How British Investments Enabled American Segregation

Exploring the surprising origins of the American suburbs.
January 30, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A large home located on Goodwood Gardens in the Roland Park neighborhood of Baltimore.
Frederic C. Chalfant

Paige Glotzer examines the history of exclusionary housing in a big, interactive post on the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences website. The article traces the history from the 1890s, with the rise of segregated planned suburbs in the United States made possible by British investments, through the 1960s, where the legacy of one company's investments was still evident in Baltimore.

"Suburbs may seem uniquely American, yet Caribbean slavery, British industrialization, imperialism, and even the battles for women’s rights all directly affected who invested in them and where the capital came from," according to Glotzer. "Egypt, India, Antigua, the Congo served as some of the other sources of wealth for those who financed America’s segregated suburbs."

Glotzer also explains the significance of this history: "determining who bankrolled the start of modern American housing segregation sharpens our understanding of why exclusion assumed particular forms and allowed people—such as developers and certain homeowners—to stake new claims to power."

The article presents numerous historic documents, infographics, and Esri storymaps in an interactive feature.

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Published on Monday, January 29, 2018 in Building Suburban Power
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