Inequality In Cities Reading Notes
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Inequality in Cities Hilfiker 2002 American approaches to poverty usually focus on “improving” the poor, individual faults (early reform tradition). In contrast to structural factors Which hold people back despite individual effort. Prevalence of black urban poverty. Black urban segregation originally not as severe. Sharecropping, disenfranchisement, lynching’s, Jim Crow/industrialisation and opportunity in the North – initial trickle of African-Americans. Only 400,000 before World War I. Immigrant clusters never homogenous. Early 1900s: racial discrimination, boundary is beginning to harden. Difference between ghettos and ethnic conclaves – ‘index of dissimilarity’. Blacks lived in white neighbourhoods until 1900. Ethnic groups were able to forge coalitions with each other to realise goals, leading to less political power or blacks. World War I created spike in the factory workers in North, triggering Great Migration. This led to emergence of ghetto. Depression intensified poverty, but new deal Social Security/unemployment insurance excluded domestic/agricultural workers (most blacks). Federal Housing Administration redlined African-American communities and can guarantee mortgages as it did to others. [Redlining, blockbusting, restrictive covenants] “second great migration” from 1940 to 1960 with 4.5 million blacks; zoning
– less politically powerful black communities often zoned industrial [political exclusion). Ghettos were economic disadvantage but in the 1950s still “viable communities”. This was followed by 2 developments:
1) Urban renewal (then called slum removal, sometimes Negro removal) [gentrification, socially regressive nature of city boosterism … again limited ability to resistance to do less political power] housing projects [Pruitt Igoe in St. Louis demolished 1972 – Jencks called it “the day modern architecture died”]
2) Interstate Highway program (Eisenhower) [Futurama] – dividing black communities, enabling suburbanization/White Flight which moved jobs away. [Donut ring… profound effect of this on American urban structure. Fear etc. (Soja)]. Combined with computerisation/mechanisation, overseas relocation of manufacturing jobs [NIDL, knowledge economy]. Only jobs remaining to less trained a low-end service jobs [global cities arguments, polarization]. Residential segregation = barrier to job seeking [Labour Markets – locational/social job barriers]. Michael Harrington 1962 “the other America” War on poverty (Lyndon B. Johnson) Beginning to merge with civil rights movement in public perception. Moynihan Report1964 “the Negro family” suggesting (unintentionally) intractability of poverty. Tensions boiled over – Watts riots, 1965; summer riots in many cities 1967. [ parallel causes with Chicago?] 1968 National commission on civil disorders recognising causes.
“Past racial discrimination is still powerfully embedded in current social political and physical structures” [like South Africa]. “American apartheid” – “The continuing severe segregation of African-Americans … is undoubtedly the single most important cause of urban black poverty. The ghetto itself is the problem.”
Institutional Factors Perpetuating Black Poverty: Political marginalisation and lesser tax base leads to inferior education. Ongoing implicit discrimination in housing and employment – attitudes (William Julius Wilson) either through racial bias or geographic profiling [ labour markets]. Severe isolation [Boston and Ross three theories of labour market obstacles in ghettos – labour market disadvantage/social distance/structural].
“law and order agenda” and “second ghetto” = prison. Higher crime rates but also crimes prevalent among blacks are more harshly punished. Drugs.
[Generally are a lot of agendas seem to cloak forms of discrimination and segregation –
1930s housing and welfare policy, urban renewal, suburbanisation and interstate highways, law and order/war on drugs].
all leads to “extraordinary stresses” of the ghetto, marginalisation and feeling of inadequacy in contrast with American dream, promise of individualism leading to success which cannot be fulfilled.
Welfare. From [living costs – if challenge intensified by high living costs in the cities, if IT high cost free of inferior housing; Zen poverty ideas and absolute/relative poverty for a few for full for for and television example for)]. Long roots of ideas about deserving/undeserving poor [via politics] in region taking advantage of anti-welfare sentiment. Varying results of welfare reform. Limited/stigmatising “Public assistance”
rather than universal “social insurance” approach sends implicit assumptions about undeserving nature. Solutions -- other countries focus on social insurance. Reflect this in US – Universal health coverage, expanded unemployment is and welfare. Most of all, focus on desegregation. Seg “puts all of the poorest people together in one area, removed the jobs, decimate social networks, and thus causes the myriad problems” [special perpetuation in S. Afr]. Director gentrification with programs to ensure continued housing affordability. Gautreaux program in Chicago moving blacks into a white suburbs. Rebuilding inner-city neighbourhoods.
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