The Dream Revisited
Discussion 21: Suburban Poverty & Segregation

Discussion 21: Suburban Poverty & Segregation

September 2016

The twenty-first discussion explores the increasing diversity of suburbs and increasing levels of suburban poverty and debates the challenges of supporting poor households’ economic self-sufficiency beyond the central city.


  • Segregation, Suburbs, and the Future of Fair Housing

    by Alan Berube

    Though racial segregation persists, most researchers agree that it has declined over the long term due to a number of factors. While suburbanization seems to have contributed at least in part to this decrease in segregation, suburban areas have also experienced higher levels of poverty. Evidence shows that urban challenges for people of color, including economic disadvantage, may be re-concentrating in suburbia. 


  • Delineating Race and Poverty

    by Georgette Phillips

    Decreasing racial segregation and decreasing poverty are important goals; we must not water down our solutions to either by fusing the two. Rather than focus on the decrease of racial segregation that may have occurred due to the suburbanization of poor people, policymakers should instead focus on the increasing economic segregation and poverty of suburban areas. To address this, we must understand how the reification of political boundaries encourages exclusionary zoning that creates barriers to low and moderate income housing.

  • The Changing Geography of Poverty Demands Changes to Safety Net Provision

    by Scott W. Allard

    Regardless of the impact suburbanization has had on racial segregation, we must address the new reliance on a suburban safety net. Unfortunately, this topic is fraught: suburban communities struggle to provide assistance to the poor due to local governments’ prioritization of economic development and residential exclusion over antipoverty assistance.

  • Debtors’ Prisons and Discriminatory Policing: The New Tools of Racial Segregation

    by Thomas B. Harvey

    In St. Louis, black residents experience suburbanization not as an end to segregation, but rather as a new battleground for racial injustice and exclusion. Suburbs’ governmental and legal systems have been designed as fragmented to exclude and limit black residents. With the black population increasing in historically white areas, discriminatory policing and unlawful jailing practices have worked in concert with these systems to perpetuate patterns of segregation. If consolidation of the municipal court system does not occur, black poverty will continue to increase and racial divides will deepen.  

Discussion 20: Making Vouchers More Mobile

July 2016

The twentieth discussion examines the benefits of defining fair market rent by zip code, to make it easier for families to move to higher-opportunity neighborhoods, and weighs potential unintended costs.

Discussion 19: Public Housing and Deconcentrating Poverty

May 2016

The nineteenth discussion debates what we should do about high-poverty, distressed public housing developments in light of recent research from the Moving to Opportunity Program about the costs of concentrated poverty.

Discussion 18: Segregation & the Financial Crisis

February 2016

The eighteenth discussion debates the extent to which segregation exacerbated the unequal effects of the mortgage-driven financial collapse of 2007 and ways to address racial disparities in mortgage lending.

Discussion 17: Community Preferences and Fair Housing

November 2015

The seventeenth discussion debates the extent to which preferences in neighborhood residents in accessing new affordable housing promote or betray the goal of truly inclusionary communities. 

Discussion 16: A New Approach to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

November 2015

The sixteenth discussion reacts to HUD’s renewed commitment to the new requirement of the Fair Housing Act to “affirmatively further fair housing.”

Discussion 15: Moving Up or Moving Out

July 2015

The fifteenth discussion explores the most effective ways to address concentrated poverty, focusing on policies that target both people and place.

Discussion 14: Housing Subsidies & Inclusive Communities

June 2015

The fourteenth discussion examines the policy issues underlying Texas vs. The Inclusive Communities Project: how government officials should balance the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocations to create affordable homes in low-poverty neighborhoods with the use of LIHTC allocations to catalyze economic development in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Discussion 13: The Future of the Fair Housing Act

April 2015

The thirteenth discussion debates the significant of disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act, in light of the Supreme Court's deliberation in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project.

Discussion 12: The Poor Door Debate

March 2015

The twelfth discussion weighs the controversy about "poor doors" in the context of a debate over the costs and benefits of mixed-income housing in high-cost markets.

Discussion 11: Explaining Ferguson Through Place and Race

January 2015

The eleventh discussion in The Dream Revisited explores how metropolitan development patterns shaped by race and class set the stage for the events in Ferguson, MO.

Discussion 10: Balancing Investments in People & Place

November 2014

The tenth discussion in the Dream Revisited debates the appropriate balance between investments to help low-income households move to neighborhoods that offer greater access to opportunity and investments to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods.

Discussion 9: Residential Income Segregation

November 2014

The ninth discussion in The Dream Revisited analyzes segregation by income and debates the significance of the increasing isolation of the affluent.

Discussion 8: Neighborhoods, Opportunities, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program

October 2014

The eighth discussion in The Dream Revisited explores how the federal Housing Choice Voucher program can most effectively improve social, educational, and economic opportunities for voucher recipients. 

Discussion 7: Comparative Perspectives on Segregation

September 2014

The seventh discussion in The Dream Revisited explores what can be learned by looking at racial and economic segregation through a comparative lens. 

Discussion 6: Implicit Bias and Segregation

August 2014

The sixth discussion explores how implicit bias contributes to residential segregation and whether or not awareness of implicit biases can heighten a sense of moral urgency.

Discussion 5: Place-Based Affirmative Action

July 2014

The fifth discussion explores proposals to re-imagine affirmative action by focusing on neighborhood disadvantage instead of race.

Discussion 4: Neighborhood Gentrification

May 2014

The fourth discussion explores the relationship between gentrification, neighborhood integration, and public participation.

Discussion 2: Economic Segregation in Schools

March 2014

The second discussion on The Dream Revisited explores economic segregation in our schools and argues for its continued relevance today. 

Discussion 1: Why Integration?

January 2014

The frst discussion in The Dream Revisited asks what we mean by "integration" and why it may be a necessary strategy to acheive racial and economic equality.