you can say you’ve been attacked or that you’ve had to defend yourself.


This was my mistake. I missed this bit from your post `and how we have gone a bit far in this regard when talking about race issues.` and thought you were saying something like "weberc2 leans right and that is what is wrong with race dialog in our country". My sincere apologies.

To clarify, I don't lean right (although there's nothing wrong with leaning right), and as previously discussed, I didn't make assumptions about your agenda--I only contextualized the statistics you cited.


I think you read what I wrote with some wrong assumptions. For instance you seem to think that my comment on blacks and crimes was a statement that supports a view of the legal system being racist. Nothing I said implies this or can reasonably be construed as suggesting this.

I said that blacks are on average more likely to be charged with committing a crime than whites. You agree with this since you mention that blacks overcommit crime. Obviously my comment suggests that the variance in the black community is higher than it is in the white community. I didn’t attempt to deny any facts as you put it. My agreement with you is right there in writing. I said blacks on average are more likely to be charged with committing a crime.

I don’t know how old you are but growing up in the 1970s and 1980s when crime was very high there was media narrative with regard to crime and race. This spilled over into the 1990s with Clinton’s remarks about super predators and the need for the 100 thousand cops program. The famous welfare queen that Reagan talked about was black and the image was created that blacks were a problem in terms of being a drain on the system.

Here’s a thought experiment. Have two black guys walk around a predominantly upper middle class white neighborhood walk around with hoodies and low jeans. See if the cops stop them. Have two white guys do the same. I’ll bet more times than not the white guys are treated differently.

Poor white Americans are not more racist than richer white Americans. Framing images and using coded language though allows poor white Americans to get a perception that the problem people, the ones who leech off the system are the brown people and not them. Using race gets people to lose focus on what ought to be socio economic discussions by getting them to think of race.

You should read about the Southern Strategy the Republican party engaged in. Here’s a quote from Atwater:

Y'all don't quote me on this. You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."


Anecdotally I see the cops talking to white youth in "gangbanger" dress quite often. I'm not sure the lesson is anything other than "if you don't want to be treated like a criminal, don't dress like a stereotypical example."


Thank you for your comment. Why does this attire evoke the image of a stereotypical example of a criminal? Where does this stereotype come from? Is the stereotype correct? Does it have anything to do with originating with black culture? Have you ever met a gangbanger? I havne’t. I too have this perception of this attire being “gangbanger dress”. But this perception does not come from experience. It comes from media.

I personally have not seen white youth in gangbanger attire accosted by cops in white upper class neighborhoods. I have seen blacks accosted in upper white neighborhoods. I’m willing to bet that most interactions between cops and whites in gangbanger attire in white neighborhoods are much less intense than between cops and blacks in said attire in white neighborhoods.


Wasnt assuming anything as your position was unclear; I was just adding important context since your statistics weren’t worth very much without it (e.g., noting that whites commit more crime isn’t meaningful without the context that they are a larger part of the population, and very often it is used to mislead).

Regarding the rest of your post, I can’t relate to your characterization as you seem to have a very different, very negative experience with white people than I have had. Since we can’t do much more than trade anecdotes, I’ll be ducking out now.


I mentioned that whites are a majority of the population. I wrote:

This despite the fact that whites - due to being a majority of th population - consume a majority of the welfare.

I’m just posting my own observations and views. I did quote some very specific examples to support my view but what I wrote wasn’t to be taken as conclusive proof.

There are a vast number of articles and scholarly works published on the issue of race portrayal in American media. You can do a web search to find them if you are interested in the topic.

By the way, I’m upper class white. Have very little experience with inner city black culture but realize that even using the phrase “inner city” is pretty much coded language. When people talk about inner city problems inevitably one thinks of brown people. You and your friends may be exceptions to this but statistics and surveys show otherwise for most people.


Doesn't this trend manifest in European countries as well? (E.g. https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/poverty-rates-among-ethnic-gro...). I don't know about equality, but correlation seems to be there and doesn't strike me as intuitively "weird," or surprising, if undesirable.

Now the linkage in the zeitgeist of race and socioeconomics is another matter. I'd be curious if it can be attributed convincingly to some American social factor (racial heterogeneity, our media, our relative lack of ethnically meaningful home states), but that's one for the social historians.


It's not as clear cut. Much of the non-European immigration took place fairly recently (post war time) and people migrated mainly to cities.

Urban areas tend to be wealthier (obvs not always, but it is a trend) and have more opportunities. SO whilst these immigrants were at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder where they were, they were on a different ladder to those in rural areas.

So you get rural areas of poor people of largely European descent, and a more mixed (due to more economic mobility) city wealth demography.

This is not the whole story, but I think could be part of it.


In the northern parts of the US, the timeline is not so different -- there were some black people there in 1940, but a large majority moved up postwar. To work in industries which are now dead, concentrated in certain cities, but not to the rural parts in between.


In the Netherlands, people in rural areas are wealthy. They are either older folks with large pensions and investment accounts, farmers with large plots of expensive land or people with good paying jobs that want out of the busy city.

A nice house out in the country is at least half a million.


That sounds roughly the same as the US, just at a different scale and more recent.


The racial wealth gap has only increased since the civil rights movement in America (1960s). There never was anything dramatic enough done by the government to bring living standards up to par for black Americans after slavery and Jim Crow.


It's not a problem the government can fix, that much should be clear by now. Trillions of dollars have been spent on fighting poverty. It hasn't worked.


Poverty programs aren't aimed and aren't large enough to deal with the issue. Just lifting someone up enough to get them above the poverty line isn't the going to address the problem that their parents and their grandparents were systematically locked out of education, employment, and housing markets. That kind of wealth builds year on year and generation on generation and the gap will take longer to erase.


Europe is far worse than the US. France, Germany and Italy are full of ghettos. In the US at least, money buys you a modicum of respect. A black man can’t catch a break in France, regardless of how wealthy he is. That’s real classism.


Have you ever been to France? Because what you say does not accord at all with what the French people I know would say. It’s all about class. There are many fewer black or Arab French who go to good universities and go on to get good jobs but once you’re middle class and not in les banlieues you’re not going to be treated badly because you’re visibly different any more than the Vietnamese are.


liberté, égalité, fraternité... pour les blancs.


No first-hand experience either way, but this is a good excuse to recommend Thomas Chatterton Williams, a black American guy who moved to France and likes it there, and has many interesting things to say:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/304246/losing-my-co...

Also lots of essays worth reading, NYTimes, LRB, etc.


One point I don't see in the other responses: that conflation is way more coherent when you're looking at specific areas.

Citylab is looking at relative wealth in cities, and urban poverty really is hugely tied to race in the US for a bunch of reasons ranging from inherited wealth (having ancestors who owned land is a very big deal if they bought it in now-expensive cities) to overt discrimination in the recent past (white flight, blockbusting, etc.)

Looking around the country as a whole, things get much less clear. There are heavily-white rural areas where lots of people are in extreme, <$2/day poverty. (Although nonwhite people in comparable places are generally even worse off.) And then other areas (e.g. northern US suburbs) are heavily white, but (in large part thanks to selection bias like housing prices) they don't necessarily have major racial wealth gaps among the people who do live there.

The national numbers are a pretty confusing mixture of inequality in comparable situations and differences between situations, but looking at specific areas like Los Angeles the association is disturbingly strong.


Not exactly. There are wealthy black people - but they are a small minority of all black people. There are a lot of poor white people as well, but there are a lot of white people in every economic class. As a result the classification of white == wealthy, black == poor is generally true even though it is just a correlation with no causation behind it.

The problem is complex and simple solutions. Most people discussing the problem want to push their quick fix solution and so do not care to think about how complex it really it. (often vote for me - their opponents would say that they don't want to fix the problem as then they wouldn't get votes)

Don't forget that the USA is a large place with many different cultures. I never saw any race issues when I grew up - I didn't even know the car dealer was owned by a black man until he spoke to our class and said he choose to buy the dealership in this town over 6 other nearby towns because we wouldn't care that he was black and the other towns would. As I get older I now see that things are progressing - some areas faster than others.


Black people in USA are on average way poorer. Higher unemployment rates, lower education, lower average median income, higher risk of living in poverty or growing up in impoverished areas... The income gap between them and whites is still not that different than it was around the Civil Rights Act era.


Obviously this is false, but there are many institutionalized aspects of society which perpetuates that, both from those seeking more equality and those seeking less equality. It’s a dual use instrument that gets results due to thd high emotion tied to it.

Bigots will use it to perpetuate myths about some minotities, activists will use it because it makes things look worse.


Imagine you are living three generations removed from slavery (not counting your own), and - if you’re lucky - one generation away from racial discrimination as a policy norm. On the whole, you’re far less likely than your more privileged countrymen to have financial security.


It may surprise a naive audience how recent serfdom and slavery were the norm all over the world. Here's hoping for building today a better tomorrow.

Serfdom emancipation in Europe: circa 1800, as late as 1864 in Poland.

Slavery abolition in US: circa 1800 in the North, as late as 1865 in the South.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serfdom#Dates_of_emancipation_...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_United_States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_abolition_of_slave...


Indeed, good point.

The dates there for Russia etc are accurate, but seem very late for the western countries -- in some places it essentially disappeared centuries before it was legally abolished. (I don't have a great link but e.g. "Serfdom was de facto ended in France by Philip IV, Louis X (1315)," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_serfdom )

Barbary corsair slave-raiding also only stopped in 1830, when France decided to invade.


Great points, thanks for the link. It appears that serfdom largely disappeared as a mass phenomenon in Western Europe [England/France/Italy/Spain] early [XII - XVI centuries], but persisted in Central and especially Eastern Europe all the way into the XIX century.

https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-alm...

https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-alm...

https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-...


“Outlier” is extreme. A significant portion of black Americans are in the middle class. The legacy of historical racism is significant, but exaggerations don’t help anyone.


The median wealth of a black person is $17,000, while the median wealth of a white person is $170,000 [0]. Defining what middle class is extremely difficult, but one of the numbers I’ve seen is the minimum cut off at $50,000. If this is true, it means more than half of African Americans are less than middle class.

0; http://apps.urban.org/features/wealth-inequality-charts/


“Median” doesn’t tell you anything about outliers, so I don’t see how that relates to my post...


The average numbers are $900,000 for whites and $140,000 for blacks. Averages are more effected by outliers, so read in to this what you will. Never the less I’m not sure what outliers has to do with people being in the middle class.

Also if you want to look at the wealthiest 1% as outliers, only 3% of these outliers are black [0]

0: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/business/the-1-percent-pa...


I was responding to the claim that black people who escape poverty are outliers. I used "middle class" as an approximation for "escaping poverty".


> more than half of African Americans are less than middle class

What is the reason of that?


There’s a lot of complicated reasons. The easiest ones to look at via economic data is the homeownership rate which is significantly lower, higher levels of student debt (a fairly recent phenomenon) and that young black adults start out with less wealth in early adulthood, which means they miss out on the power of compounding interest.

All this data can be found from the source I linked to above.


It's one thing to state that "the homeownership rate which is significantly lower" and another to point out the systematic housing discrimination that has taken place across America for more than a century and which is certainly not over.

https://www.npr.org/2017/05/03/526655831/a-forgotten-history...

Think about it - in most cities the entire shape of our urban landscape is defined by the movement of white people to avoid living near black people. Similarly, the reason public transit in most of the US is near non-existent is b/c people do not want buses and trains bringing 'other' people to where they live.


I'm pretty sure that they were disproportionately affected by the drug war, also. Large numbers of black men are convicted felons, which has to have an effect on future earnings.


Well, yeah. Europeans and their barbaric way of managing colonies created the current socio-economical situations that plague Latin America. Europeans and their self-righteous nature that led to millions of people being slaved in Latin America, both africans and natives.

So don't try to push some kind of blame game as if the USA is some kind of barbaric place in the world where inequality exists in terms of race. Almost every country in Latin America has the same problems than the US in a much bigger scale, with a much larger gap. Why? Because Europe created this mess and now wants to place itself as some sort of morally superior super race.

Stop messing with the Americas, Europe.


> What do our metropolitan areas look like—what shape, or model, best describes them—today?

I can answer this for Texas, except Houston. Houston is an outlier among all major US cities.

Large urban centers are a relative modern phenomenon in Texas beginning around the late 19th century. Cities existed in Texas before that, but they weren't what we would think of today as urban. In most of the first half of the 20th century Texas cities weren't that large and everybody lived in the city near the city center where the jobs were. Things were diverse and there weren't indicators of racial neighborhoods or stratification.

Then around the 1950s things changed and affluent white people left the cities in droves to found suburbs on the city edges. This is due to a number of factors: racial integration of the schools, growing population densities, traffic, strain on urban services. This movement away from the cities left neighborhoods lacking the prior diversity and arose racial neighborhoods. Keep in mind that racial integration started in schools with the Brown decision in 1952, but would not be reflected in much of the rest of society into the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Most unique though suburbs added larger living spaces than cities could afford, which was attractive to people who had the means to move.

Growth continued and continued. When suburbs became too dense, too noisy, or grew away from the previous affluence more suburbs were founded outside the existing suburbs and living conditions became more spacious still. The pattern is that city living would become poorer and progressively more affluent the further away you went. What's interesting though is that several of the large cities saw this early and corrected for it. Those cities still have some poor inner-city neighborhoods but have made early efforts to attract money back into the urban core. This has resulted in wealthy city centers surrounded by a ring of poverty at the edge of the old city boundaries and inner suburbs.

Another solution of the big cities is to use their voting power and tax wealth to annex land fast than people can found or grow suburbs thereby growing the space of the city to create suburbs outside the farther suburbs yet still within the city boundaries of the big city.

This continually outward expansion and large residential estates created a new problem: long commutes. Texas has always had really weak public transit. There have been numerous proposals and bond packages to fix this over the years, but they are always killed for political reasons. The airline industry is huge in Texas so that are particularly quick to kill any kind of long distance public transit. Texas has spent more money on its freeways than perhaps every other US state and more than a good portion of the remaining country combined, but the freeways are really nice. If you want to defeat public transportation with urban areas that wide and populations that large you need a really good excuse, and limiting traffic congestion is a good half answer.

With commutes getting longer and longer there is appeal to giving up the larger yards and moving back to the city. People are working longer than they used to and certainly don't want to be spending a good portion of additional time driving. The demand is high enough that some people are willing to pay substantially more for smaller spaces to be closer to work.


there are many dimensions to this .. just this week in HN, a comment said "the kind of job that let a person live in one house their whole life, started getting destroyed sometime in the 1980s" .. and went on to say other things with that assumption.. Hello! looking around a crowded urban area filled with houses, there are plenty of houses that are occupied for decade+.. not in high tech though! apparently.. what about health care and owners of rental property.. no need to move every 18 months.. so the "disappearing" that was stated as a fact, in unique to certain high tech.

So you have fast-paced job changers, and slow job changers, on a societal scale.. How about the empty, expensive home with the owner/investor somewhere far away ? its here too..

people who focus on race, are focused on race.. there are many other dimensions to this topic




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