The Dream Revisited
Discussion 10: Balancing Investments in People & Place

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.


  • Creating Opportunity for Minority and Low-Income Families

    by Raphael Bostic, Sheryl Verlaine Whitney

     Depending on your vantage point, your perception of race, class, power, and opportunity can differ substantially, meaning that what one person believes is a good action or policy might be viewed as less rosy or even considered to be detrimental by another person. It is against this backdrop that we are trying to craft public policies to improve the conditions of poor and minority families and communities.


  • A Case for Choice: Looking at Connecticut

    by Erin Boggs, Esq.

    We can debate what the proper balance is for high versus low opportunity area housing subsidy placement, but clearly we are far from striking that balance now.  In crafting a solution, we must work to undo the decades of policies that created deep imbalance in the distribution of opportunity.  Fair housing advocates strongly support investment in and improvement of neighborhoods harmed by histories of disinvestment.  What we object to is the continuing disproportionate placement of low-income housing units in such neighborhoods, which perpetuates segregation, further concentrates poverty, undermines community reinvestment, and deprives families of the opportunity to choose housing in lower poverty areas.

  • Holistic Place-Based Investments

    by Nancy O. Andrews, Dan Rinzler

    When the President invoked the ideal of an equal playing field in his remarks on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, he also underscored the powerful role that neighborhoods continue to play in brokering Americans’ life chances. But not all neighborhoods provide the same supports, and place-based resource disparities thus play a major role in perpetuating inequality in the United States. And all too often, the people who live in places of concentrated poverty have never had any other real options—they are stuck there, without much choice.

  • Prepare for Divergent Metropolitan Futures

    by Rolf Pendall

    Regardless of the regional context, our policies for community development and fair housing need to be reoriented so that they anticipate the future. Too often, we make policy through a foggy rearview mirror rather than using data and wisdom to look out the windshield to how our regions, cities, and neighborhoods are likely to change in the coming decades. We can already see the territory we’re entering, one in which metropolitan areas are growing more diverse and aging[...]. Using such tools, policymakers, researchers, and the public will be able to take that longer-term future view and that develop fresh approaches that justify Professor Bostic’s optimism.

More Discussions