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.
A Harvard study suggests that since 2000, the number of Americans living in racially integrated neighborhoods has risen. But this may be a temporary effect of gentrification, and integration remains an exception to the rule.
Recently, the Department of Justice announced it would investigate college affirmative action programs for discrimination against whites. More recently, HUD announced that it was suspending an Obama-era rule meant to prevent segregation.
A Chicagoan working at a downtown library noticed her black coworkers all tended to head home to the South Side after work while her white coworkers went north. She asked Chicago's Public Radio station (WBEZ) if the city was becoming more segregated.
The editors of a new book on displacement in New York argue that the city's historical record of exclusionary zoning carries over into the present. Urbanist concepts in vogue today simply rehash old divides.
Call it the re-education, the evolution, or the contrition of Richard Florida, but the "rock-star urbanist" has realized some unintended consequences of his creative class ethos, and he's ready to share a new vision for cities.
According to Seymour Toll's 1969 book, New York City's 1916 zoning code was less a civic-minded project than an attempt to protect elite retail districts from the riff-raff. The ramifications for American zoning at large are significant.