Anchorage Confronts History of Housing Discrimination

Urban growth in Anchorage was tied to restrictive covenants forbidding the sale of property to minorities.

March 12, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By urbanguy


Russ Heinl / Shutterstock

Zachariah Hughes, a reporter with Alaska Public Media digs into a story that reveals that Anchorage, Alaska has thousands of parcels with deed restrictions against minority home ownership decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

A local Anchorage historian investigated "hundreds of deeds that included discriminatory covenants barring the sale of homes to anyone who wasn’t white. He found them in neighborhoods all over town." The local governing body in Anchorage is developing a plan for dealing with those covenants.

Richard Watts is an African American who moved with his family to Anchorage when he was three years old in 1949. Watts is quoted in the article: "One thing about discrimination in Anchorage, Alaska, versus discrimination in the Lower 48: In the Lower 48, it was in your face. In Anchorage, Alaska, it was hidden."

"Watts said there were a number of ways this played out. Obtaining a bank loan ranged from difficult to impossible. Newspaper ads for rentals would often explicitly say “whites only.” Real estate brokers always seemed to have found a tenant just before you inquired about a place, Watts said.

“They wouldn’t say, ‘We don’t rent to blacks or Natives.’ They’d say, ‘We’ve already rented it,’” he recalled. “Everybody knew what was going on. That’s just the way it was.”

Thursday, March 5, 2020 in KTOO

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

LAX Cars

Car Noise Is Killing Us

It’s not just traffic collisions that kill—a new study from researcher at Rutgers finds that the loud noises emanating from cars has direct impact on heart health in Americans.

May 6, 2022 - Streetsblog USA

A pair of crash test dummies in a car after a crash with air bags deployed.

Acceptable Deaths

What can we learn from our Covid response?

May 5, 2022 - Angie Schmitt

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

48 minutes ago - The White House

Washington D.C.

Fare-Free Transit Hasn’t Reduced Car Trips, Data Says

Fare-free transit isn’t the climate change benefit that many have hoped, according to recent writing by David Zipper for Bloomberg.

1 hour ago - Bloomberg

Cottages on Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

Redevelopment Threatens Iconic, Affordable Chicago Homes

The ‘workers’ cottages’ are being replaced with larger, more expensive homes, threatening one of the city’s original forms of affordable housing.

2 hours ago - WTTW

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.