Planners Cannot Ignore Legacy Of Government-Sanctioned Segregation

Even in liberal states like California, government-sanctioned residential segregation persisted in the 20th century. In a recent talk in L.A., Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, charged planners with undoing this shameful legacy.
January 24, 2018, 11am PST | Josh Stephens
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Kirk Ciaglaski

"Rothstein's 2017 book The Color of Law, which he discussed at last Friday’s UCLA Extension Land Use Law and Planning Conference, argues that many of the de facto reasons for residential segregation in the United States were in fact de jure reasons. Actual laws and policies passed and implemented by cities, states, and the federal government, not to mention homeowners association bylaws that were often legally sanctioned, prevented African-Americans from living among whites in cities across the country, California included."

"Rothstein attributes this discrepancy largely to African-Americans' former inability to buy homes (or at least to buy homes that appreciated as much as those of their white counterparts). Beyond family economics, Rothstein said that segregation is 'the cause of most of our serious social problems,' including low educational attainment by African-American children forced into segregated, low-quality schools." 

"Urban planners are, of course, the ideal audience for Rothstein: they confront the legacy of segregation on a daily basis and they are in a position to do something about it."

 

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Published on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 in California Planning & Development Report
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