race and space

Honest Integration

One of the most popular ways to ostracize people is to demonstrate that while it is acceptable to discuss marginalization and segregation, it is unacceptable to be directly exposed to such circumstances. Sure, going to the fundraiser for single parents is fashionable, but few people knock on the doors offer babysitting or barter chores if possible. This behavior leads to racial and socioeconomic segregation, leaving already distressed populations without resources to change their lives. Unfortunately, because many government entities are managed by people with elite status, few are willing to change how local housing markets are structured to integrate neighborhoods.

Those in neighborhoods with means have the time and energy to devote to making sure that their communities remain “as is,” meaning that those present feel empowered to maintain present conditions even if the area had previously been different. Residents who only value the historic architecture of a community but not the demographics may spur further inequities by being unwilling to research how their neighborhoods have changed. With the complicated history of any nation, it becomes vital to reorganize neighborhoods to reflect the reality that the city wants represented because without acknowledgment, alienation is inevitable.

Additionally, the lower classes are simply unable to devote as much time to sustaining a solid voice when planning methods are being addressed. Most work variable schedules and multiple jobs to deal with the rising costs of living; thus, they cannot fight the fast food franchises and the predatory loan services that engulf their neighborhoods. Business placement shapes how neighborhoods are developed, and areas without sustainable amenities (banks, health clinics, professional services) will always be valued less than neighborhoods with those businesses. Therefore, underserved communities remain such because people outside those communities are allowed to shape them–at least until developers discover potential economic opportunity.

Finally, depressed areas remain so for decades because instead of recognizing the average costs of each neighborhood or planned community, government entities focus on cities as a whole. Consequently, most of the working poor ends of living on the margins of economic hubs because of market distortion based on luxury housing versus tenement housing. Often, areas that were historically popular or draw national interest become the first areas to allow displacement while areas that could have gained sustainability remain neglected due to brand failure.

In a surprising turn of events, people are beginning to notice these inequities, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development have been taken to task by the courts. People are finally being forced to accept that there is no logical explanation for separation by race and/or socioeconomics–especially since it costs more in infrastructure. Abstract integration does not count when cities are truly committed to righting the wrongs of previous eras.


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