Stanford Law Review
Copyright (c) 1996 The Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University
Stanford Law Review
48 Stan. L. Rev. 1047
LENGTH: 36876 words
SYMPOSIUM: SURVEYING LAW AND BORDERS: The Geography of Community
Gerry Frug *
* Samuel R. Rosenthal Professor of Law, Harvard University.
... In this article, Professor Frug argues that the current urban policy
adopted by every level of American government promotes the fragmentation of
America's metropolitan areas. ... The only way a resident of one of America's
central cities can escape this experience of otherness is to live in a
neighborhood which, although often filled with strangers, can approximate
"we' feeling" of a so-called
"homogeneous" suburb. ... To be sure, in the 1960s, at the height of the civil rights
movement, the federal government sought to alter the urban policy I've just
described and to promote instead the integration of the nation's housing
through the enactment of the Fair Housing Act and the revitalization of
inner-city neighborhoods through the Model Cities program. ... Moreover,
states did not simply follow the federal lead when it allowed cities to pursue
these zoning, urban renewal, and housing policies; sometimes states authorized
these activities even before the federal government's programs began. ... One
simply has to travel to America's metropolitan areas to notice the astonishing
replication, from coast to coast, of upper-middle-class suburbs, working-class
suburbs, central business districts isolated from residential housing,
comfortable central city residential areas, upscale shopping areas, strip
malls, and ghettos that house the black poor. ...
In this article, Professor Frug argues that the current urban policy adopted
by every level of American government promotes the fragmentation of America's
metropolitan areas. The federal government's support for highways and home
ownership, like the state-created rules of local government law, nurtures
suburban autonomy, while the suburbs use their zoning power, and central cities
their redevelopment authority, to isolate the poor in general and racial
minorities in particular. As a result, fewer and fewer Americans encounter on a
regular basis people whose opinions, values, and culture are radically
different from their own. This prevailing urban policy, he contends, has
fostered an increasing suspicion and mistrust of people considered
"other" in America and has thereby undermined the possibility of solutions to urban
problems. Professor Frug proposes that cities take the lead in rejecting this
urban policy and that they replace it with one designed to promote community
building - with the sense of
"community" being based on the characteristic experience of living in a diverse city
rather than on the romantic notion of togetherness often associated with the
term. There are many people who live in metropolitan areas, he suggests, who
would benefit from such a
"new urbanism," and he identifies four overlapping groups who could help bring it about:
women, residents of declining working and middle-class suburbs, the elderly,
and African Americans.
Every American metropolitan area is now divided into districts that are so
different from each other they seem to be different worlds. Residential
neighborhoods are African American, Asian, Latino, or white, and upper middle
class, middle class, working class, or poor; many are populated by people who
share a single class and racial or ethnic status. Traveling through this mosaic
of neighborhoods, metropolitan residents move from feeling at home to feeling
like a tourist to feeling so out of place that they are afraid for their own
security. Commercial life provides a similarly wide range of experiences. In
one spot, a shopping center offers Louis Vuitton or Hermes; in another, small
stores are deteriorating, even empty; in a third, the sidewalks are crowded
with street vendors; in a fourth, a strip-mall features Staples or Toys R Us.
Of course, some sections of the metropolis are distinctive because they are
integrated along some or all of these lines of race, ethnicity, class, and
variety of commercial life. Still, everyone knows that Armani isn't located
next to Kmart. Everyone knows which parts of the metropolitan area are nice and
which are dangerous. Everyone knows where they don't belong.
This pervasive urban landscape is not simply the result of individual choices
about where to live or to create a business. It is the product of a multitude
of governmental policies. In this article, I focus on one such policy: the ways
in which cities have exercised their power over land use to promote and
perpetuate this vision of America. Most American metropolitan areas are, after
all, divided into dozens and dozens of cities, and for decades these cities
have wielded their zoning and redevelopment authority to foster their own
prosperity even if it has been won at the expense of their neighbors. This
pursuit of prosperity has usually meant trying to attract the
"better kind" of commercial life and the
"better kind" of people while excluding the rest. Everywhere in the nation, some suburban
cities are understood as having succeeded in this effort while others are
understood as having failed. Moreover, although no central city has attempted
to exclude people from its borders, they too have used their ability to zone
and condemn property to concentrate the
"better kind" of commercial and residential uses in particular city neighborhoods.
These local zoning and redevelopment policies have had a powerful impact both
on the allocation of resources in America's metropolitan areas and on the
relationship between the different kinds of people who live within them. Across
the country, they have inhibited the ability of millions of people to
participate fully in the American economy, deprived the poor of basic services
while enriching the country's most privileged citizens, fueled racial and
ethnic hostility, and, most fundamentally of all, undermined the ability of
metropolitan residents even to understand each other, let alone work together
on the region's problems - all at the cost of billions and billions of taxpayer
dollars. One of the purposes of this article is to propose a radical revision
of these land use policies so that they may better serve the people who live in
America's central cities and their suburbs. Another purpose is to offer a
framework for considering the kind of revision that seems to me to be desirable
- a framework based on an argument about the role that cities ought to play in
American society. The role I propose - one that, I contend, is more important
than, and should inform the meaning of, land-use policy - is community
I use the word
"community" in this article with a good deal of hesitation. The term has often been
invoked to refer to a group of people who share things in common - a sense of
identity or history or values - and who seek to foster the bonds they have with
each other. This is not the meaning of the term
"community" I have in mind. Instead, I shall use the word to be synonymous with what Iris
"the ideal of city life":
"city life" I mean a form of social relations which I define as the being together of
strangers. In the city persons and groups interact within spaces and
institutions they all experience themselves as belonging to, but without those
interactions dissolving into unity or commonness.... City dwelling situates
one's own identity and activity in relation to a horizon of a vast variety of
other activity, and the awareness that this unknown, unfamiliar activity
affects the conditions of one's own.
... City dwellers are thus together, bound to one another, in what should be
and sometimes is a single polity. Their being together entails some common
[*1049] problems and common interests, but they do not create a community of shared
final ends, of mutual identification and reciprocity.
Young has advanced this notion of
"city life" not as a definition of community but as an alternative to it. She rejects what
she sees as communitarians' emphasis on the bonding of homogeneous groups
rather than on
"the being together of strangers."
n2 Unlike Young, I do not cede the term community to those who evoke the romance
of togetherness. Communities - the gay community, the Black community, the
professional community - seem to me more accurately understood in terms of the
being together of strangers than in terms of feelings of identity or unity.
True, members of these communities have something in common. So do those who
live in the same geographical area. But the aspect of their lives that members
of any of these groups have in common is simply a starting point. The hard work
in community building - and the task I think cities should undertake - is to
deal with the differences within the group. For me, this task requires not
cultivating a feeling of oneness with others but fostering a recognition that
one has to share one's life with strangers, with strangeness, with the
inassimilable, even with the intolerable.
The key question, of course, is whether fostering such a recognition is a good
idea. I take up this topic in Part I. Then, in Part II, I discuss the kinds of
city land-use policies that an emphasis on the kind of community building I am
advocating suggests. Part III is a conclusion.
I. Community Building
A. Two Worlds of Strangers
"The city..." Lyn Lofland writes,
"is the locus of a peculiar social situation: the people to be found within its
boundaries at any given moment know nothing personally about the vast majority
of others with whom they share this space."
n4 The city is thus a
"world of strangers,"
n5 a world very different from that of a village or small town where, it is often
"everyone knows each other." In the United States, this definition of a city encompasses much more than our
large central cities, such as Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco. Residents of
their suburbs, such as Wellesley, Winnetka, and Orinda, also know nothing
personally about the vast majority of those who live within their city
n6 Virtually every suburban city in America is predominately populated by
What distinguishes many suburbs from central cities is not the presence of
strangers but the fact that the strangers who live in a suburb often think of
themselves as constituting a coherent group.
"The decision as to whether to leave the central city (and where precisely to
settle in the suburbs)," Hadley Arkes says,
"implied a judgment about the kind of people one wished to live with, and the
conditions under which one expected to live."
n7 This picture of a suburb presents it as being like a voluntary association,
such as a political organization, church, or country club. People join
voluntary associations to be with people like themselves or to pursue a common
interest; if big enough, voluntary associations, like suburbs, can also be
populated by strangers.
Residents of America's central cities lack this sense of a common identity. On
the contrary, big cities are a prime location in America for the experience of
otherness: They put people in contact, whether they like it or not, with men
and women who have values, opinions, or desires that they find unfamiliar,
strange, even offensive.
n8 Encountering this kind of stranger does not generate what Richard Sennett
"we' feeling" - the sensation of similarity arising out of the desire to identify with other
people, the desire to belong.
n9 These are the people experienced not as one of
"us" but as one of
"them." The only way a resident of one of America's central cities can escape this
experience of otherness is to live in a neighborhood which, although often
filled with strangers, can approximate
"we' feeling" of a so-called
"homogeneous" suburb. But central city residents regularly leave their own neighborhood to
work, shop, or go out. Thus they encounter, often every day, the wider world of
strangers that defines the city. Moreover, city neighborhoods themselves are
fragile and subject to change. Residents come and go, and city power over land
use can radically change the character of the neighborhood without the
residents' consent. Although individuals can choose which central city to live
in, just as they can choose to live in a suburb or to join a church or a
political group, no one has the power to control the nature of the other people
who also choose to live in the same city.
The experience of otherness is not, of course, restricted to residents of
central cities. These days, many of America's suburbs are not at all
homogeneous; like central cities, they too are filled with ethnic, class, and
n10 Moreover, even the residents of relatively homogeneous suburbs have the expe-
[*1051] rience of otherness when they leave their suburb to work, shop, or have fun.
In order to do so, however, they have to leave town - to travel to another
suburb or, better still, to the central city itself. A city function of
community building thus could have a very different meaning in a homogeneous
suburb than in a diverse suburb or the central city. In a homogeneous suburb,
community building could reinforce the residents' sense of being a coherent
social group rather than require them to engage with people different from
themselves. If so, it would further a definition of community that, for Iris
"ideal of city life" is designed to oppose.
Young identifies four normative values associated with city life, values she
labels social differentiation without exclusion, variety, eroticism, and
n11 Social differentiation without exclusion means the formation of a multiplicity
of group affinities - ethnic, gay and lesbian, religious, and so forth - in an
atmosphere that promotes their intermingling. Variety adds to this mix a
diversity of activities within each city neighborhood and a differentiation
between neighborhoods, thereby producing a distinct sense of place when
traveling from one location to another. Eroticism stresses the pleasure and
excitement derived from the unusual, the strange, the surprising; it includes
not only the stimulation of people-watching but also of architectural and
commercial variety. Publicity refers to the feelings generated when entering a
public space - a space that, because it is open to anyone whatsoever, provides
exposure to opinions and cultures very different from one's own. A central city
could use its community building function to promote all four of these
normative values. But they are not the values that characterize America's
I propose a city function of community building in order to further the kinds
of normative values Young associates with city life, not the type of
"being together with strangers" that characterizes homogeneous suburbs. Indeed, as I discuss below, I think
that even homogeneous suburbs ought to engage in a form of community building
that fosters their citizens' engagement with otherness. Before turning to an
examination of how either a diverse or a homogeneous city could implement such
a function, however, it seems important to explain why one might think that
cultivating a sense of community characterized by difference, complexity, and
strangeness is desirable.
n12 Why, one might ask, would anyone even want to live in such a city, let alone
want to make it a city function to expand upon citizens' contacts with people
different from themselves? Isn't it human nature to avoid otherness and seek
instead association with similar people? Isn't that why homogeneous suburbs
were created in the first place? Questions such as these can be approached in a
variety of different ways. I offer three responses: psychological,
sociological, and political.
B. The Psychology of City Life
Richard Sennett's important book, The Uses of Disorder: Personal Identity and
City Life, presents contrasting psychological pictures of homogeneous and
n13 Sennett associates the desire to live in a homogeneous suburb or neighborhood
- the desire for what he calls a
"purified community" - with a psychological style developed in adolescence.
n14 Adolescents, he says, fear being overwhelmed by life's painful uncertainties
and complexities. To overcome this fear, they attempt to create an orderly,
coherent, and stable self-image. This sense of self enables them to deal with
their anxieties through a strategy of avoidance. Adolescents thus organize
their lives to preclude exposure to the unknown or the bewildering. For
example, they decide on a career before they have any experience that might
indicate what the alternatives would be like; they search for an ideal romantic
relationship rather than confront the endless conflicts and mysteries of human
intimacy; they seek to get
"on top of things" - to assert control - in order to escape from the embarrassment and confusion
of being uninformed or surprised about what's going on around them. These
instincts to exclude, to purify, and to control, Sennett contends, generate in
adults the efforts to foster the sense of solidarity and cohesion symbolized by
These purified communities reflect a desire for a collective form of identity,
a collective defense against the unpredictable, the disorienting, or the
painful. The aspiration for such a collective identity is frequently developed
before moving to any particular location. It expresses a longing for a fantasy
of a community, not the actual experience of interpersonal contact. On the
contrary, the image of a purified community enables its residents to avoid
dealing with each other. Residents of a purified community need not suffer the
disruption and annoyance of actual engagement with the strangers who live
nearby because the
"we" feeling allows them to
"imagine that they know all about each other, and their knowledge becomes a
vision of how they must be the same."
n15 Although this common identity is a fabrication,
the lie they have formed as their common image is a usable falsehood - a myth -
for the group. Its use is that it makes a coherent image of the community as a
whole: people draw a picture of who they are that binds them all together as
one being, with a definite set of desires, dislikes, and goals. The image of
the community is purified of all that might convey a feeling of difference, let
alone conflict, in who
Like the adolescents' purified sense of individual identity, this collective
self-image has concrete consequences. It produces efforts to create a stable
social order that can provide isolation from people considered unusual or
deviant. It leads people to protect themselves against the unfamiliar and the
surprising, not to mention the unpleasant. Indeed, the collective sense of
vulnerability to otherness becomes so strong that acts of aggression against
outsiders, even violence, can appear life-preserving; the very survival of the
community seems to depend on the exclusion of difference, on the control of
Sennett's work is a sustained critique of this psychological and social
phenomenon. He finds it manifested not only in the defense of homogeneous
suburbs but also in the revolutionary's (and the reactionary's) intolerance for
dissent, the history of city planning, the increasing intensity of family life,
and the aesthetics of the modernist city. The more widespread the phenomenon,
however, the more insistent the question becomes: What's wrong with these
purified forms of identity? Sennett's response is that they create
"a state of absolute bondage to the status quo"
n17 and, as a result, limit people's lives. A reliance on stability, coherence,
and order inhibits openness to experience: It undermines one's ability even to
absorb, let alone enjoy, the flux and variety the world has to offer. In
advancing this criticism, Sennett adopts two quite different tones. At times,
he suggests that a purified identity is bad for you - indeed, self-destructive;
at these moments, his text becomes evangelical, urging self-improvement. But he
also highlights a psychological state that often accompanies a reliance on a
purified identity - namely, boredom. Thus he entices people to have more fun as
In his evangelical mood, Sennett argues that walling off dissonance and
disorder in the effort to protect oneself from vulnerability paradoxically
increases vulnerability to these very aspects of life. The reason is that the
barriers are designed to exclude what cannot be excluded: uncertainty,
instability, change, pain, and disorder are inevitable.
n18 This inevitability is not attributable simply to the actions of others; a
purified identity is an attempt to escape from the self. Otherness, confusion,
and complexity are part of every human experience; they threaten to enter
consciousness at any moment. To prevent their doing so requires relentless
patrolling of one's borders, both internal and external - a vigilance that
heightens the sense of anxiety because reliance on exclusion robs people of the
experience needed to develop a capacity to deal with problems as they occur.
There is, however, an alternative strategy of self-protection, Sennett
suggests, one that can provide more security. The alternative requires giving
up the idea that the world can be purified or controlled and nurturing instead
what he calls
n19 By this, he means a sense of resilience, an ability to cope with whatever
surprises and conflicts one en-
[*1054] counters, a confidence that one won't be overwhelmed by complexity or
disorder, a feeling that one can live with, even learn to enjoy, otherness. Ego
"the acceptance of chance in life," as well as the acceptance of change, of growth, of disappointment.
n20 This capacity goes by many names in the psychological literature, such as
"the protean self," and
"the dialogic self"; sometimes, as a contrast to adolescence, it is simply called
The reason for incorporating the experience of surprise, disorder, and
difference in one's life is not simply to learn how to tolerate the pain they
cause. Openness to these experiences makes life more fun. Building a world on
the security derived from the familiar and the predictable causes people to
feel bored, feel stuck, feel that they have
"given up." This, one should recall, is a standard critique of the 1950s-style suburban
bedroom communities: There,
"there is nothing to do." Thus one psychological consequence of living in a purified community - other
than resignation or a redoubled dedication to its defense - is a desire for a
more interesting, fuller life. Lack of stimulation produces a longing for
variety, surprise, mystery, excitement, adventure. For people so moved, it
triggers an ambition to escape from the secure place to which they (or their
parents) have escaped. But fulfilling this ambition requires openness to the
unexpected, the disorienting, the new - a frightening prospect, perhaps, but a
thrilling one as well.
It would be a mistake to read Sennett's contrast between a purified identity
and ego strength as presenting two mutually exclusive psychological styles.
Neither exists in pure form. Everyone has an impulse to withdraw from strangers
and dissonance, and everyone also has an impulse to open themselves up to new
experiences. Moreover, these two desires are always in conflict with each
other: New experiences weaken the boundaries protecting a purified identity,
while a defense of these boundaries prevents people from having new
n22 Sennett argues that too many Americans have nurtured the purified side of
their identity at the expense of building their ego strength. He seeks to
redress this imbalance without romanticizing what it would mean to be more open
to strangers and strangeness. Thus he focuses both on facing the painful and
having more fun. By doing so, he captures the familiar psychological experience
of openness to others as a source of both vulnerability and pleasure.
Sennett's contrast between a purified identity and ego strength parallels the
traditional comparison between living in a homogeneous community and living
[*1055] in a central city: The city is often seen as seducing people from a world of
security and predictability into a more exciting, albeit more dangerous,
existence. Roland Barthes' image of Paris can be generalized to cities at
The city center is always felt as the space where subversive forces, forces of
rupture, ludic forces act and meet. Play is a subject very often emphasized in
the surveys on the center; there is in France a series of surveys concerning
the appeal of Paris for the suburbs, and it has been observed through these
surveys that Paris as a center was always experienced semantically by the
periphery as the privileged place where the other is and where we ourselves are
other, as the place where we play the other. In contrast, all that is not the
center is precisely that which is not ludic space, everything which is not
otherness: family, residence, identity.
It is important to examine this picture because embedded within it lies an
important sociological issue: How has the city's association with otherness
fostered both an attraction to cities and a desire for purified communities?
C. The Sociology of City Life
The equivocal nature of city life is often lost in the literature about the
city. Some writers over-emphasize the pleasures cities offer. Iris Young, for
example, sometimes slips into a romanticism about cities. She describes cities
"heterogeneous, plural, and playful, a place where people witness and appreciate
diverse cultural expressions that they do not share and do not fully understand"
n24 and imagines city residents
"celebrating ... distinctive characteristics and cultures."
n25 Far more common, however, is an over-emphasis on cities' negative aspects.
From colonial times to the present day, a long and powerful tradition of
anti-urbanism has been articulated by a wide variety of Americans: the founding
fathers (Jefferson, Franklin), major novelists (Hawthorne, Henry James),
philosophers (Emerson, Dewey), architects (Frank Lloyd Wright), even the
classic works of urban sociology.
n26 In the summary words of Morton and Lucia White:
The American city has been thought by American intellectuals to be: too big,
too noisy, too dusky, too dirty, too smelly, too commercial, too crowded, too
full of immigrants, too full of Jews, too full of Irishmen, Italians, Poles,
too industrial, too pushing, too mobile, too fast, too artificial, destructive
of conversation, destructive of communication, too greedy, too capitalistic,
too full of automobiles, too full of smog, too full of dust, too heartless, too
intellectual, too scientific, insufficiently poetic, too lacking in manners,
too mechanical, destructive of family, tribal and patriotic feeling.
This catalogue of complaints can be reduced to two basic grievances: the city's
physical conditions (too big, too noisy, etc.) and the kind of people who live
there (too full of Irishmen, too intellectual, etc.)
n28 These two grievances have had such a powerful impact on the American
imagination that, before turning to sociological argument for city life, it is
necessary first to respond to these arguments against it.
The objection to the physical conditions of central cities need not detain us
long. The Whites' list - noisy, dirty, smelly, crowded - is simply a
restatement of the familiar American romanticization of the countryside, a
position Leo Marx has labeled sentimental pastoralism.
n29 Suburbs have endlessly associated themselves with this idealization of nature ("Forest Hills,"
"Meadowlane Drive"), and their success in doing so has helped inspire the exodus from central
cities. But the suburbs have benefited from an urban image as well: Far from
being backward rural areas populated by peasants, suburbs are seen as even more
modern and civilized than central cities. Thus, to sustain the symbolic link
between the pleasures of the suburban yard and life in the suburbs,
n30 one has to edit out a lot of daily experience: the freeway, the mall, the
office complex, the carpools, the noise coming from the neighbors. The dramatic
transformation of the suburbs in last twenty-five years has converted many of
them into urbanized
"edge cities"; as a result, the credibility of the equation of the suburbs with the
countryside has significantly been undermined.
Moreover, like the suburbs, central cities have themselves created a
"middle landscape" between the urban and the rural.
n32 They have incorporated nature into the fabric of urban planning - not only
through the construction of parks but through zoning requirements for
residential neighborhoods and downtown skyscrapers.
n33 Consequently, the city/suburb line does not separate noise from quiet, dirt
from cleanliness, smells from fresh air, crowds from isolation. Many central
city neighborhoods are as free of these problems - if they are problems - as
suburban communities, and many suburban areas are characterized by noise
(airports), dirt (smog), smells (industry), and crowds (traffic jams). Indeed,
given the amount of natural beauty destroyed by the suburbanization of America,
surely there is at least a touch of irony in the attempt to associate the
suburbs with a love of nature.
Finally, sentimental pastoralism, whether embodied in the suburbs or in city
planning, undervalues the desirable features of city life. In her justly
celebrated book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
offers a book-length response to the Whites' list of charges by describing the
positive aspects of city congestion.
n34 She defends the richness, vibrancy, stimulation, spontaneity, energy, and
commotion of city streets against urban planners' portrayal of these streets -
and of the inner-city neighborhoods in which they are located - as slums.
Jacobs' picture of the life of the street reflects her embrace of the values of
difference, variety, eroticism, and publicity advanced by Iris Young. To be
sure, like Young, Jacobs can be accused of overlooking the cost of these
values, such as noise and dirt. But these costs can themselves be reinterpreted
as benefits. Consider Richard Wright's description of the Chicago in which he
placed Bigger in Native Son:
Then there was the fabulous city in which Bigger lived, an indescribable city,
huge, roaring, dirty, noisy, raw, stark, brutal; a city of extremes: torrid
summers, and sub-zero winters, white people and black people, the English
language and strange tongues, foreign born and native born, scabby poverty and
gaudy luxury, high idealism and hard cynicism!
"fabulous" - and the exclamation mark - transvalue the complaints about the physical
conditions of the central city into virtues. Such a transvaluation helps put
city life into proper perspective. Spending time in the countryside obviously
enriches one's life. But cities too have their pleasures. As Elizabeth Wilson
"we will never solve the problems of cities unless we like the urban-ness of
n36 Cities, she says, aren't villages; they are
"spaces for face to face contact of amazing variety and richness. They are
spectacle - and what is wrong with that?"
These days, the answer to this question is most often articulated in the
language of the Whites' second category of complaints about cities: the kind of
people who live there. Here, we reach the central sociological criticism of
life in America's central cities: The classic works of urban sociology have
argued that city conditions produce undesirable changes in human behavior -
that they produce or, at the minimum, attract the wrong kind of people. But who
are these people? The Whites' list offers two quite different pictures of them.
On the one hand, they are commercial, pushy, artificial, heartless,
intellectual, unpoetic, and lacking in family, tribal, and patriotic feelings.
On the other hand, they are immigrants, Jews, Irishmen, Italians, Poles - to
which these days many would add African Americans, Latinos, Asians, poor
people, the homeless.
The classic literature of urban sociology focused primarily on the first of
these two pictures.
n38 Three writers dominate this literature: Georg Simmel, Robert Ezra Park, and
n39 Simmel, Park, and Wirth built their critique of cities on the sociological
contrast between the face-to-face, closely-knit personal interaction of a small
town or village (Gemeinschaft) and the kind of impersonal human relationships
that characterizes modern society (Gesselschaft).
n40 They claimed that cities have eroded Gemeinschaft relations and have replaced
them with an emphasis on the division of labor, the market economy, and the
power of the mass media; by doing so, they argued, cities have created a new
type of person. Simmel's seminal essay, The Metropolis and Mental Life, lists a
series of qualities of this new character type: a heightened intellectuality,
that is, a preference for head over heart; an indifference to the individuality
of people or things, thereby leveling the world into
"an evenly flat and gray tone"; a calculating, precise, punctual exactness; a blase attitude, leading to the
"incapacity ... to react to new sensations with the appropriate energy";
"a slight aversion, a mutual strangeness and repulsion" when encountering others; loneliness and a sense of being lost; a life so
dominated by impersonal contacts and experience that a person has to exaggerate
his own uniqueness
"in order to remain audible even to himself."
Park and Wirth argued that specific features of city life forged this new
species of individuality.
n42 But empirical research has failed to substantiate
[*1059] their claim that central city characteristics, such as size and density, have
caused the psychological stress and feelings of alienation they describe.
n43 Read today, Simmel, Park, and Wirth seem instead to be critics of the world of
strangers as a whole, a world that characterizes both central cities and their
suburbs. The contrast between central city and suburb is not between a
face-to-face community and modern society: Gemeinschaft does not exist in the
metropolitan area. No one can seriously contend that the artificial, the
heartless, the capitalistic, the scientific, the mobile, the commercial, the
intellectual, the unpoetic - in short, Gesselschaft - characterizes the central
city more than the suburbs. To be sure, the longing for Gemeinschaft, which is
thought to have spurred suburbanization, still exists;
n44 indeed, it inspires residents of central city neighborhoods as well. But
everywhere in the metropolitan area, it is felt to be disappearing - or gone
altogether. Simmel himself, it should be noted, did not seek to distinguish
city from suburb but the metropolis from a small town or a rural community. He
called his character type the
"metropolitan type of man."
Park and Wirth, however, populated cities with more than the metropolitan type
of individual. At the end of a discussion of the breakdown of family values
that he associated with the temptations of city life, for example, Park
suddenly changes tone:
What lends special importance to the segregation of the poor, the vicious, the
criminal, and exceptional persons generally, which is so characteristic a
feature of city life, is the fact that social contagion tends to stimulate in
divergent types the common temperamental differences, and to suppress
characters which unite them with the normal types around them.... In the great
city the poor, the vicious, and the delinquent, crushed together in an
unhealthful and contagious intimacy, breed in and in, soul and body ... a
persistent and distressing uniformity of vice, crime, and poverty ...
peculiarly fit for the environment in which they are condemned to exist.
Wirth described cities as
"the melting-pot of races, people, and cultures, and a most favorable
breeding-ground of new biological and cultural hybrids."
n47 He discussed, albeit quite briefly, the presence of immigrants, Negroes, and
ethnic minorities in cities, and the age and gender differences between those
who live in the cities and the countryside. He then concluded:
[A] major characteristic of the urban-dweller is his dissimilarity from his
fellows. Never before have such large masses of people of diverse traits as we
find in our cities been thrown together into such close physical contact as in
the great cities of America. Cities generally, and American cities in
particular, comprise a motley of peoples and cultures of highly differentiated
modes of life between which there often is only the faintest communication, the
greatest indifference, the broadest tolerance, occasionally bitter strife, but
always the sharpest contrast.
So important did Wirth consider the presence of this heterogeneity in city life
that he built it into his classic definition of a city:
"A city," he said,
"may be defined as a relatively large, dense, and permanent settlement of
socially heterogeneous individuals."
We come, then, to the most important contemporary distinction between central
cities and at least some of their suburbs: heterogeneity. From Wirth to the
present day, sociologists have found that cities not only attract but foster
the multiplication of social groups. Cities produce subcultures (to use
examples from Claude Fischer's work) of bluegrass-music fans, college students,
"singles," Jews, gays and lesbians, missionaries of new religious sects, professional
criminals, and Palestinian grocery store owners.
n50 Park and Wirth saw this heterogeneity as a cause both of the alienation and
anomie that characterize the metropolitan type of individual and of the vice
and crime that they associated with city life. More recently, Herbert Gans has
argued that a
[*1061] markedly heterogeneous community is likely to lead to bickering and unsettled
feuds because community members cannot understand each other.
Gans, however, considers heterogeneity undesirable only on the block level,
not for the city as a whole. He sought to find a middle way between
heterogeneity and homogeneity:
"Extreme heterogeneity is likely to inhibit communication and to encourage
mutual resentment, whereas moderate heterogeneity provides enough compatibility
of interests and skills to enable communication - and therefore learning - to
n52 Other sociologists have responded to Wirth and Park by articulating positive
aspects of living in a heterogeneous community. They have emphasized two
contrasts with life in a homogeneous community, contrasts that parallel Richard
Sennett's psychological analysis, discussed above, of the difference between
diverse and purified communities.
First, they say, heterogeneous communities promote tolerance for social and
n53 Thomas Wilson's study, for example, found that residents of heterogeneous
communities were more willing than residents of homogeneous communities to
allow all of the following to speak or teach in school: a person who is against
all churches and religions; a person who believes that blacks are genetically
inferior; a man who admits he is a Communist; a person who advocates doing away
with elections and letting the military run the country; a man who is openly
n54 It is important to recognize that tolerance of people such as these does not
entail acceptance or approval. It suggests instead a capacity to put up with
people who seem undesirable, unpleasant, even repugnant. This live-and-let-live
attitude takes many forms. Some kinds of behavior are recognized as an
ineradicable, albeit disagreeable, part of life; others are ignored; still
others are found acceptable only if located in the neighborhoods where such
n55 Sometimes people adopt a stance that Erving Goffman calls
One gives to another enough visual notice to demonstrate that one appreciates
that the other is present (and that one admits openly to having seen him),
while at the next moment withdrawing one's attention from him so as to express
that he does not constitute a target of special curiosity or design.
The exact manner in which tolerance is manifested is not, however, the critical
point. All of them are examples of what Sennett calls
"ego strength": All of
[*1062] them illustrate how people learn to stomach a larger range of differences if
they are repeatedly exposed to a variety of cultural and social practices.
Of course, there are limits. City residents continue to find many of their
fellow citizens intolerable; there would be no need for a city function of
community building if cities automatically produced unlimited tolerance. What
happens in cities is a shift in the location of the symbolic boundary that
bifurcates otherness between the tolerable and the intolerable.
n57 Living in a heterogeneous community increases the kinds of otherness found to
be bearable. By contrast, M.P. Baumgartner's analysis of suburban life suggests
that that kind of environment promotes a shift in the opposite direction:
Almost any stranger not seen as
"one of us" is experienced as upsetting, even frightening.
n58 So much time is spent in cars or at home, so little public space exists, that
deviance of even a minor sort is hard to stand. Merely walking along a
residential street is viewed as
"Simply having to deal with socially distant persons - however civil the
interchanges - makes ... [suburban residents] uncomfortable."
n60 Feelings of this sort help generate what Baumgartner calls
"the moral order of a suburb": a culture of avoidance of contact with strangers and a strategy of withdrawal
when confronted with conflict.
The second impact of living in a heterogeneous city is that it provides people
with a broader range of life experiences. By this I mean not simply having more
fun (as my discussion of Sennett emphasized); cities offer stimulation for
learning, creativity, experimentation, and growth. The classic literature of
urban sociology itself stressed this aspect of city life. Simmel, for example,
associated the city with
"freedom," as compared to the pettiness and prejudices of a small town,
n62 and Wirth observed that the city
"has not only tolerated but rewarded individual differences."
n63 But for Simmel, Park, and Wirth, the freedom the city bestowed was a decidedly
mixed blessing. Park, for example, portrayed the temptation of city life as a
"like the attraction of the flame for the moth."
n64 In Park's words,
"the small community often tolerates eccentricity. The city, on the contrary,
rewards it. Neither the
[*1063] criminal, the defective, nor the genius has the same opportunity to develop
his innate disposition in a small town that he invariably finds in a great city."
n65 Park's linking together of the criminal, the defective, and the genius no
doubt undercuts the force of his compliment about the city's capacity to
nurture the freedom of the individual. Nevertheless, it allowed him to endorse
"that all great cultures are city-born."
More recent sociologists have focused on how heterogeneous cities cultivate
not simply individual eccentricity but the formation of groups that help expand
the ways in which one can shape a life.
n67 Cities' intensification and multiplication of subcultures is not simply a
phenomenon to be tolerated; these subcultures provide a basis for developing
what are popularly called
"alternative life-styles." It's not surprising, just to take one example, that gay and lesbian culture
thrives in America's central cities. But as this example can be used to
illustrate - and as Simmel, Park, and Wirth emphasize - there is a dark side to
the promotion of this kind of freedom. It can be understood as undermining
morality: hence, the classic image of cities as centers of vice and corruption.
Moreover, the structure of city life threatens to spread this immorality - or,
to put a positive spin on same phenomenon, it facilitates the expansion of this
form of freedom. Everyday encounters with strangers - at the bus stop, in the
laundromat, in the bar - make people aware of a wide variety of subcultures.
n68 This interaction allows people to learn from strangers, even without speaking
"A good city street neighborhood," Jane Jacobs says,
"achieves a marvel of balance between its people's determination to have
essential privacy and their simultaneous wishes for differing degrees of
contact, enjoyment or help from the people around."
Still, a major objection to city life remains to be discussed because the kind
of heterogeneity described by its advocates tends to understate the diversity
of America's central cities. The term
"heterogeneity" covers such a wide range of dissimilarities that it might be useful to
distinguish two different kinds of people considered
"other": the unfamiliar (individuals from different cultures or generations,
individuals whose habits or opinions are weird, funny, puzzling, interesting,
off-putting) and the terrifying (individuals seen as physically violent or
psychologically threatening). Those who defend the values of tolerance and
freedom usually portray heterogeneity in terms of the unfamiliar. To many
people, however, the central city is identified, above all, with the
terrifying: the violent, the degenerate, the diseased (Park, quoted above,
referred to the
For thousands of years, cities have been seen as populated by
"the mob" or
"the rabble," a conception that reached a climax in the late eighteenth and nineteenth
n70 To be sure, the identity of those who have been labeled
[*1064] mob" has changed dramatically over the centuries, although they have always been
poor and been associated with crime. These days, however, the people seen as
"the mob" can fairly easily be specified. It is, in my view, the single most shameful
fact in American life that the terrifying other is so widely understood in the
United States to refer to poor African Americans. Of course, additional people
are sometimes included in this category: Puerto Ricans, Chicanos, recent
immigrants from Asia, the homeless, gays (hence gay-bashing), whites (because
of group violence against African Americans and others on the list), and
middle-class African Americans (because all African Americans are treated as
indistinguishable). But, above all, fear of what is euphemistically called
"the inner city" - a fear that has fueled the migration to the suburbs - has been a reference
to the black poor. Moreover, the term
"inner city" is itself important: It symbolizes the linkage so commonly made between
central cities, poor blacks, and violence.
One reason that this linkage is so shameful lies in the role that violence and
discrimination by whites has played - and continues to play - in the creation
and perpetuation of the ghettos that now house nearly half of the poor African
Americans who live in metropolitan areas.
n72 Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton, in their provocative book, American
Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, offer a useful summary
of how these ghettos, now found in virtually every major American city, came
n73 In 1900, Massey and Denton emphasize, no such ghettos existed: Urbanized
African Americans lived in neighborhoods that, on average, were close to 90
percent white. By 1930, however, a combination of an upsurge of racial
[*1065] black actions by organized
"neighborhood improvement associations," zoning restrictions, discrimination by real estate agents, and the invention
and use of restrictive covenants established the beginnings of the black
n74 From 1940 to 1970, with the dramatic increase in the number of (mostly poor)
African Americans moving to cities, the size of these ghettos grew as black
demand for housing overcame white resistance. Since threats of violence, racial
discrimination, and practices of real estate agents continued to close off most
areas of the city to new black residents, this growth was largely
"Neighborhoods could be classified by their stage in the transition process: all
white, invasion, succession, consolidation, or all black."
n75 Meanwhile, the rapid growth of the suburbs, fostered, as we shall see,
n76 by government programs, provided a secure place to which whites could flee. As
a result, African Americans are segregated today in a manner that no other
minority in the United States is now or has ever been segregated - not ethnic
Europeans, not Hispanics, not Asians. Eighty percent of African Americans in
major American cities would have to move to produce an evenly integrated
metropolitan area. And this
"hypersegregation," to use Massey and Denton's term, is not simply a central city phenomenon:
black suburbs - and there are many - are as segregated as
Like many before them,
n78 Massey and Denton describe the conditions of these poor black neighborhoods: a
concentration of poverty and unemployment, combined with business
disinvestment; deterioration and abandonment of residential and commercial
buildings; widespread fear caused by an escalating cycle of crime, leading
people to avoid going out and thereby creating an environment that facilitates
yet more crime; a stark isolation from outsiders, dramatically limiting the
residents' social, cultural and economic world; the creation of a culture in
opposition to standard American values ("to do otherwise would be to
n79 including Black street speech, family dissolution, a drug culture with its
attendant violence, and disengagement from political life.
n80 These days the reason for these
n81 is a hotly debated issue. Massey and Denton attribute the cause to segregation
itself, while others suggest it lies in the structure of job creation in
[*1066] metropolitan areas, in a
"culture of poverty," or in racism.
n82 Still others stress, as Massey and Denton do not, the diversity of the
population in these black neighborhoods and the resilience and creativity that
characterize so many who live there - positive aspects of the culture from
which outsiders have a lot to learn.
n83 I do not intend to enter these debates here. It suffices to say, as Massey and
Denton point out, that hypersegregation by itself has contributed to
undermining the social and economic well being of the residents of America's
black ghettos. Moreover, poverty, discrimination, and the conditions of life in
these ghettos - whether singly or in combination - have dramatically restricted
the opportunity, historically available for residents of other urban ghettos in
America, for African Americans to move elsewhere if they want to do so.
n84 And, Massey and Denton insist, the
"evidence suggests that the high degree of segregation blacks experience in
urban America is not voluntary."
Another reason that the identification of poor African Americans as the
"other" is shameful is that this image is so often invoked by residents of relatively
prosperous suburbs to legitimate their fear of the city. But these are the very
people who, by moving to jurisdictions that are treated by the legal system as
distinct from either the central city or from neighboring black suburbs, have
been able to escape paying the city taxes that are designed to improve the
quality of life in poor African American neighborhoods. One way to demonstrate
the stark contrast between the relative comfort of outsiders who fear the black
poor and the conditions in which residents of black ghettos themselves live is
to focus on the issue of violence that the outsiders so often raise. It bears
emphasis that the people most victimized by this violence are the residents of
the black ghettos themselves. In 80 percent of all violent crimes, the race of
both the defendant and victim is the same.
n86 This is true even for the most serious crime: More than 80 percent of those
who commit murder, black or white, have victims of the same racial background.
n87 Similarly, black residents, both inner city and suburban, are more likely than
whites to be victims of
[*1067] household crime, such as burglary or household larceny.
n88 To be sure, fear of crime is commonly associated with assault and robbery, and
robbery is the crime most often committed by strangers and most likely to be
n89 Yet even for robbery, 63 percent of cases involve victims and offenders of the
same race, compared to 31 percent with white victims and black offenders.
n90 Of course, fear of crime is not irrational. Even though the crime rate has
declined in the country as a whole since 1981,
n91 there is still far too much crime, much of it within city limits.
n92 But not everyone's fear of crime is equally justified: Teenage black males
have an annual victimization rate for all violent crimes of 113 per thousand
persons, while adult white males and females have annual victimization rates
for these crimes of eighteen and fifteen per thousand, respectively.
A fundamental issue is raised by the existence of America's poor African
American neighborhoods - and, I should hasten to add, by the all-too-similar
neighborhoods, both within the central city and in suburbs, that house Puerto
Ricans, Chicanos, and other Hispanics.
n94 What should we, as Americans, do about these ghettos and the attendant fear
that they generate both for those who live within them and outside of them? A
response to this question requires more than a psychological or sociological
analysis, although both of these disciplines can certainly contribute to
finding an answer to it. The question presents a central, perhaps the central,
issue of American politics.
D. The Politics of City Life
As Massey and Denton demonstrate, for most of the twentieth century the
overwhelming response to America's poor African American neighborhoods has been
to isolate them by creating and defending the racially-marked boundaries that
separate them from the rest of the metropolitan area. Yet Massey and Denton's
focus on black neighborhoods tells only part of the story, because a policy of
isolation has affected the lives of many other people as well. Neighborhood
boundaries, city-suburb boundaries, and the boundaries between suburbs have
also divided residents of metropolitan areas along class and ethnic lines. And
both central city and suburban zoning laws have separated residen-
[*1068] tial areas from business districts, commercial uses from industrial uses,
high-income shopping from low-income shopping. Indeed, the overall impact of
American urban policy in the twentieth century has been to disperse and divide
the people who live in America's metropolitan areas and, as a result, to reduce
the number of places where people encounter men and women radically different
Every level of government has played a role in formulating and implementing
this urban policy. The major contribution of the federal government has taken
the form of massive financial support for suburbanization. The suburban boom
could not have occurred without the funding, provided by the Federal-Aid
Highway Act of 1956, for the highways and beltways that now link suburbs with
central cities and with each other.
n95 Nor would it have been sustainable without the existence of federally insured
mortgages, a program created in the 1930s, expanded in later decades, and
administered well into the 1960s in an overtly anti-central city and anti-black
n96 By 1986 the federal government backed two-thirds of the one-family mortgages
in the United States,
n97 and the interest on these mortgages - like local property taxes and unlike
rent - is deductible for federal income tax purposes.
n98 Many other federal programs have also fostered suburban growth;
n99 one especially worth noting, given the amount of money involved, is the
allocation of the federal budget for national defense. Defense spending has
consistently favored suburban over central city locations, fueling the growth
of places like Silicon Valley in California, the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex in
Texas, and the Cape Canaveral-Kennedy Center-Patrick Air Force Base complex in
But the federal government has done more than simply fund suburban growth.
From the late 1930s to the 1960s, it also furthered the isolation of African
Americans through a series of programs designed for central cities. In fact,
the influence of all levels of government in the expansion and consolidation of
America's black ghettos was so significant during these years that Arnold
Hirsch has distinguished this period of segregation from earlier eras by
labeling it the
"making of the second ghetto."
n101 The three important federal statutes that helped build this second ghetto -
the Housing Acts of 1937, 1949, and 1954 - provided federal funding for public
housing and urban renewal, while decentralizing to local officials the
authority to make critical decisions on matters such as site selection.
n102 These federal statutes were designed to improve the living conditions of city
slum dwellers, including African Americans, and to revitalize central city
business districts. But in order to build a business center that was consistent
with the then prevailing notions of urban planning, local officials had to
destroy nearby residential neighborhoods - neighborhoods populated by African
Americans or by working-class or lower-middle-class whites. Residents of these
neighborhoods unsuccessfully fought the efforts, led by the business community,
to rebuild city downtowns at their expense. Nevertheless, the cities' political
leaders insisted on downtown revitalization.
They also insisted on building public housing. In an ineffective attempt to
assuage the anger against urban renewal expressed by white working-class and
lower-middle-class city residents, city political leaders decided to locate
black-occupied public housing only in the black ghetto or in
"transitional" neighborhoods (and white-occupied public housing only in white neighborhoods).
As a result, the blacks evicted by urban renewal moved either to existing
housing in the black ghetto or to newly constructed public housing in the same
neighborhood; many whites moved to the suburbs.
n103 Moreover, cities spent federal funds allocated for highway construction in a
similar manner. Again, cities condemned black and white working-class and
lower-middle-class neighborhoods; again, the evicted blacks moved to the black
ghetto while many whites moved to the suburbs. Indeed, new highways were often
designed in a way that divided the city along racial or ethnic lines.
To be sure, in the 1960s, at the height of the civil rights movement, the
federal government sought to alter the urban policy I've just described and to
promote instead the integration of the nation's housing through the enactment
of the Fair Housing Act and the revitalization of inner-city neighborhoods
through the Model Cities program.
n105 It also encouraged regional decisionmaking on matters such as health care and
the environment in an effort to reduce the importance of the city/suburb
n106 But none of these programs has had a lasting impact on desegregating the
metropolitan area or undercutting suburban autonomy.
n107 Beginning in the 1970s, a combination of the rise of conservative national
governments, court decisions holding race-conscious siting of public housing
unconstitutional, and increasing opposition from neighborhoods led to the
reduction and, ultimately, the elimination of federal efforts to build public
housing and to stimulate urban renewal.
n108 Federal support of suburbanization, however, has continued.
Yet, important as it has been, the federal government is not the public entity
that is most responsible for the kind of suburbanization that has spread across
America. As Richard Ford has persuasively argued, state law has been an even
more significant contributor to the division of America's metropolitan region
into a multitude of cities that all-too-easily can be distinguished from each
other by describing their residents' racial, ethnic, or class status.
n110 This feature of suburban life is not simply a product of suburban growth. To
achieve any significant level of homogeneity, suburbs need state-granted
autonomy: the right to incorporate as a separate municipality; immunity from
annexation by the central city; the privilege of engaging in exclusionary
zoning; the ability to legislate and provide services solely in their own
self-interest; the authority not only to tax the real property located within
city boundaries but to spend the revenue collected solely on local residents.
State legislatures and courts have been the source of these suburban powers
through their formulation of local government law. Every state in the nation
has given suburbs at least some of these powers, and many states have given
suburbs all of them.
n111 But the very
[*1071] fact that there are suburbs in America that lack some of these powers
demonstrates that the idea of suburban autonomy cannot be deduced from the
nature of a suburb; a state has to decide to confer it. That they have largely
done so has defined the meaning and importance of the city-suburb and
suburb-suburb boundaries throughout the country. One reason that state
decisionmaking on these issues has been so decisive is that the United States
Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of every one of these aspects of
State law also enabled the central cities to adopt the theory of urban
planning that required the separation of business from residential
n113 And it was state law that empowered these cities to condemn inner-city
residential neighborhoods to make way for progress as that theory defined it.
The decision to allow cities to embrace this version of urban planning was not
only discretionary but controversial, as powerful criticisms of the policy, by
Jane Jacobs and many others, suggest.
n114 Moreover, states did not simply follow the federal lead when it allowed cities
to pursue these zoning, urban renewal, and housing policies; sometimes states
authorized these activities even before the federal government's programs
n115 Yet, at the same time, state law has denied many central cities the power to
enact legislation that might have helped increase the diversity, or at least
alter the decline, of city neighborhoods - for example, the power to tax
commuters, to impose rent control, or to prohibit racial discrimination.
Of course, it would be a mistake to think that the states' urban policy, any
more than that of the federal government, always pointed in the same direction.
On occasion, states have pursued urban strategies that conflict with the one
just described. They have curtailed the incorporation of new suburbs, allowed
annexation of suburbs without their residents' consent, redistributed
locally-generated funds to more needy school districts, or limited exclusionary
[*1072] In addition, some states have given central cities the very powers mentioned
above - to tax commuters, to impose rent control, or to ban racial
n118 States plainly have the power to adopt this opposite urban policy if they want
to do so: The United States Supreme Court has made clear that it too is
n119 As recent scholarship has demonstrated, however, this alternative urban policy
has not been the general practice.
n120 Overall, states have promoted suburban autonomy and limited city power, and
they have done these not just through the formulation of local government law
but in other ways as well.
But cities themselves have played the central role in the dispersal and
separation of the many different kinds of people who populate America's
metropolitan areas. Neither federal money nor state grants of authority would
have accomplished this result if cities had not adopted programs that put this
urban policy into effect. Suburbs had to enact zoning ordinances that excluded
people considered different or deviant; to isolate their residents from such
people effectively, they also had to allocate their revenue, and provide
services, solely to residents. Suburbs across the nation have not only adopted
strategies such as these but have fought efforts by states or the federal
government to alter them.
n122 Similarly, the political leaders of central cities, more than anyone else,
made the crucial decisions about urban renewal, public housing, zoning, and
urban transportation that led to the
"making of the second ghetto." In implementing their vision of urban planning, cities have reinforced the
homogeneity of some city neighborhoods even as they destroyed others. Once
again, there are exceptions: Some central cities and suburbs have, from time to
time, fostered diversity.
n123 Still, one does not have to read a law review article to realize that this
contrary policy is unusual. One simply has to travel to America's metropolitan
areas to notice the astonishing replication, from coast to coast, of
upper-middle-class suburbs, working-class suburbs, central business districts
isolated from residential housing, comfortable central city residential areas,
upscale shopping areas, strip malls, and ghettos that house the black poor.
Politicians of all kinds - Democrats and Republicans, liberals and
conservatives, centralists and decentralists - have helped produce this design
[*1073] America's metropolitan areas. But for most of the century this urban policy
has been the work of liberal Democrats. It was they who sponsored New Deal
programs like public housing and urban renewal (many conservatives considered
public housing to be
"socialism"). Most big city mayors in this century have been Democrats, and Democratic
state and federal leaders have been no less generous to the suburbs than
n124 Over the last thirty years, however, the Republican party has developed a
style of political argument that has built upon and reinforced this
longstanding effort. In Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes
on American Politics, Thomas and Mary Edsall trace the development of this
style of argument from Goldwater, through Nixon, Wallace, and Agnew, to Reagan
n125 The Edsalls have boiled the argument down to a few essential points: The link
between race and taxes (taxes are for them, not for us); the threat to
traditional moral values of family, work, church, school, and neighborhood (a
threat posed not only by poor African Americans but by feminists, gays and
lesbians, immigrants, and others seeking protection of their
"rights"); fear of crime (another reference to race); and, finally, the identification
of a liberal elite as the source of the current favoritism that
"big government" affords blacks and other special interests.
n126 As the Edsalls see it, this argument has been crafted to appeal, in
particular, to the fear of poor African Americans - and of others considered
deviant - felt by working-class and lower-middle-class whites. But, they
conclude, now that a majority of America's voting population lives in the
suburbs, the overt nature of this appeal can gradually be eliminated.
Metropolitan segregation can itself organize people politically. After all,
most of those considered
"other" live in the central city or in their own suburbs.
In my view, the urban policy that I've just described has had enormously
destructive consequences for American life. One of these consequences,
emphasized in the previous paragraphs, has been the simultaneous creation of
poor African American neighborhoods and of privileged, mostly white, suburbs.
This spatial segregation has impoverished a significant percentage of African
Americans and, at the same time, enriched America's (mostly white)
n128 Another consequence has been a diminution of the opportunity, even in central
cities, to experience the city's traditional way of being with strangers. Many
residents of poor African American neighborhoods virtually never leave their
n129 and many suburban residents rarely go anywhere that might make them feel
uncomfortable. Of course, there are still areas in cities across the country -
from Greenwich Village to Telegraph Avenue - where one can sense the variety,
stimulation, and hesitation associated
[*1074] with encountering people considered
n130 But there are also neighborhoods in the same cities where people feel they
don't belong, and neighborhoods that are so unfamiliar they exist only as blank
spaces on residents' mental maps of the metropolis. Robert Park's famous
observation about cities is thus truer today than in 1916, when he made it:
"The processes of segregation," he said,
"establish moral distances which make the city a mosaic of little worlds which
touch but do not interpenetrate."
n131 Whether understood in terms of Iris Young's normative values of social
differentiation without exclusion, variety, eroticism, and publicity or through
my earlier discussion of ego strength, tolerance, and individual freedom taken
from the psychological and sociological literature, this reduction of space for
"city life" is a significant loss.
But America's dominant urban policy has had an even more insidious
consequence. The division of metropolitan areas along racial lines and the
erosion of the opportunity for
"city life" have intensified metropolitan residents' feelings of suspicion and fear when
they confront strangers. As a result, the Kerner Commission's infamous vision
of America as two separate, hostile, and unequal nations now appears to be an
n132 Metropolitan areas are not simply divided between black and white and rich and
poor. Suburb after suburb and neighborhood after neighborhood are organized in
terms of a multitude of
"we" feelings, each of which defines itself in opposition to outsiders. This
increased aversion to strangers has diminished the prospects for a political
solution to the problems posed by America's impoverished, or declining,
suburban and central city neighborhoods. Decentralization of power to the
dozens of cities into which metropolitan regions have been divided is likely to
exacerbate their separation and inequality, given their current powers and
policies. Only a central government seems capable of bringing together the
disparate groups that have grown so remote from each other. Yet even this
solution now appears improbable. As we have seen, the states and the federal
government have themselves adopted policies that have promoted metropolitan
fragmentation, reinforcing rather than overcoming the economic and social
distance that separates the area's residents.
The suspicion and fear that infest our metropolitan areas threaten to generate
a self-reinforcing cycle of alienation: The more people withdraw from each
other, the higher the percentage of strangers that cause them anxiety, thereby
producing further withdrawal. As the number of people experienced as
"other" expands, it is likely to produce a comparable increase in the desire to build
more walls separating one portion of the population from another. And I
literally mean walls - physical structures made of bricks, stone, or wood.
Walls of this kind now surround condominiums and housing developments in every
metropolitan area in the country. Cities too are now building them - or
[*1075] ing building them. When constructed, they separate neighborhoods from each
other by blocking public streets and are justified as crime-prevention
n133 Many more such structures might be become desirable or necessary if the
current level of fear of strangers intensifies. In many countries - El Salvador
and South Africa, for example - walls surround private houses in order to keep
out the frightening others who live nearby. Many observers have noted that
America's central cities are becoming populated by the rich and the poor as the
middle class has been forced - and has chosen - to move to the suburbs.
n134 And the suburbs have themselves become divided in a similar way.
E. A City Function of Community Building
Much of the support for this urban policy comes from the kind of people that
the policy itself has nurtured: People who acknowledge that living in a world
of strangers is unavoidable in an urbanized area but who feel comfortable only
with strangers who seem to be like them. Those who adopt this stance can be
understood as one possible version of the
"metropolitan type" of individual, to return to the term used in the urban sociological
n135 These people are often associated with the suburbs: Sennett described them as
living in purified communities and Baumgartner analyzed them when he described
"moral order of the suburb."
n136 Driving from their neighborhood to work and back home, they try to encounter
as little disorder, surprise, strangeness, or otherness as possible. This
requires withdrawing into a circle of family and friends, into their
neighborhood, into voluntary associations, and into their workplace, and then
fortifying the boundaries that define, for each of these places of refuge,
"who fits in." But it is a mistake to think of this version of the metropolitan type of
individual as living only in the suburbs. They now can be found everywhere in
the metropolitan area. To give but one additional example, many who live in
poor African American neighborhoods also feel comfortable only with people like
n137 They too devise methods, albeit different methods than those adopted in the
suburbs, to exclude outsiders. As in the suburbs, policing the boundaries of
the black neighborhood - and of voluntary associations and, in some areas, of
city blocks - helps residents reassure
[*1076] themselves that the people they encounter will conform to the fictional unity
often associated with the word
There is, however, another version of the metropolitan type of individual: the
people whom Richard Sennett and other urban sociologists have described as
sustained by life in a heterogeneous community.
n139 They too live in a world of strangers, but they have learned to tolerate the
presence of some of the unfamiliar strangers that populate their city and to
enjoy the presence of others. Richard Sennett's Fall of Public Man offers a
brilliant historical account of this form of life and of the role of cities in
fostering it. But his account is one of decline. Sennett ends his book by
saying that the city ought to revive this way of life by teaching people how to
live it. The city, he says, ought to be
the forum in which it becomes meaningful to join with other persons without the
compulsion to know them as persons. I don't think this is an idle dream; the
city has served as a focus for active social life, for the conflict and play of
interests, for the experience of human possibility, during most of the history
of civilized man. But just that civilized possibility is today dormant.
In fact, the possibility is worse than dormant. As we have seen, every level of
American government has adopted policies that reduce the amount of public space
in metropolitan areas and, with it, the opportunity for the kind of experience
Sennett describes. Moreover, this form of life is simultaneously being eroded
by nongovernmental forces which collectively might be called the trend toward
privatization: the withdrawal into family life, condominiums, office complexes,
and shopping malls, as well as into the cars which allow people to travel in
seclusion from one of these private places to another.
Despite the power and pervasiveness of this support for the privatized version
of the metropolitan type of individual, there is no countervailing effort in
American society designed to cultivate the alternative version, the one Sennett
associates with city life. Where could such an effort take place? Certainly not
in the private sector. Whether defined in terms of family or work, this area of
life has not characteristically been open to engagement with otherness. Nor do
the state and federal governments seem much more promising. Although these
levels of government can have a major impact on character development, as their
support of suburbanization demonstrates, they operate largely by passing laws
and funding programs and thus are too remote from the kind of daily contact
that the effort requires. Other than someone delivering the mail, one comes
across a federal or state employee on official business no more than once a
month. In The Uses of Disorder, Sennett proposed a third possible way to foster
city life: anarchy. He suggested eliminating government's role not only in
urban planning but also in ordinary police work. Without government to turn to,
he argued, city residents would have to deal with each other regardless of
n141 Sennett's proposal has a delicious 60s feel to it (the
[*1077] book was published in 1970), and it has the value of making clear, in yet
another way, how powerfully the government is now involved in the separation
and division of different kinds of people in America's cities.
n142 But I don't think that many Americans these days, perhaps not even Sennett
himself, consider it much of an answer.
The answer instead, I suggest, is located in the city itself. A primary city
function - the primary city function - ought to be the cultivation and
reproduction of the city's traditional form of human association. Cities - and
I mean all cities, including suburbs - ought to teach people how to interact
with unfamiliar strangers, how to deal with their terror of the black poor or
of whomever else they imagine as
"the mob," how (in Sennett's words)
"to join with other persons without the compulsion to know them as persons."
n144 There are three reasons that cities should perform such a function. The first
is based on the contribution that this way of life offers for human development
and growth - the values of ego strength, tolerance, stimulation, creativity,
experiment, eroticism, and play discussed above. The second, also discussed
above, stems from the problems created by the current level of estrangement
between metropolitan residents, let alone an intensification of it. The present
degree of suspicion and fear that characterizes American metropolitan areas is
an unacceptable basis for American life. There should be no neighborhood in
America that outsiders can't visit because they feel - legitimately feel - they
don't belong. But I suspect that many will think that it is utopian for me to
The final justification for a city function of community building lies in its
potential for reinvigorating the possibility of a political solution to the
divisions that now characterize American metropolitan areas. For far too long,
policy makers have conceptualized relationships with strangers in terms of a
polar choice between separation, on the one hand, and a romanticized sense of
togetherness, on the other. The only way they thought they could avoid
reinforcing the area's differences was to disregard neighborhood and suburban
boundaries altogether, thereby adopting the opposite urban policy to the one
that is currently predominant. This alternative policy has taken many forms,
such as regional government, government-mandated racial integration of housing
and schools, and neighborhood condemnation and dispersal. But opposition to
these proposals has been intense, and not just from those who have been
enriched by metropolitan fragmentation. The prospect of being absorbed into -
or invaded by - a world of hostile strangers makes many people feel vulnerable.
African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans often don't want to be
assimilated into the white suburbs; many other groups, defined in terms ranging
from ethnicity to class to sexual orientation, like having their
[*1078] own neighborhood. If the only alternative to accepting the differentiation of
the region's population is to eliminate it, many have felt, the price is too
high. Given this determined opposition, the alternative urban policy has been
used only exceptionally, while more and more forms of estrangement between
people at the local level have taken hold: pro-life and pro-choice, gay and
homophobic, welfare recipient and investment banker, security guard and
protester, Cuban American and African American.
In my view, by making togetherness the only alternative to separation, the
standard for relationships with others has been set too high. Togetherness
eliminates strangeness from strangers by requiring them fit into a
"we" feeling that banishes dissonance or discomfort. Such a standard is so hard to
achieve that it tends to produce more separation than connection.
n145 For those who have perceived themselves as outside of the
"we" feeling, the demands of togetherness have required assimilation to norms -
white norms, or suburban norms, or upper-middle-class norms - with which they
disagreed. And for those who have learned to identify with these norms, it has
closed off the enrichment, and the challenge, of dealing with otherness. Most
importantly, the demand for togetherness has suppressed the possibility that
one might not feel comfortable with someone yet still be able to deal with him.
Historically, cities have created just such a relationship with strangers. City
life has not demanded a feeling of solidarity or affection or acceptance. It
has held out no promise of commonality, no sense that persuasion that can bring
those with opposed views together. What it has suggested instead is that one
needs to learn how to live with people - and to work with people - who are not
like oneself. Moreover, it is important not to overstate the amount of contact
with such strangers that city life has entailed. No one who lives in cities
spends full time with unfamiliar strangers. Like Jane Jacob's description of a
city street, city life is a compromise between withdrawal from strangers and
engagement with them.
n146 The exact nature of this compromise constantly has to be negotiated and
renegotiated. Indeed, this process of negotiation represents the characteristic
city alternative to the idea that the proper solution to one's problems or to
the problems of society is to escape from them.
It is important, as the previous discussion has emphasized, not to romanticize
this form of human relationship. Dealing with unassimilated strangers often
makes people feel uneasy or frightened. But it is equally important not to
romanticize the alternatives - including the contemporary metropolitan design
that has required so much effort, and so many billions of government dollars,
to create. As I suggest below, a wide variety of people would benefit from a
change in current urban policy, and there is some reason to believe that
[*1079] support for such a change could be generated.
n147 Yet even the most optimistic booster of the city-identified version of the
metropolitan type of individual has to accept the fact that, given its current
political power, the preeminence of the privatized metropolitan type of
individual will remain a decisive ingredient in urban America for a long time
to come. What I propose is that cities adopt a strategy to counter the
overwhelming public and private support now fostering the division and
dispersal of metropolitan residents. Cities in the future will continue to
incorporate, as central cities and diverse suburbs do now, both interaction
with unfamiliar strangers and withdrawal from them, public spaces as well as
private spaces. The challenge is to alter the mix.
A city function of community building would be designed not only to lower the
overall level of estrangement in America's metropolitan areas but also to begin
the process of local negotiations designed to address the area's problems. Of
course, it would be foolish to be too optimistic these days about the political
prospects for local political negotiations, given how successful America's
urban policy in the twentieth century has been. Metropolitan residents are so
foreign to each other than any proposal for a negotiated political solution to
the current level of suspicion and inequality between (say) upper-middle-class
whites and poor African Americans is bound to seem naive. Even so, I don't
think that there can be a solution to the divisions that fracture America's
metropolitan areas without confronting them. And the history of the twentieth
century offers little hope that there can be a federal or a state solution to
the estrangement of people living in our metropolitan areas if they themselves
can find no way of dealing with each other. After all, federal and state
officials are responsible to, and elected by, those who live in these divided
communities. To overcome the fear of outsiders that now pervade our
metropolitan areas, everyone in the area, no matter where he or she lives,
needs to be given a stake in eliminating the conditions that have brought this
fear into existence.
The usual justification for a centralized rather than a local solution to
urban problems is the fear of local selfishness: The cities that constitute a
metropolitan area, it is thought, are likely to be too self-interested to deal
with each other effectively. Thus even if it were possible for central cities
to foster the form of community building I am proposing, the argument runs, it
seems unlikely that anything like it could take place in homogeneous suburbs.
Iris Young, like many others, thinks that it cannot.
n148 She concludes therefore that, in order to promote the normative ideal of city
life, cities themselves
"should cease to have sovereign authority."
"the lowest level of governmental power should be regional."
n150 She adopts this position because she assumes that de-
[*1080] centralizing power to cities means ceding power to separate, autonomous,
mini-states. She therefore has to deny power to all cities, no matter how
diverse, in order to restrict the exclusionary power of homogeneous suburbs. As
a result, although she tries to give neighborhoods some influence over regional
decisionmaking, she abandons any meaningful effort to decentralize political
n151 She transfers to regional governments, with millions of people within their
jurisdiction, all of the conventional city functions -
"powers of legislation, regulation, and taxation, significant control over land
use and capital investment, and control over the design and administration of
public services" - without significant change.
In an earlier article, Decentering Decentralization,
n153 I rejected the conception of cities that Young considers unavoidable - the
notion that cities, like autonomous individuals, can act in their own
self-interest regardless of their impact on outsiders. From my perspective, by
presenting the alternatives for local government organization in terms of a
choice between local autonomy and regional government, Young offers another
example of the separation/togetherness structure mentioned earlier: Either
cities are imagined as totally separate from each other or merged together. In
my article, I proposed a third alternative: that the legal system recognize, in
its definition of city power, the intimate connections that cities within the
same metropolitan region have with each other. One way to do so would be to
require cities to take regional considerations into account in their
decisionmaking, thereby treating cities as having a
"situated" rather than an autonomous sense of self.
n154 An alternative would be to de-emphasize the importance of the boundary lines
that mark the separateness of the cities located within a single metropolitan
area. Such a
"postmodern" city identity would incorporate into the legal system people's connections to
cities other than their place of residence - for example, where they work,
where they shop, and where their family and friends live.
n155 My earlier article was designed to explore these
"postmodern" versions of city identity and to propose institutional mechanisms for
transforming the legal conception of the city from an emphasis on autonomy to
one of these alternatives images of the self. My argument, like Young's, was
based on promoting values such as social differentiation without exclusion,
variety, eroticism, and publicity. But I attempted to nurture these values by
reconceiving the nature of city power rather than by centralizing power into a
In this article, I seek to build on this earlier work. I take as a starting
point that cities should be important vehicles for the exercise of
n156 and that otherness and diversity, rather than sameness and exclusion, should
be the central focus of community building. In my view, empowering
[*1081] cities in America does not require treating the borders between cities, such
as the city/suburb line, as barricades protecting
"them." I recognize that much of current local government law is now based on a
defense of local autonomy and that developing a sense of community throughout
America's metropolitan regions will require significant legal and institutional
n157 Yet implementing a city function of community building need not be postponed
until these innovations have been put into place. Many diverse cities already
exist within America's metropolitan areas, and these cities could begin the
task of community building right away. Moreover, steps can be taken even by the
most homogeneous suburb to confront current differences not only between its
residents and outsiders but also among the suburb's residents themselves. A
good place to start, in my view, would be to revise the legal structure that
now governs city land use.
II. City Land Use
A. Zoning and Redevelopment
City control over land use has contributed more to the dispersal and
separation of metropolitan residents than any other city activity. This control
has been exercised principally through cities' zoning power and through a
combination of other city powers, such as condemnation, financial incentives,
and municipal borrowing, mobilized to promote urban redevelopment. The decision
to allow every city in a metropolitan area to adopt its own zoning and
development policies was made by the states; cities can engage in these
activities only because state law has authorized them.
n158 But the federal government has also been instrumental in framing cities'
zoning and redevelopment authority. After New York City adopted the nation's
first comprehensive zoning law in 1916, Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of
Commerce, helped spread the idea of locally-controlled zoning throughout the
nation by authorizing the drafting and widespread circulation of a Standard
State Zoning Enabling Act in 1923.
n159 By the mid-1920s, more than half the states had adopted a zoning law based on
the federal model; today, every American central city other than Houston, and
virtually every American suburb, has zoning authority.
n160 Similarly, although city development efforts, like zoning, originated long
before the federal govern-
[*1082] ment became involved in the issue, the Housing Act of 1949, along with
subsequent federal statutes, not only funded urban redevelopment but helped
nationalize and standardize how it was done.
Support for local zoning policies has often been articulated in the anti-urban
language of sentimental pastoralism: A bedroom community of detached,
owner-occupied, single-family houses, located in a natural setting, is often
said to be
"the best place to raise a family." As Justice Douglas put it in Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas,
"[a] quiet place where yards are wide, people few, and motor vehicles restricted
are legitimate guidelines in a land-use project addressed to family needs."
n163 In such a place, he went on,
"family values, youth values, and the blessings of quiet seclusion and clean air
make the area a sanctuary for people."
n164 Similarly, Justice Sutherland, in upholding the constitutionality of zoning in
Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.,
n165 stressed that residential districts protected the health and safety of
"fire, contagion and disorder which in greater or less degree attach to the
location of stores, shops and factories."
n166 Even apartment houses, he continued, bring with them
"disturbing noises incident to increased traffic and business, and the
occupation, by means of moving and parked automobiles, of larger portions of
the streets, thus detracting from their safety and depriving children of the
privilege of quiet and open spaces for play, enjoyed by those in more favored
This sentimental pastoral version of residential zoning omits what by now has
become obvious to everyone: Noise, traffic congestion, contagion, and disorder
are associated not just with apartment houses and commerce but with
"the wrong kind of people" - those who have to be excluded in order to make a residential neighborhood
seem desirable. This tight connection between exclusion and zoning is not news.
Zoning began in America in the 1880s as an effort to curb the spread of Chinese
laundries in Modesto and San Francisco, and New York City's ordinance was a
response to Fifth Avenue merchants' fears of being overrun by immigrant garment
n168 District Judge Westenhaver, whose opinion declaring zoning laws
unconstitutional was overturned by the Supreme Court in Village of Euclid v.
Ambler Realty, noted that the result of zoning
"is to classify the population and segregate them according to their in-
[*1083] come or situation in life."
n169 Ever since Euclid was decided, critics of zoning have written countless books
and articles decrying its role in fostering suburban homogeneity.
n170 In the summary words of one analyst:
The basic purpose of suburban zoning was to keep Them where They belonged -
Out. If They had already gotten In, then its purpose was to confine Them to
limited areas. The exact identity of Them varied a bit around the country.
Blacks, Latinos, and poor people always qualified. Catholics, Jews, and
Orientals were targets in many places. The elderly also qualified, if they were
candidates for public housing.
Although the quotation refers to suburban zoning, the same zoning effects
characterize some central city neighborhoods as well.
This exclusionary impact of local zoning, however, is widely accepted as
legitimate. Most states leave it unregulated, and the Supreme Court has found
"little ... that would spark suspicion" in suburban homogeneity without proof that intentional racial discrimination
was the decisive ingredient in zoning decisionmaking.
n172 In Everything in Its Place, Constance Perin offers an insightful
anthropological account of this widespread defense of exclusion.
n173 Home ownership in a
"nice" neighborhood, she says, is often seen as the top rung in the long climb up the
ladder of life. Such an achievement can easily be threatened if neighborhood
standards decline, and this decline is likely to be produced, people feel, by
neighborhood diversity - in particular, by the presence in the neighborhood
either of renters or of homeowners who cannot afford houses like one's own
(whatever the price). This lower class of people is associated with multiple
character defects, such as instability, disinterest in property maintenance,
and propensity toward crime. Thus having such people in the neighborhood
threatens not only to lower neighborhood residents' social status but to make
them feel uncomfortable in their own home.
n174 Race, of course, plays an important role in this portrayal of the kind of
neighbor that produces these undesirable effects.
n175 But even if America had no racism, zoning would still serve one of its
purposes: protecting people from their fear of otherness.
It also protects them from their fear of a decline in property values. Given
the felt connection between diversity and neighborhood deterioration, it is not
[*1084] surprising that people often associate
"the wrong kind of people" with undermining what, for many, is the biggest financial investment of their
lives. Thus, although zoning is often described (and attacked) as a government
restriction on the rights of property owners,
n177 it is just as readily understood as a governmental effort to protect these
rights. While zoning limits property owners' ability to do what they want with
their own property, it also provides insurance that their investment in a home
will not be undermined by the actions of their neighbors.
n178 Like developers, home owners have to think about the resale value of their
property, and, like developers, they want to protect themselves against the
risk of economic loss. And they are not alone. Zoning, after all, does more
than define the nature of residential neighborhoods. It not only separates out
commercial from residential uses but controls the way business grows in those
areas of the city in which it is allowed. Indeed, many suburbs rely on zoning
to establish their business climate. City officials work with commercial
developers to ensure that prime land is occupied by its
"highest and best use," thereby promoting the city's economic growth.
n179 Suburbs also count on the exclusionary nature of zoning to promote their
economy. Exclusion of
"the wrong kind of people" can help them demonstrate that they are an attractive place for investment.
Exclusion has been a central ingredient not only in zoning policy but also in
central cities' efforts to use their redevelopment powers to entice businesses
to move to town. As noted above, America's central cities spent the money they
received from the federal government's urban renewal program primarily on
rebuilding their business districts: Approximately two-thirds of the $ 13.5
billion that the program awarded central cities from 1949 to 1974 went for
projects in or near city downtowns.
n181 From 1974 to 1988, they spent the money they derived from the major federal
programs that succeeded urban renewal - Community Development Block Grants and
Urban Development Action Grants - for additional commercial projects.
n182 The impact of these programs on central cities has been profound.
[*1085] for downtown office development helped construct 1,325 office buildings,
thereby transforming the economies of American central cities in a manner that
provided jobs for many city residents and commuters.
n183 But in the process of doing so, the designers of these projects acted like
home owners thinking of their property values: They sought to eliminate housing
conditions that would scare away the kind of people they wanted to attract. As
a result, these massive construction projects eliminated more than 400,000
nearby low-income dwellings - an act of destruction that separated and divided
the residents of central cities in a manner similar to the use of exclusionary
zoning in the suburbs.
To be sure, this
"slum clearance" program also has a benign reading - one articulated, as was the case for
zoning, by Justice Douglas. Writing for a unanimous court in Berman v. Parker,
he observed that miserable housing conditions can make living an almost
"They may also be an ugly sore, a blight on the community which robs it of
charm, which makes it a place from which men turn. The misery of housing may
despoil a community as an open sewer may ruin a river."
With this vision in mind, it is not surprising that he had no trouble
upholding the District of Columbia's destruction of a neighborhood in Southwest
Washington, 97.5 percent black, along with the department store at issue in the
The entire area needed redesigning so that a balanced, integrated plan could be
developed for the region, including not only new homes but also schools,
churches, parks, streets, and shopping centers. In this way it was hoped that
the cycle of decay of the area could be controlled and the birth of future
There is no doubt that housing conditions in many American neighborhoods were
- and are - appalling (in the neighborhood at issue in Berman, 57.8 percent had
outside toilets and 83.8 percent lacked central heating).
n187 Yet there is also no doubt that many of the neighborhoods that stood in the
way of urban renewal were not slums, and that the money spent for new housing
largely went for buildings too expensive for those displaced to afford.
n188 Most of the estimated 1,000,000 people displaced by urban renewal, more than
half of whom
[*1086] were black, were forced to move outside of the renewal area.
"High-cost housing ..." in Lawrence Friedman's words,
"eliminated blight and slum conditions just as efficiently as low-cost housing,
and perhaps a good deal more so."
n190 In implementing urban renewal, central cities also condemned more than one
hundred thousand small businesses, and the office buildings that replaced them
provided more jobs for commuters than for the inner city poor.
n191 Indeed, the unemployment rate for the central cities that had the greatest
commitment to urban renewal increased rather than declined after 1970.
n192 Even the design of the new office buildings had a segmenting effect on central
cities. As Bernard Frieden and Lynn Sagalyn point out, three features of the
modernist downtown office developments
"cut them off from the rest of the city: they were very large, built to serve
just a single function, and laid out in ways that emphasized their separation
from the surrounding area."
n193 Since only certain kinds of people use these office complexes - and even they
are there only a portion of the day - downtown office construction reduced
"the likelihood of different kinds of people sharing the same spaces."
n194 Instead, it has had the opposite effect: Those who work in these buildings
often feel closer to people who work in similar buildings in a distant city
than to people who live in a poor neighborhood nearby.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the wholesale condemnation of central city
neighborhoods largely ceased, and government-supported redevelopment shifted
from a focus on downtown office buildings to the construction of shopping
centers designed to increase central cities' attraction to middle-class
metropolitan residents - even if they lived in the suburbs. City financial
support helped build more than three-quarters of the roughly one hundred new
central city retail centers opened in America between 1970 and 1988 - places
like Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Copley Place in Boston, Harborplace in
Baltimore, Riverwalk in New Orleans, Water Tower Place and 900 Michigan Avenue
in Chicago, and Horton Plaza in San Diego.
n195 Trump Tower in New York City
[*1087] alone received $ 100 million in tax abatements.
n196 Unlike office buildings, these shopping centers seek to attract a wide variety
of people. But they too are private property and thus do not promote the kind
of city life associated with the public street. Their owners not only seek to
attract upscale customers but are entitled to have their property policed by
private security guards to control who can enter and for what purposes.
n197 Moreover, in many central cities, new shopping malls sparked office
gentrification in nearby neighborhoods - the very effect the cities hoped for.
n198 In this way, these commercial developments have also contributed to the
relocation of poor city residents to other parts of the metropolitan area.
Although direct federal aid is now largely unavailable, central city
redevelopment efforts - fueled by the need to compete with the suburbs for
business investment - have continued. These days, redevelopment is normally
financed by issuing tax-exempt municipal bonds to pay for condemning land and
making site improvements, with the bonds paid for by tax increment financing
(that is to say, the additional property-tax revenues gained from the project
are pledged to pay off the bonds).
n200 This scheme has cost the federal government a lot of lost tax revenue: twice
as much, in the mid-1980s, as the $ 520 million it annually spent during the
twenty-five year history of urban renewal.
n201 And it costs central cities a lot of money too: Not only do they use city
property tax revenue to pay off their bonds (rather than provide city services)
but they regularly sell the condemned land to developers below cost and, when
necessary, offer tax abatements.
City policymakers consider these expenditures well worthwhile because, as a
wide range of scholars have found, a desire for economic growth dominates their
consciousness. In his influential book, City Limits, Paul Peterson treats this
desire as uncontroversial. Every citizen's life, he contends, is improved by
[*1088] enhancing the vitality of the city's economy; thus the
"consensual politics of development" is the most legitimate goal that a city can adopt.
n203 Stephen Elkin, by contrast, considers development policy a prime example of
systematic bias in local political decisionmaking. Elkin argues that cities
routinely make decisions that benefit the interests of landowners and
developers because cities depend on them to stimulate the local economy. Yet,
he says, these decisions not only impose substantial costs, such as
displacement, on others in the population but are hard for those adversely
affected to overturn. Even though community action can occasionally derail a
development project, the momentum on the side of growth: So much time,
organizing, and energy is required to stop any particular project that most of
them succeed. Moreover, both the victories and defeats in these land disputes
have cumulative effects on the relevant populations; thus, Elkin concludes,
"growth strategies themselves contribute to inequality."
n204 John Logan and Harvey Molotch take Elkin's argument one step further.
n205 City competition to attract business is so intense, they say, that the media,
unions, universities, arts groups, small retailers - among many others - join
with the business elite and city officials to demonstrate that their city has a
good business climate.
n206 This political alliance, they say, transforms the city into a
"growth machine," a machine that has power to overrun virtually any neighborhood, small
business, or individual standing in its way. Indeed, a similar
"iron law of upgrading" exists even in poor city neighborhoods: Like central cities and suburbs as a
whole, residents yearn for outside investment and want to rid their
neighborhood of those ("the winos, the homeless, and the hoodlums") who threaten to scare investors away.
In sum, local zoning and redevelopment policies have been dominated for
decades by a connection between the same two images:
"nice" neighborhoods, property values, and economic growth, on the one hand, and the
"undesirables," on the other. To break this powerful link, the fear of diversity felt both by
homeowners and developers needs to be confronted head-on. Heterogeneity and
prosperity have to be shown to be compatible goals, and heterogeneous
neighborhoods have to be re-understood as a
"good place to raise a family." These objectives cannot be accomplished by repealing cities' zoning and
redevelopment authority. As Houston's experience demonstrates, private
real-estate covenants, policed by community associations and the city
government, can have just as segregative an impact on a metropolitan area as
n208 And a cessation of central city redevelopment activity would most likely
accelerate the efforts already under way to transfer America's office and
retail life to the suburbs.
n209 Instead of eliminating cities' power to zone and engage in redevelopment,
these powers need to be reconceived in a way that promotes community building
rather than the dispersal and separation of metropolitan residents. Such a
reconception requires addressing two questions: What kind of land use should
cities cultivate through the exercise of their zoning and redevelopment powers?
And how can cities accomplish a radical change in their land use policies,
given the current fragmentation of American metropolitan areas?
B. The New Urbanism
In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs urged America's
cities to replace
"zoning for conformity" with
"zoning for diversity."
n210 By this she meant using zoning laws to ensure that no one kind of structure
could dominate a city neighborhood. To accomplish this goal, she suggested that
cities offer tax incentives to undermine the current pressure on property
owners to maximize the short-term profit potential of every piece of land. The
way to raise a city's tax base, she argued, is not to develop each individual
piece of land to its fullest; the better route
"is to expand the city's territorial quantity of successful areas."
n211 Jacobs also urged cities to engage in
"planning for vitality" - that is, planning that would attract the greatest possible variety of people
into every district in the city, that would promote a continuous network of
local streets capable of
"handling strangers so they are an asset rather than a menace," and that aimed at
"unslumming the slums" by encouraging city residents, whoever they were, to stay put by choice.
n212 In a similar vein, Vincent Scully, in his American Architecture and Urbanism,
denounced the two predominant architectural forms that have characterized
American city building in the post-World War II period - suburban sprawl and
"super-blocks" of high-rise towers. Although these two architectural forms superficially look
different, he argued, both share the same essential anti-urban stance. Both
destroy the diverse, pedestrian-centered feel of city streets, replace
multi-use neighborhoods with geographically-defined areas devoted to a single
[*1090] and promote the limitless extension of a decentralized metropolis accessible
only by car.
n213 Scully called for an end to these forms of destruction of the urban
"We can hardly flee our neighbors along the ringing high road forever," he said.
Maybe not. But Jacobs and Scully made their proposals in the 1960s, a time
when it would have been easier to implement them than it is today, and little
has changed. More than half of California's man-made landscape has been built
in the last thirty years, and most of it consists of the kind of urban
environment that Jacobs and Scully denounced: single-income residential
developments, high-rise business districts, and large-scale shopping malls
surrounded by parking lots. The same
"post-1965 city," to adopt Daniel Solomon's term, has similarly transformed vast areas in every
other state in the nation.
n215 Recently, however, a number of architects and urban planners have begun
exploring ideas like those advanced by Jacobs and Scully. Peter Calthorpe has
criticized America's current form of city-building for producing a host of
"Serious environmental stress, intractable traffic congestion, a dearth of
affordable housing, loss of irreplaceable open space, and lifestyles which
burden working families and isolate the elderly."
n216 And Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk have charged that it is also
responsible (at least in part) for impoverishing central cities and for cutting
"[a] whole generation of Americans ... from direct contact with people from
other social classes."
n217 The resulting
"mutual incomprehension and fear," Duany and Plater-Zyberk say,
"accounts for no small share of the tension in our national political life."
Spurred by such concerns, these architects and urban planners have, at long
last, begun sketching what a post-suburban-sprawl, post-super-block metropolis
would look like. Their work, collectively labeled
"the new urbanism," encompasses a wide variety of different, sometimes conflicting, views.
[*1091] less, some common themes seem to be emerging. New urbanists want to transform
the current mix of residential neighborhoods, office complexes, strip malls,
shopping centers, and underused city land that now dominates America's
metropolitan landscape into
"neighborhoods of housing, parks, and schools placed within walking distance of
shops, civic services, jobs, and transit."
n220 To do so, they have focused on six aspects of urban design: creating multi-use
environments, constructing grid systems for public streets, giving priority to
the needs of pedestrians, facilitating reliance on public transportation,
highlighting the importance of centrally-located public space, and establishing
focal points and boundaries for urban space. More specifically:
Multi-Use Environments. New urbanists want to replace current zoning laws -
virtually all of which now mandate the separation of different areas by
function - with laws that require the re-integration of commercial, work, and
home life. And they want to incorporate schools, parks, public squares, and
public buildings into these multi-use neighborhoods. They also reject zoning
requirements that define residential neighborhoods by income (minimum lot
sizes, exclusion of apartment houses, and the like) and favor instead requiring
the accommodation of different housing types - small and large, multi-family
and single-family, rental and owner-occupied, units above stores and detached
houses - within a single neighborhood.
Grid Systems. New urbanists restructure old neighborhoods, and build new ones,
in a grid pattern - a web of inter-connected public streets. They thus have
repudiated the traditional suburban pattern of cul-de-sacs intersecting with
collector streets which, in turn, connect at specific points to arterials and,
finally, to highways. A grid system, they argue, facilitates intra-neighborhood
connections, creates redundant ways of going from one place to another, and,
thereby, relieves congestion on collector and arterial streets.
The Needs of Pedestrians. New urbanists design neighborhoods to give priority
to the desires of pedestrians over the convenience of car drivers. This
involves, first of all, changing zoning laws and street design in the manner
suggested above, so that people have destinations they want to walk to and
streets on which to walk. It also involves designing streets so that people
will feel comfortable walking along them. Car-oriented streets are built for
speed, have few intersections, soft curves, and large, easily accessible
parking areas; pedestrian-oriented streets limit the speed of passing cars,
lead to nearby places, and are lined with trees and parked cars to protect
pedestrians from traffic. As Peter Calthorpe puts it, pedestrians
"want narrow streets lined with entries and porches leading to local shops,
schools, and parks - not curving streets lined by garage doors leading to
Public Transportation. New urbanists promote public transit, as well as
walking, in an effort to reduce the current level of reliance on transportation
by car. They seek not to eliminate cars but to re-balance the three forms of
transportation. (86 percent of all trips taken by Americans are by car,
[*1092] with 30-48 percent of trips taken by Europeans, and the number of vehicle
miles that Americans drive is increasing almost four times faster than the
n222 Public transportation and walking, they say, reinforce each other. Public
transportation is most useful if one can easily walk to and from the station,
and walking is encouraged if the streets are lined with stores and houses
rather than parking lots and garages (these they place behind the stores and
houses, not on the street). Among the new urbanists, Peter Calthorpe is most
insistent on the importance of public transportation: His compact, walkable,
multi-use neighborhoods are built around transit stops.
Public Space. New urbanists make public space - not just public streets but
also squares, parks, and buildings - the focal points of neighborhood life.
Public squares and parks, along with multi-use zoning, inter-connected
street-design, and pedestrian-focused neighborhoods, help create an urban feel
for city life. Post-offices, meeting halls, day care centers, and other public
buildings can perform this function too, particularly if they are located on
the squares and parks. All of these forms of public space are important because
they are the traditional place where one encounters strangers as well as
neighbors - a phenomenon new urbanists seek to encourage. In Daniel Solomon's
words, public space generates a form of intelligence known as
"there is," he adds,
"no comparable form of suburban wisdom ... [such] as
Centers and Edges. New urbanists want to define centers and boundaries for
neighborhoods, cities, and the region as a whole. They think that neighborhoods
need edges because walkable neighborhoods are best kept small and that
neighborhoods should have a center (preferably, public buildings located in
public spaces such as parks and squares) to create an urban feel. City centers
and edges, in turn, create a comprehensible map for the multiplicity of
neighborhoods linked together by inter-connecting streets. They also facilitate
the formation of specialized city neighborhoods, such as university areas,
theater districts, and tourist districts, that allow residential, commercial,
and work life to be combined in different ways. This form of specialization
creates a diverse city yet avoids the rigid separation of functions that now
characterizes office parks, shopping centers, and housing subdivisions.
Finally, regional centers and edges allow neighborhoods and special districts
to fit into a scheme for the metropolis as a whole. And, equally importantly,
regional edges define a limit for suburban sprawl.
This brief summary of new urbanists' ideas does not begin to capture the
vividness and complexity represented in their current projects and designs for
a variety of urban contexts (new neighborhoods, inner-city redevelopment,
reconfiguring current suburban land use, establishing regional plans). But even
the summary suggests the simultaneously nostalgic and radical nature of their
proposed revisions of city zoning and redevelopment policy. New urbanists
replace suburban nostalgia for the seclusion of life in the countryside with an
[*1093] urban nostalgia for city vitality. They reject the radicalism of more (and
more and more) of the same and embrace instead a radicalism that integrates
different types of people into a less car-centered environment. By combining
classic urban forms (multi-use buildings built to the street without a setback)
and contemporary commercial phenomenon (anchor stores in malls), they offer one
possible version of a post-modernist metropolitan area.
As the new urbanists themselves emphasize, however, virtually everything they
want to do is now illegal.
n224 To promote the new urbanist version of urban design, cities would have to
revise municipal zoning laws and development policy from top to bottom. They
would have to replace functional zoning with its opposite, establish a
different street network, support public transportation, and build public
space. They would have to use their redevelopment powers to foster the building
of neighborhoods rather than concentrating on office buildings and shopping
malls. And they would have to end their imposition of design requirements that
segregate America's residential areas along income lines. New urbanists insist
that the lack of affordable housing in America is due more to existing public
policy than to economics.
"We choose to subsidize highways rather than transit," Peter Calthorpe says,
"we choose to zone mixed-use neighborhoods out of existence, and we choose to
standardize and isolate housing types into two large categories: low-density
unaffordable or high-density undesirable."
n225 Low cost housing could be built over the store, in outbuildings placed in back
of larger houses, and in buffer strips in suburban developments all across
America, say Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, if local zoning laws
that now forbid these housing types were changed to permit them.
These efforts to provide affordable housing, re-establish pedestrian-focused
environments, and make public space an integral part of neighborhoods have the
potential of contributing significantly to community building in America's
cities. New urbanists make clear that this is one of their goals.
n227 Peter Calthorpe, for example, has argued that withdrawal represents a
"The more isolated people become and the less they share with others unlike
themselves, the more they do have to fear."
n228 For this reason, he seeks to replace a landscape built to accommodate driving
from the garage to the office parking lot and back with one that encourages
walking on public streets, being in public squares, and living in integrated
neighborhoods. These new designs, he hopes, will stimulate the opposite
"The more diverse and open a community is, the less people come to fear one
n229 Of course, no new urbanist claims that city design alone can undo the current
level of suspicion and fear in America. They simply consider it a necessary
Yet one need look no further than to Newsweek's cover story on the new
urbanists to see how easily their ideas can be de-fanged.
n230 Newsweek presents a suburban reading of new urbanism, reducing it to plans for
building cutsy towns for the upper-middle class ("an alternative to sprawl .... must not evoke
"the city,' an alien place where by definition middle-class Americans refuse to
n231 Although, as I have suggested, this reading is contrary to the new urbanists'
own intentions, they share some responsibility for this suburbanized
interpretation of their work. References to the notion of community embraced in
new urbanist writing too often invoke the romantic associations with that word.
n232 No doubt, as Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk succinctly put it,
"community' sells" these days.
n233 But it sells most easily when issues such as racial conflict are not
introduced into the discussion. And references to race - and to social conflict
generally - are conspicuously absent in new urbanist writing. As a result, much
of what the new urbanists envision building could be located - indeed, some of
it has already been located - in areas of the country in which the degree of
engagement with otherness is minimized.
n234 To promote genuinely diverse and open communities, a city function of
community building will have to link new urbanism with a determination to
overcome the racial, ethnic, social, and economic divisions that have fortified
city and neighborhood boundaries across the country.
C. Prospects for Change
This will not be easy to do. On the contrary, it is often said that current
zoning and redevelopment policies reflect what people want. People like living
in exclusionary suburbs and neighborhoods, the argument runs, and they like
working and shopping in safe, comfortable, office complexes and shopping malls.
In short, Newsweek is right: People don't want to live or work in heterogeneous
It would be foolish to underestimate the force of this argument: Government
policy and individual choice have together built a remarkable appetite in
America for withdrawal and isolation. No one thinks that this trend can be
reversed overnight. The question is whether enough support can be generated to
build alternatives. Of course, some support for heterogeneous communities
[*1095] can come from those who already like living in them - those who find that the
stimulation and fun produced by city life outweigh its unsettling effects. But
the effort to build an unromanticized sense of community in America will also
need to attract converts from those who now live in neighborhoods that define
themselves in terms of opposition to outsiders. These converts could come from
a variety of places, but four (overlapping) groups seem especially worth
mentioning: women, residents of the declining working-class and middle-class
suburbs, the elderly, and African Americans.
The appeal of suburban isolation was built upon, and still depends on,
specific ideas about the role of women in American society.
n235 After World War II, thousands of bedroom suburbs were constructed - and the
houses within them were designed - as physical expressions of what has come to
be called the
"cult of domesticity."
n236 Zoning laws, developers, advertisers of home-related products, women's
magazines, the Federal Housing Authority, and bank officials sought to make the
sharpest possible contrast between the private, comfortable, soft, and
protected environment of the suburbs with the open, competitive, dangerous, and
seductive world of the central city. Relying on this contrast, two-parent
families with children moved to the suburbs, where the wife was expected to be
a full-time homemaker and the husband a commuter. Since the husband was
out-of-town most of the day, ensuring physical security for the women and
children left behind was crucial. One way to do so lay in the design of
detached, single-family houses and cul-de-sacs; another relied on the creation
of homogeneous, and therefore
"safe," communities. The origin of this suburban vision has been attributed,
alternatively, to patriarchy, to capitalism, to commercial greed (of car
manufacturers, real estate developers, or consumer product retailers), and to
the residents' own desire for a good life for themselves and their families.
n237 Whatever its genesis, this
"prescriptive architecture of gender"
n238 was embraced for decades by millions of (mostly white) women and their
No doubt many women are still attracted to this way of life. But the vision of
the family on which these residential communities were founded is now
exceptional. By the late 1980s, the
"traditional family" - a married couple with children with the wife as a full-time homemaker -
constituted only 10.8
[*1096] percent of all households.
n240 One reason that this percentage is so low is that more women are working
outside the home.
n241 Another is that two-parent families are declining (26 percent of all
households in 1990, down from 40 percent in 1970), while single-parent families
are on the rise (now 15 percent of households, 86 percent of which are headed
n242 Both trends have caused an increasing number of women to encounter a host of
difficulties with combining work and family in a car-centered suburban
residential development: the strain of commuting; the unavailability or
inadequacy of child-care; lack of time and energy to keep up the appearance of
the house; too many errands. In America these are women's problems,
notwithstanding feminist efforts to the contrary. Women remain largely
responsible for child-care, housework, and errands; women who work outside the
home have found that their career is just one more
Although many women experience these problems as their own individual
predicament, in recent years feminist urban theorists have begun to document
the role of urban design in creating them.
n243 A fragmented, car-centered culture, they say, is especially hard on women. It
lengthens the time it takes to commute to work, to shop, and to do household
errands; it makes children dependent on having a chauffeur in order to go
anywhere; it increases the likelihood that those hired to help with child care
or household responsibilities live far away; it isolates families so that the
nineteenth-century feminist alternative to hiring outside help - coordinating
cooking, child care, and housekeeping tasks with neighbors - becomes
n244 New urbanists have similarly criticized suburban design for its impact on
women's lives. Indeed, their effort to reintegrate residential, commercial, and
work life and to accommodate affordable housing is designed in large part to
confront the problems that feminist urban theorists have identified.
To be sure, this account of the effect of traditional suburbs on women
sidesteps the issue of security. But no one thinks that women (or men) should
live in a community filled with crime: The quality of city services, including
police protection, is plainly a central issue for urban policy. The point
instead is that isolation seems an especially undesirable way of providing
security for women, given the substantial burdens that such a strategy imposes
on them. Indeed,
[*1097] feminist urban theorists object not only to the practical problems that this
isolation has created but also, more fundamentally, to the privatized,
sheltered idea of women's lives embodied in suburban design. These theorists
seek to enable women, like men, to enjoy the vitality - and the seduction - of
city life. Women, like children, are isolated in the suburbs not only because
these groups are considered vulnerable but also because of the city's
attractions; traditionally only men have been thought able to withstand, and
only men have been licensed to enjoy, the dangers and pleasures that central
Thus, when people say (as they do over and over again) that the suburbs
"are a good place to raise a family," one might well respond: What image of the family do they have in mind? For
whom is it a good place: Women? Men? Children? What is the definition of a
"good" place? Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk argue that, together with the
elderly, children are the great victims of the current form of suburbanization.
Fresh air and open spaces are good for [children]. Suburban sprawl is not.
Children in the postwar suburbs are kept in an unnaturally extended state of
isolation and dependence because they live in places designed for cars rather
... Imagine how the lives of children would change if the suburban house and
yard were assembled in the form of a traditional neighborhood so that kids
could visit friends, go out for a hamburger, or walk to a library on their own.
Imagine as well, one might add, the difference in their education and
preparation for living in a diverse society if contact with otherness was
routine rather than forbidden.
Another problem posed by the current design of American metropolitan areas
lies in its contribution to the current decline in the living standards of
middle-class and lower-middle-class residents of America's inner suburbs.
n248 In metropolitan regions across the country, those who can afford to do so are
moving out of the suburbs close to the central cities (as well as out of the
central cities themselves). And out means further out: to areas more and more
remote from the central city. (Metropolitan Chicago has grown geographically by
46 percent in the last 20 years, although the area's population has grown only
n249 The people who are moving increase their housing costs:
"Moving up" is a prime reason for the move. They also endure (and pay the cost of) longer
commutes and the intensification of the stress on women's lives described
above. But the greatest cost of this migration is being imposed on those who
remain behind in the inner suburbs and central cities because they cannot
afford, or do not want, to move.
The outward exodus of wealthier residents has helped cause - and has been
stimulated by - the simultaneous relocation of shopping centers and office
parks to the outer suburbs, a relocation that, in the last twenty-five years,
has transformed many of them into
n250 This shift in business and commercial life has reduced the number of jobs
available to residents of the inner suburbs because the new jobs are
inaccessible to those who cannot afford to maintain a car for every worker in
the family. (Even those with both a car and a job are forced to pay higher
commuting costs and, thereby, are rendered unable to afford better housing.)
n251 The urbanization of the outer suburbs has also diminished the tax base of the
inner suburbs and, with it, these suburbs' ability to support schools and other
local services. Moreover, at the very time that their resources are decreasing,
the economic decline of the inner suburbs has produced social problems, and
thus has increased the demand for city services. In short, America's inner
suburbs are now beginning to undergo the kind of downward spiral that for
decades has plagued many of America's central cities.
The most careful study of this decline, by Thomas Bier, is for Cleveland.
n252 Bier found that in recent years more than 70 percent of those who moved from
either the central city or the inner suburbs moved further out and that those
who did so bought houses at least 50 percent more expensive. This migration,
Bier argues, has imposed substantial costs not only on those who moved and
those who stayed behind but also on the government. The growth of the outer
suburbs has depended on government support through
"the provision of roads, highways, sewers, water, [and] utilities."
n253 It has also been spurred by federal tax code provisions that encourage
spending more, but not less, for a new home.
n254 Indeed, the fact that the more expensive houses are, by and large, located in
the outer suburbs is itself attributable, at least in part, to government
policy: Government's financial support for the these suburbs, when coupled with
its failure to use the money instead to maintain and redevelop housing in the
inner suburbs and the central city, has furthered the segregation of
[*1099] America's regional areas along the lines of class. And, as argued above,
zoning and redevelopment policy has had the same effect.
Bier's findings for Cleveland are echoed across the country.
n255 Myron Orfield, a state legislator from Minneapolis, describes the impact on
For 20 years, the southern and western outer-ring suburbs have gotten all of
the new freeways and sewer systems - billions of dollars of improvements - and
therefore virtually all of the region's new tax base. The central cities, inner
suburbs, and northern suburbs have paid for these improvements, but received no
commensurate increase in [their] tax base. Hence, the central cities, inner
suburbs, and northern suburbs have the highest comparable taxes and worst
service levels, while the southern suburbs have the lowest comparable tax rates
and the highest services.
With appropriate modifications of the geographic directions, the same paragraph
could be used to describe much of the country.
n257 Those who live in the jurisdictions left behind realize that their quality of
life is on the decline - and that housing prices freeze them (and their
children) out of escaping this decline.
n258 But, as is the case for many women, these residents do not attribute this
decline to urban design.
n259 There are, however, some initial signs that a central city-inner suburb
coalition can be created to reform regional land use policy if it is made an
explicit political focus.
n260 Orfield proposed, and convinced the state legislature to adopt,
metropolitan-wide restrictions on the subsidization of the growth of the outer
suburbs in order to reverse the trend toward inter-city inequality described
A third group of people disserved by America's current regional landscape is
n262 Most people over sixty-five would prefer to stay in their own neighborhoods as
long as they can.
n263 But a single-family house and a car-centered environment makes it hard for
them to do so. The cost of maintaining such a house is a burden - especially
for women living alone - and the pros-
[*1100] pect of becoming too old to drive raises the spectre of becoming either
dependent or isolated.
n264 Yet zoning laws that require single-family residences prohibit many plausible
alternatives: sharing the house with non-family members; reconstructing the
house to install a separate apartment for the elderly resident and then selling
or renting the rest of it; building an elder cottage behind the single-family
house and transferring the house itself to family members.
n265 Thus many elderly residents of traditionally-designed suburbs feel they have
no choice but to move elsewhere. At the same time, those who live in walkable,
more affordable neighborhoods in central cities or inner suburbs often feel
compelled to move for other reasons. Some of these neighborhoods have been
subjected to the economic decline just described; many elderly people are
driven out of the neighborhood by discomfort with neighborhood change or fear
of crime. Other neighborhoods have been subject to
gentrification, itself a generator of the displacement of the elderly. These difficulties -
and the dramatic rise projected for the over-sixty-five population in the near
future - suggest that those who want to
"age in place" could become a powerful political force for opening up more options for
housing and community design.
So could those over sixty-five who want to move. A central issue in framing
options for this subgroup of elderly people will be determining the appropriate
role of age-segregated residential communities.
n267 Proponents of these communities suggest that they offer many advantages: the
company of like-minded people, appropriate activities, and the assurance of
n268 They also offer relief from the annoyance, tension, and misunderstanding that
multi-generational interaction can generate. But, like other forms of
engagement with otherness, multi-generational dissonance simultaneously has
benefits. As Lewis Mumford argued in a classic essay:
Just as the young proceed with their growth through multiplying their contact
with the environment and enlarging their encounters with people other than
their families, so the aged may slow down the processes of deterioration, over
[*1101] coming their loneliness and their sense of not being wanted, by finding within
their neighborhood a fresh field for their activities.
And maintaining the integration of the elderly into society at large has
advantages for others too: A community that is integrated in terms of age
provides a source of help and (often discounted) guidance to working parents
and their children.
The issue for urban policy, however, is not whether large-scale age-segregated
communities should be made illegal. The issue instead is whether local
government law can be redesigned to permit alternatives. For example, new
urbanists' designs can accommodate the desire both for aged-based segregation
and for integration. Walkable neighborhoods can be built to provide a variety
of housing types that would serve the needs of the elderly, with some of this
housing constructed on blocks that provide seclusion for elderly people while
still being located within walking distance of commercial life and younger
n271 There is no reason that housing for the elderly has to fill a whole community.
Indeed, making age-segregated residential communities smaller can minimize
their discriminatory impact on families with children.
n272 And, unlike exclusive leisure-oriented retirement communities, new urbanist
neighborhoods can provide housing that the poor and near-poor can afford, as
well as less isolated institutional accommodations for the frail and the
n273 Yet these options are not available under the zoning laws now adopted by most
One final group that would benefit from a change in land use policy is African
Americans. This group includes, first of all, residents of the poor African
American neighborhoods described above.
n274 As Paul Jargowsky's analysis of the 1990 census data demonstrates, one of
every five black Americans now lives in one of these ghettos - up 36 percent
n275 And the percentage of ghetto residents who are poor is increasing even more
rapidly: Those who can afford to do so are leaving these neighborhoods faster
than are the poor, while it is largely the poor who are moving in.
n276 The physical size of these neighborhoods is also increasing at a rapid rate -
even in cities in
[*1102] which the number of poor ghetto residents is relatively stable.
n277 This growth of America's poor African American neighborhoods both in terms of
population and geography is generating a powerful centrifugal force in central
cities across the country. Fear and prejudice are fueling the expansion of the
outer suburbs and, as a consequence, the difficulties, described above, now
confronting women, middle-class and working-class suburban residents, and the
elderly. At the same time, the growth of the outer suburbs is, in turn,
contributing significantly to the decline in living standards of the residents
of poor African American neighborhoods. Whether one focuses on the loss of
employment opportunities or on the ways in which isolation has intensified
social problems, suburban growth has been a major cause, as well as an effect,
of the impoverishment of the black poor.
Yet at present there is no genuine prospect that the states or the federal
government will provide funding - for enterprise zones or anything comparable
n279 - that could begin to compensate for the overwhelming financial and legal
support that they currently provide the outer suburbs. As long as an urban
policy of separation and division is maintained, the exodus of middle-class
black residents from these neighborhoods, like the exodus of wealthier
residents and commercial life from other parts of the central city and the
inner suburbs, will continue, perhaps even accelerate. And the people who are
left behind in America's poor African American neighborhoods will continue to
be subjected to the magnified version of the downward spiral which, as we have
seen, has now spread to the suburbs, both black and white.
n280 These are the people who are paying the highest for America's romance with
suburbanization: workers employed in low-wage industries along with the
chronically unemployed; elderly people as well as the young; individuals
struggling against crime together with those engaged in it; those who would
leave if they could afford to do so and those who would like to stay.
Two-thirds of African Americans, however, live in metropolitan neighborhoods
outside of these poor districts.
n282 To be sure, these neighborhoods cover quite a spectrum - ranging from those
almost as poor as the most impoverished neighborhoods to those populated by the
substantial number of African Americans (almost one-third) now in the middle
n283 But the current metropolitan design poses substantial problems for residents
of all of them, even for the black middle class. First of all, African
Americans who want, and can afford, to live in integrated neighborhoods
continue to face considerable barriers of discrimination by real estate
brokers, mortgage lenders, home owners, and landlords.
n284 Moreover, the attitude expressed by these groups is not unique: Opinion
surveys suggest that a substantial majority of white Americans object to having
more than a token amount of blacks living in their neighborhood.
n285 It's thus not surprising that, although open housing laws have been on the
books for more than twenty-five years, most African Americans at every income
level live in segregated neighborhoods.
Of course, to some extent this racial isolation reflects a desire to live in a
n287 But the kinds of choices that members of the black middle class are now making
are a consequence of a limited number of options. On the one hand,
discrimination, exclusion, harassment, and white flight inhibit the possibility
of living with whites even though opinion surveys suggest that most blacks -
unlike most whites - would prefer to live in neighborhoods roughly equally
balanced in terms of race.
n288 On the other hand, since middle-class black Americans are becoming more
prosperous at the very time that the living standards of poor African Americans
are declining, the increasing class disparity has made it more difficult for
the black middle class to remain in poor neighborhoods.
n289 This simultaneous segregation of middle-class African Americans from whites
and other blacks has increased their distance from, and has heightened their
tension with, both groups. Their isolation from white neighborhoods has
generated many practical problems (such as diminished employment opportunities
and inferior city services), while their separation from other black
neighborhoods has produced, in Charles Banner-Haley's words,
"political confusion, a dilemma of identity, and alienation from the larger
n290 Throughout the twentieth century, he says,
"African Americans of the middle class [have] sought a way not only to be
included in American society but also to retain a distinct racial identity."
n291 If so, the current form of racially identified neighborhoods serves neither
purpose very well.
Those included in the four categories just canvassed - women, residents of
declining inner suburbs, the elderly, and African Americans - constitute a
majority of the people who live in America's metropolitan areas. When combined
with others who might be equally concerned with the current urban landscape -
environmentalists, Latinos, singles, residents of declining central cities,
people who detest commuting, gays and lesbians - they make up a vast majority
of the urban population. There is, in short, a potential for a considerable
coalition that might support a change in American land use policy.
n292 Why, then, does the status quo seem to reflect
"what people want"? The answer, I suggest, lies in the fear of otherness. American politics is
dominated by tensions between members of the four groups I've just discussed
(despite the fact that one person could belong to all four groups
n293 As I have argued above, these tensions both contribute to, and result from,
current land use policy. Moreover, they effectively prevent people from
recognizing, let alone remedying, the costs that the fragmentation of the
metropolitan area is imposing on all of them. An alteration of the status quo
thus requires confronting the fears and suspicions that underlie and reinforce
this fragmentation. It requires, in short, community building.
New urbanists recognize the importance of community building in the creation
and implementation of their neighborhood designs. They routinely organize
lengthy negotiation sessions - called charrettes - that bring together diverse
interests, such as developers, neighborhood residents, bankers, and city
n294 In part, these charrettes are designed to enable residents, developers, and
bankers to provide concrete feedback that the architects can use to modify
their development projects. But they serve a second purpose as well: They
educate people about the costs of current zoning and development policies and
the advantages of change. For example, neighborhood residents, developers, and
bankers who fear that race and class integration will lower property values can
"price is sociological": Just as fear of integration can generate lower property values, a recognition
of the desirability of new urbanist neigh-
[*1105] borhoods can generate higher property values.
n295 Indeed, new urbanists have found that the second phenomenon to be a
significant problem: The price for some of their developments has exceeded
expectations and, as a result, the planned
"low-cost" housing has become too expensive.
These site-specific meetings are important, but they are no substitute for a
more broadly-based discussion about the aversion to strangers that now
dominates American land use policy. Such a discussion requires putting on the
table city land use policy itself and, with it, the structure of local
government law. By enabling each city in the metropolitan area to engage its
own zoning and redevelopment policy, state law has created and perpetuates the
current metropolitan design. In Decentering Decentralization, I proposed that
these state-granted entitlements be eliminated and that, to replace them, a
regional legislature be created to establish new city entitlements.
n297 The regional legislature, I argued, should be structured to promote
decentralization of power rather than regional government: The goal is not to
replace city power with regional power but to establish a new legal basis for
local decisionmaking through a negotiation process structured to recognize the
inter-dependence of cities located in the same region. Moreover, the
legislature should be organized in a way that avoids the current obsession with
the boundary between the central city and its suburbs and fosters instead
alliances across local boundaries among, for example, women, middle-class
residents of inner suburbs and central city neighborhoods, elderly people, and
African Americans. My earlier article elaborates on this institutional design,
so I will not reiterate that discussion here. Suffice it to say that
negotiation over zoning and redevelopment policy is precisely the kind of task
I had in mind for a regional legislature.
An inter-local negotiation about zoning and redevelopment is most likely to be
successful, in my view, if failure to agree would leave cities without any
power over land use. In other words, unless an entitlement to do so results
from inter-city negotiation, no city would have the right to zone in a way that
"undesirables" or to foster development favoring its residents over outsiders. It doesn't
follow from establishing this starting point, however, that city residents
would be unable to preserve existing neighborhood character through
negotiation. On the contrary, given the widespread desire - in the black
community as well as the white - to live in neighborhoods that generate a
"we" feeling, it is unlikely that any negotiation would result in a uniform
distribution across the region of people classified by race, ethnicity, or
class. Like Richard Ford's conception of
"desegregated spaces," such a negotiation
is different from the classic model of integration in two important respects.
First, it does not impose a particular pattern of integration, but rather
removes the impediments to a more fluid movement of persons and groups within
and between political spaces. Second, this model does not accept the current
manifestation of political space and simply attempt to
"shuffle the demographic
[*1106] deck" to produce statistical integration, but rather challenges the mechanism by
which political spaces are created and maintained, and by extension, challenges
one of the mechanisms by which racial and cultural hierarchies are maintained.
The negotiation could thus open up alternatives to the stark dichotomies -
integration/segregation, togetherness/separateness, sameness/difference - that
now dominate both public policy and the popular imagination. The choice facing
the negotiators is not simply between preserving homogeneous neighborhoods and
eliminating them: There have always been neighborhoods that have a particular
character (Italian neighborhoods, Korean neighborhoods) and yet include many
different types of people.
n299 As I suggested earlier when discussing the elderly, integration and
segregation can coexist: Differences can be block-by-block. Indeed, an
expansion of opportunities for new urbanist neighborhoods has the potential of
combining aspects of integration and segregation in a multitude of ways in the
process of promoting the ideal of
Inter-local negotiation over commercial and business development is equally
unlikely to produce a uniform pattern throughout the region. There is too much
concern in many neighborhoods about the ill effects of uncontrolled economic
growth, just as there is concern in other neighborhoods about the lack of job
n300 Instead of establishing uniformity, chances are that a regional negotiation
about commercial development will focus - at long last - on the regional
allocation of costs and benefits of decisionmaking about the location of office
complexes and shopping malls. One central issue will be the proper allocation
of tax revenues generated by development wherever it is located; another will
be the comparative value of commercial development and the re-building of
neighborhoods (the expansion of
"the territorial quantity of successful areas," to return to Jane Jacobs' phrase).
Of course, the results of these negotiations are not only unpredictable but
are likely to differ from region to region. Yet the negotiations would be
valuable even if they failed to achieve substantial changes in metropolitan
design. There is little doubt that the retention of existing state-granted
entitlements without the establishment of a regional negotiation process will
produce more and more fragmentation and dispersal, spurred by continued
financial and legal support from the federal and state governments.
Negotiations, by contrast, open up a dialogue among the separate groups who
populate the same metropolitan region, and, if they begin to make progress,
could take a variety of directions. They could, for example, build on the fact
that the negotiators represent the entire range of American society in order to
mount political pressure to reverse the pro-fragmentation policies, described
above, now adopted by fed-
[*1107] eral and state government.
n302 They could also begin to focus on more than land use. In fact, if the
negotiations generate interest, other basic urban problems are bound to be put
on the agenda.
No one would suggest that a revision of local land use ordinances by itself
could promote community building across the boundaries that now divide
America's metropolitan areas. Changes are equally necessary in the other two
functions that cities now perform - the provision of public services
(particularly crime control and education) and the enactment of local
regulations and taxes. But an examination simply of land use changes
demonstrates that more needs revision than specific zoning ordinances and
statutes authorizing redevelopment. So does the very definition of a city under
American law. The notion of local autonomy - the traditional basis of state
statutes authorizing city power in America - has fostered metropolitan
fragmentation to such an extent that reformers have called for its replacement
by regional government.
n303 In response, I have suggested that city power can be retained without
grounding it on a defense of local autonomy. Cities, like the individuals who
live within them, need not define themselves by fortifying the barriers that
separate them from others, any more than they need to fuse with these others
into a larger sense of togetherness. Instead, they can develop the kind of
relationship with each other that has historically characterized city life: the
capacity to find an accommodation with those that inhabit the same geographic
area, no matter how dissimilar they may be.
Reinventing city power along the lines I propose - by, for example, allocating
local entitlements through an inter-local negotiation rather than through state
law - will not be easy to accomplish. But it is not impossible. It would take
no more governmental intervention and individual initiative to bring it about,
in my view, than has the creation of America's current urban landscape. The
endless suburban sprawl, the distance between jobs and those who need them, the
isolation of poor African American neighborhoods and privileged white suburbs,
the increasing disparity between rich and poor cities, the mounting suspicion
and distrust of unfamiliar strangers - none of this would have been possible
without the extraordinary amount of federal, state, and local intervention I
described in Part II. What kind of America has this astonishing feat of social
engineering produced? What kind of America will a continuation of an urban
policy that fosters separation and division create? At the moment, the New York
"The fastest-growing residential communities in the nation are private and
usually gated, governed by a thicket of covenants, codes and restrictions."
n305 Together with the consolidation of the political power of the outer suburbs
and the increasing isolation and impoverishment of
[*1108] poor African American neighborhoods, this development suggests that the flight
from the experience of otherness in America may be intensifying. If we continue
to build walls between different kinds of people - not just around gated
communities but through suburban zoning and neighborhood isolation - what will
be the impact on American politics? If these walls continue to separate not
just different people but the rich and poor, what will it be like for the rich
to leave their secure area and travel into other areas of the city? What will
it be like for those who reside in the areas in which the poor, and only the
I have sought not to romanticize the alternative urban policy that I have
presented in this article. The friction and conflict that come with sharing the
same geographic space with people unlike oneself are real. Yet the alternative
I have offered at least begins to confront the problems that the current urban
landscape creates for women, residents of inner suburbs, the elderly, and
African Americans - and many others as well. And it opens up the possibility of
a post-suburban future, one that allows building neighborhoods that are less
car-centered, less isolated, less expensive, and less destructive of the
environment. Even many people who consider these developments desirable,
however, tell me that they are unachievable - utopian. Why is it that the
status quo has so much power over our imagination? Only 11 million people live
in urban ghettos in America - less than 5% of the country's urbanized
n306 Why must our metropolitan areas be constructed by simultaneously isolating and
running away from those who live in these poor neighborhoods? After all, the
residents of these neighborhoods are more concerned about the problems
confronting their communities - and more afraid of crime - than those who are
fleeing. Of course it would cost a lot of money - and require considerable
effort - to engage America's urban problems. But running away costs a lot of
money and requires considerable effort too. Perhaps, if we do not set the
standards of community too high, this endless flight need not continue. And we
can at last begin to rebuild what we have for so long sought to eradicate: the
vitality, temptation, stimulation, variety, and challenge of city life.
n1. Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference 237-38 (1990).
n2. Id. at 237.
n3. For a general discussion of a similar concept of community, see generally
Community at Loose Ends (Miami Theory Collective ed., 1991); Jean-Luc Nancy,
The Inoperative Community, in The Inoperative Community 1-42 (Peter Connor ed.
& Peter Connor, Lisa Garbus, Michael Holland
& Simona Sawhney trans., 1991).
n4. Lyn H. Lofland, A World of Strangers: Order and Action in Urban Public Space 3
(1973); see also David A. Karp, Gregory P. Stone
& William C. Yoels, Being Urban: A Sociology of City Life 82-83 (2d ed. 1991)
[hereinafter Being Urban]; Vance Packard, A Nation of Strangers 104-16 (1972).
n5. Lofland, supra note 4, at 3 (emphasis omitted).
n6. Claude Fischer suggests that in cities of 25,000, one can know only a fraction
of one's fellow citizens. Claude S. Fischer, The Urban Experience 115 (2d ed.
1984); cf. Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities 30-41
(1961) (contrasting cities and suburbs in terms of the presence of strangers).
n7. Hadley Arkes, The Philosopher in the City: The Moral Dimensions of Urban
Politics 324 (1981).
n8. See Young, supra note 1, at 236-41.
n9. Richard Sennett, The Uses of Disorder: Personal Identity
& City Life 39 (1970); cf. id. at 36-40 (discussing otherness).
n10. See Mark Baldassare, Trouble in Paradise: The Suburban Transformation in
America 169-75 (1986); Being Urban, supra note 4, at 239-40.
n11. Young, supra note 1, at 238-40.
n12. This is Richard Sennett's latest formulation of the characteristic feel of
urban life. See Richard Sennett, Flesh and Stone: The Body and The City in
Western Civilization 26-27 (1994).
n13. See generally Sennett, supra note 9. Similar arguments pervade his later work
as well. See Richard Sennett, The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social
Life of Cities (1990) [hereinafter The Conscience of the Eye]; Richard Sennett,
The Fall of Public Man (1974) [hereinafter The Fall of Public Man]; Richard
Sennett, Families Against the City: Middle Class Homes of Industrial Chicago
(1970); Sennett, supra note 12.
n14. See Sennett, supra note 9, at 16-49. Sennett's book has no footnotes. But he
seems to be following here Erik H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis 128-35
(1968) and Harry Stack Sullivan, Late Adolescence, in The Interpersonal Theory
of Psychiatry 297-310 (Helen Swick Perry
& Mary Ladd Gawel eds., 1953); see also Maurice R. Stein, The Eclipse of
Community: An Interpretation of American Studies 251-74 (1960).
n15. Sennett, supra note 9, at 39.
n16. Id. at 36.
n17. Id. at 134.
n18. Cf. id. at 5-12.
n19. Id. at 117; cf. Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Passion: An Essay on Personality 88
(1984). For previous uses of the term
"ego strength," see, e.g., Heinz Hartmann: Comments on the Psychoanalytic Theory of the Ego
(1950), reprinted in Essays on Ego Psychology: Selected Problems in
Psychoanalytic Theory 139 (1964).
n20. Sennett, supra note 9, at 123-24; see also id. at 108 (arguing that
"men must ... grow to need the unknown, to feel incomplete without a certain
anarchy in their lives, to learn . . . to love the
"otherness' around them").
n21. See Richard M. Lerner, On the Nature of Human Plasticity (1984); Robert Jay
Lifton, The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation (1993);
Hubert J.M. Hermans, Harry J.G. Kempen
& Rens J.P. van Loon, The Dialogical Self: Beyond Individualism and Rationalism,
47 Am. Psychol. 23, 23 (1992); see also Sullivan, supra note 14, at 308-10;
Jerry Frug, Decentering Decentralization,
60 U. Chi. L. Rev. 253, 304-12 (1993).
n22. Sennett, supra note 9, at 125-26; cf. Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Knowledge
& Politics 284-89 (1975).
n23. Roland Barthes, Semiology and the Urban, in 153 L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui
11 (Dec. 1970-Jan. 1971), reprinted in The City and The Sign: An Introduction
to Urban Semiotics 87, 96 (M. Gottdiener
& Alexandros Ph. Lagopoulos eds., 1986). Theodore Dreiser also describes the
allure of the city:
The city has its cunning wiles, no less than the infinitely smaller and more
human tempter. There are large forces which allure with all the soulfulness of
expression possible in the most cultured human. The gleam of a thousand lights
is often as effective as the persuasive light in a wooing and fascinating eye.
Jane Augustine, From Topos to Anthropoid: The City as Character in
Twentieth-Century Texts, in City Images: Perspectives from Literature,
Philosophy, and Film 75 (Mary Ann Caws ed., 1991) (quoting Theodore Dreiser,
Sister Carrie (1900)); cf. Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
16-18 (1930) (raising, then abandoning, the city as the model for the mind).
n24. Young, supra note 1, at 241.
n25. Id. at 240.
n26. See generally Morton
& Lucia White, The Intellectual versus The City: From Thomas Jefferson to Frank
Lloyd Wright (1962) (reviewing the long history of many intellectuals' disdain
for cities). The Whites' emphasis on the anti-urbanism of these individuals has
been criticized as overlooking their contrary views. See, e.g., Gerd Hurm,
Fragmented Urban Images: The American City in Modern Fiction from Stephen Crane
to Thomas Pynchon 74-79 (1991). For a more nuanced version of the role
anti-urbanism plays for some of the same figures (and some different ones), see
Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in
n27. White, supra note 26, at 222.
n28. According to the Whites, the critique can be categorized in another way as
well: The city has been portrayed as both too civilized and too uncivilized.
Id. at 225. The difficulty with the Whites' categorization is that it's hard to
know, for example, whether the classic sociological criticism of cities - that
they produce alienation and anomie - is properly understood as viewing the city
as too civilized or too uncivilized.
n29. Marx, supra note 26, at 5-11. Raymond Williams dates this idea from Roman
times. Raymond Williams, The Country and The City 46 (1973). See also Richard
Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R. (1955); James L. Machor,
Pastoral Cities: Urban Ideals and the Symbolic Landscape of America 3-7 (1987);
Perry Miller, The Shaping of the American Character, in Nature's Nation 1
(1967); Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land: The American West As Symbol And Myth
n30. On the importance of the yard, see Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The
Suburbanization of the United States 54-61 (1985); see also Peter Hall, Cities
of Tomorrow 86-135, 285 (1988) (describing Ebenezer Howard's and Frank Lloyd
Wright's influential efforts to link cities with nature).
n31. See generally Joel Garreau, Edge City: Life on the New Frontier (1991).
n32. The term is Leo Marx's. See Marx, supra note 26, at 121.
n33. For a history of this effort, see Machor, supra note 29, at 121-74.
n34. Jacobs, supra note 6.
n35. Richard Wright, How
"Bigger" was Born, in Twentieth Century Interpretations of
"Native Son" 21, 38-39 (Houston A. Baker, Jr. ed., 1972), quoted in Charles Scruggs, Sweet
Home: Invisible Cities in the Afro-American Novel 70 (1993).
n36. Elizabeth Wilson, The Sphinx in the City: Urban Life, the Control of Disorder,
and Women 158 (1991).
n38. This focus was by no means original with them. Raymond Williams, for example,
cites for this proposition people ranging from William Wordsworth to Friedrich
Engels. Williams, supra note 29, at 142-64, 215-32.
n39. The key works include Robert Ezra Park, The City: Suggestions for the
Investigation of Human Behavior in the Urban Environment, in Human Communities:
The City and Human Ecology 13-51 (Everett Cherrington Hughes, Charles S.
Johnson, Jitsuichi Masuoka, Robert Redfield
& Louis Wirth eds., 1952); Georg Simmel, The Metropolis and Mental Life, in The
Sociology of Georg Simmel 409 (Kurt H. Wolff ed.
& trans., 1950); Louis Wirth, Urbanism as a Way of Life, in On Cities and Social
Life 60-83 (Albert J. Reiss, Jr. ed., 1964). These essays, among others, have
been collected in Classic Essays on the Culture of Cities (Richard Sennett ed.,
1969) [hereinafter Classic Essays]. For commentary on these classic works, see,
for example, Being Urban, supra note 4, at 21-44; Peter Saunders, Social Theory
and the Urban Question 48-109 (1981).
n40. Being Urban, supra note 4, at 3-20 (describing their indebtedness to this
classic sociological understanding, derived from Ferdinand Tonnies).
n41. Simmel, supra note 39, at 409-24.
n42. For example, Park said:
In a great city, where the population is unstable, where parents and children
are employed out of the house and often in distant parts of the city, where
thousands of people live side by side for years without so much as a bowing
acquaintance, the intimate relationships of the primary [face-to-face] group
are weakened and the moral order which rested upon them is gradually dissolved.
It is probably the breaking down of local attachments and the weakening of the
restraints and inhibitions of the primary group, under the influence of the
urban environment, which are largely responsible for the increase of vice and
crime in great cities.
Park, supra note 39, at 33-34; see id. at 47 (exploring the effects of mobility
and chance encounters on temperament). In a similar vein, Wirth described how
the city's size and density generate the
"superficiality, the anonymity, .... [and] the state of anomie," Wirth, supra note 39, at 71-72, that characterizes city life:
The close living together and working together of individuals who have no
sentimental and emotional ties foster a spirit of competition, aggrandizement,
and mutual exploitation. Formal controls are instituted to counteract
irresponsibility and potential disorder. Without rigid adherence to predictable
routines a large compact society would scarcely be able to maintain itself. The
clock and the traffic signal are symbolic of the basis of our social order in
the urban world. Frequent close physical contact, coupled with great social
distance, accentuates the reserve of unattached individuals toward one another
and, unless compensated by other opportunities for response, gives rise to
Id. at 74-75.
n43. See, e.g., Fischer, supra note 6, at 173-99; Saunders, supra note 39, at
80-109; Richard Dewey, The Rural-Urban Continuum: Real but Relatively
Unimportant, 66 Am. J. Soc. 60, 60-71 (1960); Herbert Gans, The Balanced
Community: Homogeneity or Heterogeneity in Residential Areas?, in Housing Urban
America 135 (Jon Pynoos, Robert Schafer
& Chester W. Hartman eds., 1973) [hereinafter The Balanced Community]; Herbert
J. Gans, Urbanism and Suburbanism as a Way of Life: A Re-evaluation of
Definitions, in American Urban History: An Interpretive Reader With
Commentaries 507, 508 (Alexander B. Callow, Jr. ed., 2d ed. 1973).
n44. See Arkes, supra note 7, at 324-28.
n45. Simmel, supra note 39, at 410.
n46. Park, supra note 39, at 50-51. The image of the Jew figured particularly
strongly in Park's work. See, e.g., id. at 28 ("The intellectual characteristics of the Jew and his generally recognized
interest in abstract and radical ideas are unquestionably connected with the
fact that the Jews are, before all else, a city folk."); Robert Park, Human Migration and The Marginal Man, in Classic Essays, supra
note 39, at 131, 141 ("The emancipated Jew was, and is, historically and typically the marginal man,
the first cosmopolite and citizen of the world. He is, par excellence, the
n47. Wirth, supra note 39, at 69.
n48. Id. at 79.
n49. Id. at 66.
n50. Fischer, supra note 6, at 35-39.
The Balanced Community, supra note 43, at 137.
n52. Id. at 140; see also Herbert J. Gans, The Levittowners: Ways of Life and
Politics in a New Suburban Community 165-81 (1967).
n53. Being Urban, supra note 4, at 107-31; see generally Leslie Whitener Smith
& Karen Kay Peterson, Rural-Urban Differences in Tolerance: Stouffer's
"Culture Shock" Hypothesis Revisited, 45 Rural Soc. 256 (1980); Thomas C. Wilson, Urbanism and
Tolerance: A Test of Some Hypotheses Drawn from Wirth and Stouffer, 50 Am. Soc.
Rev. 117 (1985).
n54. Wilson, supra note 53, at 119.
n55. For a nuanced account of the complex styles of behavior in heterogeneous
cities, see generally Lofland, supra note 4. For an account of the role of
neighborhoods in heterogeneous cities, see Gerald D. Suttles, The Social
Construction of Communities (1972); Gerald D. Suttles, The Social Order of the
Slum: Ethnicity and Territory in the Inner City 31-38 (1968).
n56. Erving Goffman, Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of
Gatherings 84 (1963).
n57. On the notion of symbolic boundaries, see Jeffrey C. Alexander, Citizen and
Enemy as Symbolic Classification: On the Polarizing Discourse of Civil Society,
in Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality
289 (Michele Lamont
& Marcel Fournier eds., 1992).
n58. M.P. Baumgartner, The Moral Order of a Suburb (1988). The suburb on which
Baumgartner focused was a good deal more diverse than many in America, id. at
14-18, yet even it produced a pervasive fear of strangers. Id. at 101-26.
n59. Id. at 104.
n60. Id. at 126.
n61. Id. at 133; see also Constance Perin, Everything in Its Place: Social Order
And Land Use In America 81-128 (1977). In the 1950s, a classic analysis
suggested that there was a
"suburban culture." See, e.g., David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American
Character (1950); William H. Whyte, Jr., The Organization Man 267-404 (1957).
This analysis has spurred a large literature in response. See Being Urban,
supra note 4, at 230; Bennett M. Berger, Working Class Suburb: A Study of Auto
Workers in Suburbia (1960); Gans, supra note 52, at 153-84 (arguing that the
nature of a suburb's culture depends more on its class, race, and ethnic
characteristics than on its homogeneity).
n62. Simmel, supra note 39, at 416-18.
n63. Wirth, supra note 39, at 69; see also
The Balanced Community, supra note 43, at 135-36.
n64. Park, supra note 39, at 47; see also id. at 47-49.
n65. Id. at 48.
n66. Id. at 14.
n67. Fischer, supra note 6, at 35-39, 113-71.
n68. See Being Urban, supra note 4, at 100-03.
n69. Jacobs, supra note 6, at 59.
n70. See Williams, supra note 29, at 143-47, 290.
n71. See, e.g., Michael N. Danielson, The Politics of Exclusion 18-19 (1976);
Richard Thompson Ford, The Boundaries of Race: Political Geography in Legal
107 Harv. L. Rev. 1843 (1994).
n72. For an analysis of recent population trends in what are frequently called
black underclass ghettos, see Paul A. Jargowsky, Ghetto Poverty among Blacks in
the 1980s, 13 J. of Pol'y Analysis
& Mgmt. 288 (1994). According to the standard definition - which I follow here -
an underclass ghetto is an area in which the overall poverty rate in a census
tract is greater than 40%. Id. at 289; see also Paul A. Jargowsky
& Mary Jo Bane, Ghetto Poverty in the United States, 1970-1980, in The Urban
Underclass 235, 235-39 (Christopher Jencks
& Paul E. Peterson eds., 1991). I have chosen not to use the term
"underclass" in this article because, as Carl Nightingale points out, the term itself
conveys a fearsome racial image and, not surprisingly, is not used by poor
African Americans to describe themselves. Carl Husemoller Nightingale, On the
Edge: A History of Poor Black Children and Their American Dreams 1, 5 (1993).
For the controversy over the definition of the term, see, e.g., Douglas G.
Glasgow, The Black Underclass: Poverty, Unemployment, and Entrapment of Ghetto
Youth 3-15 (1981); William Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner
City, The Underclass, and Public Policy 8 (1987); Roy L. Brooks, The Ecology of
Inequality: The Rise of the African American Underclass,
8 Harv. BlackLetter J. 1, 3-6 (1991). I use the term ghetto, however, because it
"implies that castelike discrimination isolates people from other geographical
settings as well as from mainstream economic roles." John R. Logan
& Harvey L. Molotch, Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place 124 (1987).
On the role of violence in the creation of the black ghetto, see, e.g., Arnold
R. Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940-1960, at
40-67 (1983); Douglas S. Massey
& Nancy A. Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the
Underclass 30 (1993). On current violence, e.g., the murders of Yusuf Hawkins
in Bensonhurst and Michael Griffith in Howard Beach in the 1980s, see Frank
Trippett, Death on a Mean Street: A Murder in a White Section of Brooklyn
Ignites Racial Discord, Time, Sept. 11, 1989, at 28; Terry E. Johnson, Mean
Streets in Howard Beach, Newsweek, Jan. 5, 1987, at 24.
& Denton, supra note 72, at 17-60.
n74. This is Massey and Denton's general date for the establishment of the black
ghettos, id. at 42, but in other cities it came later. John Bauman notes that
Philadelphia had all black streets, but not a black neighborhood, even in 1950.
John F. Bauman, Public Housing, Race and Renewal: Urban Planning in
Philadelphia, 1920-1974, at 86 (1987).
& Denton, supra note 72, at 46.
n76. See text accompanying notes 95-125 infra.
& Denton, supra note 72, at 73-82; see also Richard D. Alba
& John R. Logan, Minority Proximity to Whites in Suburbs: An Individual-Level
Analysis of Segregation, 98 Am. J. Soc. 1388, 1421-25 (1993).
n78. See generally Elijah Anderson, Street Wise: Race, Class and Change in an Urban
Community (1990); Daniel R. Fusfeld
& Timothy Bates, The Political Economy of the Urban Ghetto (1984); Glasgow,
supra note 72; Charles Murray, Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980
& Bane, supra note 72.
& Denton, supra note 72, at 168.
n80. Id. at 115-85.
n81. Wilson, supra note 72, at 58.
& Denton, supra note 72; Wilson, supra note 72; Murray, supra note 78; Glasgow,
supra note 72; Edward C. Banfield, The Unheavenly City: The Nature and Future
of Our Urban Crises 69 (1970).
n83. See, e.g., Anderson, supra note 78, at 207-36; Elliot Liebow, Tally's Corner:
A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men (1967); Nightingale, supra note 72; Carol B.
Stack, All Our Kin: Strategies for Survival in a Black Community 27-31 (1974);
"The Black Community," Its Lawbreakers, and a Politics of Identification,
65 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1769 (1992) [hereinafter The Black Community]; Regina Austin,
"A Nation of Thieves": Securing Black People's Right to Shop and to Sell in White America,
1994 Utah L. Rev. 147, 163-77.
& Denton, supra note 72, at 148-53.
n85. Id. at 91; see also Logan
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 125; notes 158-209 infra and accompanying text.
n86. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Highlights from 20
Years of Surveying Crime Victims: The National Crime Victimization Survey,
1973-92, at 23 (1993) [hereinafter 20 Year Survey].
n87. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Murder in Large
Urban Counties, 1988, at 3-4 (1993) [hereinafter Murder Report]. Roughly the
same percentage of murder victims were also acquainted with or related to the
n88. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Crime Victimization
in City, Suburban and Rural Areas 5 (1992) [hereinafter City-Suburb Report]; 20
Year Survey, supra note 86, at 19, 22.
n89. City-Suburb Report, supra note 88, at 14.
n90. 20 Year Survey, supra note 86, at 23.
n91. Id. at 7-8. The 1992 rates for households victimized by crime were the lowest
since the victimization statistics were introduced in 1975 (the decrease was
much greater for white than black households). Id. at 8.
n92. City-Suburb Report, supra note 88, at 2.
n93. 20 Year Survey, supra note 86, at 20. In addition, many others have annual
victimization rates per thousand persons that are much higher than adult white
males or females: teenage black females (94), teenage white males (90), young
adult black males and females (80, 57). Id.
n94. According to 1990 census figures, more than half of the 11.2 million people
who reside in
"underclass ghettos" are non-Hispanic blacks; nearly a third (29.7%) were Hispanics. Only 11.8%
were non-Hispanic whites. Jargowsky, supra note 72, at 293. To state the matter
in another way, 15% of Hispanics (and 30% of poor Hispanics) live in these
ghetto neighborhoods. Id. at 294.
n95. In 1989, the federal government spent more than $ 8 billion on urban highways.
Stephen C. Lockwood, Harry B. Caldwell
& Germaine G. Williams, Highway Finance: Revenue and Expenditures, in
Transportation Research Board, Transportation Research Record No. 1359 11
(1992). The overall 1989 capital outlay for highways was $ 33.3 billion, up
from $ 6.3 billion in 1960. The federal government provided 43% of this amount.
Id. at 15. Total expenditures for urban highways, by all levels of government,
include $ 5.7 billion on urban interstate highways (79% federal), $ 5.0 billion
for primary urban (54% federal), and $ 3.6 billion on urban (more minor, not
primary) roads (33% federal). Id. at 17. For a history of federal involvement
in highway construction, which began well before the Federal-Aid Highway Act of
1956, see George M. Smerk, Urban Transportation: The Federal Role 119-30
(1965); Jon C. Teaford, The Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in
America, 1940-1985, at 93-97 (1990); see also Peter Hall, Cities of Tomorrow
n96. Jackson, supra note 30, at 196-218; Michael H. Schill
& Susan M. Wachter, The Spatial Bias of Federal Housing Law and Policy:
Concentrated Poverty in Urban America,
143 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1285, 1308-13 (1995).
n97. Brian J. O'Connell, The Federal Role in the Suburban Boom, in Suburbia
Re-examined 183, 186 (Barbara M. Kelly ed., 1989).
n98. According to the Internal Revenue Service, tax deductions for home mortgage
interest totalled more than $ 200 billion and for real estate taxes totalled
more than $ 54 billion in 1991 alone. Internal Revenue Service, Statistics of
Income: Individual Income Tax Returns (Publication 1304) (1991); see also
Jackson, supra note 30, at 293-94; O'Connell, supra note 97, at 187.
n99. See text accompanying notes 158-209 infra (describing federal policy
concerning zoning and redevelopment); see also Teaford, supra note 95, at
99-105 (describing federal support for airport construction); O'Connell, supra
note 97, at 188-89 (describing federal support for sewer construction).
n100. See Ann Roell Markusen
& Robin Bloch, Defensive Cities: Military Spending, High Technology, and Human
Settlements, in High Technology, Space, and Society 106, 115-18 (Manuel
Castells ed., 1985); see also Ann R. Markusen, Defense Spending: A Successful
Industrial Policy?, 10 Int'l J. Urb.
& Reg. Res. 105, 117-18 (1986); Arnold R. Silverman, Defense and
Deconcentration: Defense Industrialization during World War II and the
Development of Contemporary American Suburbs, in Suburbia Re-examined, supra
note 98, at 157, 157-63.
n101. Hirsch, supra note 72, at 9; see also Bauman, supra note 74, at 79-90.
n102. United States Housing Act of 1937,
42 U.S.C. 1401 (1970), Housing Act of 1949, Pub. L. No. 81-171, 63 Stat. 413 (1949); Housing
Act of 1954, Pub. L. No. 560, 68 Stat. 622 (1954); see also text accompanying
notes 103-109 infra (discussing urban renewal).
n103. This story is chillingly told by Hirsch (for Chicago), in Hirsch, supra note
72, at 100-34, and equally compellingly by Bauman (for Philadelphia), in
Bauman, supra note 74, at 186-90; see also Martin Anderson, The Federal
Bulldozer: A Critical Analysis of Urban Renewal, 1949-1962 (1964); Mark I.
Gelfand, A Nation of Cities: The Federal Government and Urban America,
1933-1965, at 198-222 (1975); Dennis R. Judd
& Todd Swanstrom, City Politics: Private Power and Public Policy 127-50 (1994);
John H. Mollenkopf, The Contested City (1983); Teaford, supra note 95; Schill
& Wachter, supra note 96, at 1291-1308.
n104. Through 1967, 330,000 families were displaced by highway construction
(compared to 400,000 by urban renewal). Bernard J. Frieden
& Lynne B. Sagalyn, Downtown, Inc.: How America Rebuilds Cities 29 (1989); see
also Robert A. Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
850-78 (1974); Gelfand, supra note 103, at 228-29; Teaford, supra note 95, at
97. On the relationship between highway location and race, see Mike Royko,
Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago 132-33 (1971) ("Containing the Negro was unspoken city policy. Even expressways were planned as
man-made barriers, the unofficial borders. The Dan Ryan, for instance, was
shifted several blocks during the planning stage to make one of the ghetto
n105. Fair Housing Act of 1968,
42 U.S.C. 3601-3619 (1988); Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966,
Pub. L. No. 89-754, 80 Stat. 1255 (repealed 1975).
n106. See The National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974,
42 U.S.C. 300k (1988).
n107. On the ineffectiveness of the Fair Housing Act, see Massey
& Denton supra note 72, at 195-216. For an analysis of the Model Cities Act, see
generally Charles M. Haar, Between the Idea and the Reality: A Study in the
Origin, Fate and Legacy of the Model Cities Program (1975).
n108. For a discussion of the major federal programs that succeeded urban renewal -
Community Development Block Grants and Urban Development Action Grants - see
text accompanying notes 181-184 infra.
n109. See text accompanying notes 181-184 infra.
n110. See Ford, supra note 71, at 1860-78.
n111. Richard Briffault, Our Localism: Part I - The Structure of Local Government
90 Colum. L. Rev. 1, 1 (1990). In addition, state law has created the thousands of independent public
authorities and special districts that have helped many small, homogeneous,
suburban communities located in America's metropolitan areas to survive.
Richard Briffault, Our Localism: Part II - Localism and Legal Theory,
90 Colum. L. Rev. 346, 375-78 (1990) [hereinafter Briffault, Our Localism: Part II]; see also Gary Miller, Cities
by Contract: The Politics of Municipal Incorporation (1981).
Martinez v. Bynum, 461 U.S. 321, 333 (1983) (preferring residents to outsiders);
Town of Lockport v. Citizens for Community Action, 430 U.S. 259, 271-72 (1977) (annexation);
Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 271 (1977) (exclusionary zoning);
San Antonio Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 55 (1973) (school financing).
n113. On state urban redevelopment programs, see Charles M. Haar
& Michael Allan Wolf, Land-Use Planning: A Casebook on the Use, Misuse, and
Re-use of Urban Land 964-71 (4th ed. 1989). This state support has continued
even after the reduction, or elimination, of federal programs. Id. at 964.
n114. See Jacobs, supra note 6, at 241-42; Anderson, supra note 103, at 219-30;
Herbert J. Gans, The Urban Villagers: Group and Class in the Life of
Italian-Americans 323-77 (1982).
n115. See Bauman, supra note 74, at 42 (housing and slum clearance); Hirsch, supra
note 72, at 100 (urban renewal); Teaford, supra note 95, at 97 (highways).
n116. See, e.g., Cal. Rev.
& Tax Code 17041.5 (West 1994) (prohibiting cities from levying income taxes on
residents or non-residents);
Ash v. Attorney Gen., 636 N.E.2d 229, 232 (Mass. 1994) (upholding Massachusetts' ban on municipal enactment of rent control);
Nance v. Mayflower Tavern, Inc., 150 P.2d 773 (Utah 1944) (holding that a city cannot enact civil rights legislation).
n117. See, e.g.,
Murphy v. Kansas City, Missouri, 347 F. Supp. 837 (W.D. Mo. 1972) (annexation);
Board of Supervisors of Sacramento County v. Local Agency Formation Comm'n, 838 P.2d 1198 (Cal. 1992) (municipal incorporation);
Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mt. Laurel, 336 A.2d 713, 724-25 (N.J. 1975) (exclusionary zoning);
Edgewood Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Kirby, 777 S.W.2d 391 (Tex. 1989) (school financing); Paul K. Stockman, Anti-Snob Zoning in Massachusetts:
Assessing One Attempt at Opening the Suburbs to Affordable Housing,
78 Va. L. Rev. 535, 547-52 (1992) (exclusionary zoning).
n118. New York City has the power to do all three. E.g., N.Y. Gen. City Law 25-m
& Supp. 1996) (taxing commuters); N.Y. Unconsol. 26-401-26-415 (McKinney 1987
& Supp. 1996) (rent control); N.Y.C.C. ch. 35, 810 (McKinney 1992) (racial
Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161, 178-79 (1907) (holding that states have absolute discretion in limiting, or even abolishing,
the autonomy of their municipalities).
n120. See Briffault, Our Localism: Part II, supra note 111, at 444-45; Ford, supra
note 71, at 1863; Frug, supra note 21, at 263.
n121. Like the federal government, the states have also contributed financial
support to suburbanization. See note 111 supra and accompanying text.
n122. See, e.g.,
Southern Burlington County NAACP v. Township of Mt. Laurel, 456 A.2d 390, 415 (N.J. 1983).
n123. See Pierre Clavel, The Progressive City: Planning and Participation,
1969-1984, at 1-18 (1986).
n124. For an analysis of the role of Democratic party politics in the formation of
twentieth century urban policy, see Mollenkopf, supra note 103, at 47-96.
n125. See generally Thomas Byrne Edsall
& Mary D. Edsall, Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on
American Politics (1991).
n127. Id. at 215-55.
n128. Ford, supra note 71, at 1849-57.
n129. See Massey
& Denton, supra note 72, at 160-62.
n130. For an analysis of Greenwich Village in these terms, see Sennett, supra note
12, at 355-70.
n131. Park, supra note 39, at 47.
n132. Report of the Nat'l Advisory Comm'n on Civil Disorders 1-2 (1968); see also
Andrew Hacker, Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal 40-44
(1992); Robert B. Reich, The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for
21st-Century Capitalism 268-81 (1991).
n133. See, e.g., City of Houston Ordinance 93-177 (1993);
Citizens Against Gated Enclaves v. Whitley Heights Civic Ass., 28 Cal. Rptr. 2d 451 (Cal. Ct. App. 1994) (holding that a homeowners' association did not have the authority to erect
gates on public streets to restrict access to the neighborhood); Sue Ellen
Christian, Tiny Rosemont Puts Its Guard Up: Gated Enclaves Stir Controversy,
Chi. Trib., June 23, 1995, at 1 (describing a gated community in a Chicago
suburb); Timothy Egan, Many Seek Security in Private Communities, N.Y. Times,
Sept. 3, 1995, at A1 (describing gated communities near Seattle); Bennett Roth,
Barricading Streets Can't Cut Off the Controversy, Hous. Chron., Jan. 31, 1993,
at 1 (describing the erection of walls in various American cities); see
generally Peter Marcuse, Not Chaos but Walls: Postmodernism and the Partitioned
City, in Postmodern Cities and Spaces 243-53 (Sophie Watson
& Katherine Gibson eds., 1995).
n134. E.g., Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American
Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath 197 (1990).
n135. See text accompanying note 45 supra.
n136. See Baumgartner, supra note 58; Sennett, supra note 9.
n137. See Massey
& Denton, supra note 72, at 160-62.
n138. On the unity and division within the black community, see, for example,
Anderson, supra note 78; Nightingale, supra note 72;
The Black Community, supra note 83, at 1769-76.
n139. Lofland, supra note 4, at 158-75; Sennett, supra note 9, at 53-57.
n140. The Fall of Public Man, supra note 13, at 340.
n141. Sennett, supra note 9, at 141-57.
n142. See generally Duncan Kennedy, Sexy Dressing Etc. 83-125 (1993); Robert Hale,
Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State, 38 Pol. Sci. Q.
n143. None of Sennett's more recent books have pursued the proposals advanced in The
Uses of Disorder. In fact, in his The Conscience of the Eye, Sennett lists
three books that constitute his trilogy about urban culture - omitting mention
of The Uses of Disorder altogether. The Conscience of the Eye, supra note 13,
n144. See text accompanying note 140 supra.
n145. This argument is an extension of Jane Jacobs' critique of city planning:
"Togetherness" is a fittingly nauseating name for an old ideal in planning theory. This ideal
is that if anything is shared among people, much should be shared.
"Togetherness," apparently a spiritual resource of the new suburbs, works destructively in
cities. The requirement that much shall be shared drives city people apart.
Jacobs, supra note 6, at 62.
n146. See id. at 70.
n147. See notes 235-242 infra and accompanying text.
n148. Young, supra note 1, at 250-56; see also David Rusk, Cities Without Suburbs 34
(2d ed. 1993) (arguing that
"absent federal or state mandates, a metro area in which local government is
highly fragmented is usually incapable of adopting broad, integrating strategies"); Briffault, Our Localism: Part II, supra note 111, at 442 (noting that
"suburban policies frequently seek to deny the suburb's membership in the
metropolitan community or its responsibility for the economic and social ills
of the region, especially those of the central city").
n149. Young, supra note 1, at 252.
n152. Id. at 252-53.
n153. Frug, supra note 21, at 285-92.
n154. Id. at 273-303.
n155. Id. at 304-38.
n156. See Gerald E. Frug, The City as a Legal Concept,
93 Harv. L. Rev. 1057 (1980).
n157. Frug, supra note 21, at 263-72.
n158. See Edward M. Bassett, Zoning: The Laws, Administration, and Court Decisions
During the First Twenty Years 13-19 (1936); notes 110-121 supra and
accompanying text. Zoning power could have been lodged elsewhere: Boston was
once zoned by the state, see Bassett, supra, at 14, and many consider state
zoning authority worth exploring again. See, e.g., Daniel R. Mandelker
& Roger A. Cunningham, Planning and Control of Land Development: Cases and
Materials 747-81 (2d ed. 1985); Frank J. Popper, The Politics of Land-Use
Reform 56-57 (1981). Regional decisionmaking was - and is - another
possibility. See Mandelker
& Cunningham, supra, at 739-45.
n159. For the history and text of the statute, see Mandelker
& Cunningham, supra note 158, at 143-45. On the adoption and influence of New
York law, see Hall, supra note 30, at 57-61; Seymour I. Toll, Zoned American
& Wolf, supra note 113, at 163 (discussing the current adoption); Newman F.
Baker, Zoning Legislation,
11 Cornell L.Q. 164, 170 (1926) (discussing the early adoption). Some jurisdictions have modified the original
federal zoning model. Mandelker
& Cunningham, supra note 158, at 146. On Houston, see note 208 infra and
n161. For historical accounts of urban development, see Introduction to Planning
History in the United States (Donald A. Krueckebert ed., 1983); Stanley K.
Schultz, Constructing Urban Culture: American Cities and City Planning,
1800-1920, at 35-57, 153-205 (1989). On redevelopment under the Housing Acts of
1949 and 1954, see Anderson, supra note 103, at 15-38; Scott Greer, Urban
Renewal and American Cities: The Dilemma of Democratic Intervention (1965);
Hall, supra note 30, at 227-34.
416 U.S. 1 (1974).
Id. at 9.
Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).
Id. at 391.
Id. at 394.
n168. Hall, supra note 30, at 58-59; Toll, supra note 159, at 143-87.
Ambler Realty Co. v. Village of Euclid, 297 F. 307, 316 (N.D. Ohio 1924), rev'd
272 U.S. 365 (1926). Judge Westenhaver also took note of the reason for such a classification:
"The blighting of property values and the congesting of population, whenever the
colored or certain foreign races invade a residential section, are so well
known as to be within the judicial cognizance."
Id. at 313.
n170. See, e.g., Gerald E. Frug, Local Government Law 380 n.1 (2d ed. 1994) (listing
numerous sources treating exclusionary zoning); William A. Fischel, The
Economics of Zoning Laws: A Property Rights Approach to American Land Use
Controls 316-40 (1985); John Ross, Land Use Control in Metropolitan Areas: The
Failure of Zoning and a Proposed Alternative,
45 S. Cal. L. Rev. 335, 349 (1972).
n171. Popper, supra note 158, at 54.
Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 269 (1977). For state policy concerning exclusionary zoning, see Frug, supra note 21, at
280 n.140, 285 n.161.
n173. Perin, supra note 61; see also Constance Perin, Belonging in America: Reading
Between the Lines 63-105 (1988).
n174. See Perin, supra note 61, at 83-128.
n175. Id. at 98-99.
n176. Cf. Ford, supra note 71, at 1847-60.
n177. This is the reason Judge Westenhaver declared it unconstitutional in
Ambler Realty Co. v. Village of Euclid, 297 F. 307, 312 (N.D. Ohio 1924), rev'd,
272 U.S. 365 (1926); see also The Report of the President's Commission on Housing 200 (1982); Ross,
supra note 170, at 349-52.
n178. See Fischel, supra note 170, at 21-38; Perin, supra note 61, at 129-62. This
is why casebooks on the topic have chapters on sic utere tuo ut alienum non
ldas, see, e.g, Haar
& Wolf, supra note 113, at 89-151, and nuisance, see Mandelker
& Cunningham, supra note 158, at 33-49.
n179. See Fischel, supra note 170, at 212; Logan
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 154-59; Ross, supra note 170, at 339.
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 154-59; Paul E. Peterson, City Limits 25 (1981).
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 26; see generally Anderson, supra note 103; Greer,
supra note 161. For a description of more recent programs, see Benjamin B.
Quinones, Redevelopment Redefined: Revitalizing the Central City With Resident
27 U. Mich. J.L. Ref. 689, 700-03 (1994).
n182. Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, tit. I, 101,
42 U.S.C. 5301-5320 (1988) (Community Development Program Block Grants); Housing and
Community Development Act of 1977, tit. I, 110(b),
42 U.S.C. 5318 (Urban Development Action Grants). For a description of these programs, see
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 170-74; Quinones, supra note 181, at 703-07; Lynne
B. Sagalyn, Explaining the Improbable: Local Redevelopment in the Wake of
Federal Cutbacks, 56 J. Am. Plan. Ass'n 429, 431 (Autumn 1990).
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 265, 288-89; see also Roger Friedland, Power and
Crisis in the City: Corporations, Unions and Urban policy 62-68 (1982).
n184. This is Roger Friedland's figure, current in 1971. Moreover, Friedland adds,
"90 per cent of the low-income housing stock destroyed by urban renewal was not
replaced." Friedland, supra note 183, at 85. Friedland's work, like that of Martin
Anderson, supra note 103, are primary sources for the statistics for urban
renewal, but their figures merit further investigation and updating.
348 U.S. 26, 32-33 (1954).
Id. at 34-35.
Id. at 38.
n188. The classic works on the destruction of vital urban neighborhoods are Gans,
supra note 114; Jacobs, supra note 6. For an analysis of what replaced the
destroyed neighborhoods, see Friedland, supra note 183, at 78-104; Lawrence M.
Friedman, Government and Slum Housing: A Century of Frustration 159 (1968);
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 52. For a current look at what replaced Boston's
West End - the neighborhood Herbert Gans studied in his Urban Villagers, supra
note 114, and destroyed by urban renewal - see Robert Campbell, Charles River
Park at 35, Boston Globe, May 26, 1995, at 81 ("Charles River Park is a shut-the-gates, the-muggers-are coming world").
n189. Martin Anderson's estimate of the number of people displaced by urban renewal
- and that is what it is - has been very influential to later writers.
Anderson, supra note 103, at 53-54, 67; see also Frieden
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 29; Logan
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 169.
n190. Friedman, supra note 188, at 151.
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 35-37, 288-89; Friedland, supra note 183, at
n192. The explanation for the mismatch that urban redevelopment helped create
between the available jobs in central cities and the people who need work is
the subject of considerable controversy. See, e.g, Frieden
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 288-96; Wilson, supra note 72, at 102.
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 41; see also Keith Aoki, Race, Space, and Place:
The Relation Between Architectural Modernism, Post-Modernism, Urban Planning,
20 Fordham Urb. L.J. 699, 826 (1993) (noting
"spatial segregation of uses contributed to and reflected strict economic,
social, class, and racial segregations").
n194. Larry Bennett, Fragments of Cities: The New American Downtowns and
Neighborhoods 35 (1990); for a general discussion of this phenomenon, see id.
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 171-72. Frieden and Sagalyn estimate that the
support provided by cities amounted, on average, to one-third of the costs. Id.
at 172. It is not clear what Frieden and Sagalyn include in this figure, but it
at least includes tax abatements, loans repaid at below-market rates, subsidies
for parking, and the like. See id. at 155. On the nature of public-private
deals on specific projects, see id. at 133-70.
n196. Id. at 297.
Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner, 407 U.S. 551, 570 (1972); see Frieden
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 227-36; Garreau, supra note 31, at 200-01.
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 271-74, 283-85.
n199. E.g., Aoki, supra note 193, at 791-829. For a defense of
gentrification, see William Whyte, City: Rediscovering the Center 325-31 (1988).
n200. Here's a somewhat longer explanation of how tax increment financing works:
"The increase in property tax collections that normally results from new
construction and rising assessments in a project area is channeled to
redevelopment agencies instead of being split with ... other taxing entities.
Using this revenue stream as collateral, redevelopment agencies issue
tax-exempt bonds to finance their activities." Sagalyn, supra note 182, at 431. For still longer explanations, see id. at
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 97-99; and Quinones, supra note 181, at 708-18.
n201. Sagalyn, supra note 182, at 432.
n202. See Frieden
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 136-40. Even suburbs sometimes offer business
investors help of a similar kind. For example, to finance a major expansion of
the Somerset Mall in Troy, Michigan, making it
"the new shopping
"downtown' of Metro Detroit" - an easy drive from Bloomfield Hills, one of the wealthiest cities in America
(with an average annual household income of $ 180,000) and from the
"sturdy incomes" of Royal Oak and the Grosse Pointes - the city used federal transportation
money to widen the road and helped build a parking garage and a 700-foot-long
skywalk. Jon Pepper, Center of Attention: How a 130-Store Expansion at Somerset
Collection Creates a New Main Street for Michigan Shoppers, Det. News, Apr. 9,
1995, 5, at 1; see generally John McCloud, Getting Help from City Hall:
Downtown Redevelopment Projects and Other Marketing Strategies No Longer Are
Limited to Big Cities and Big Developers, Shopping Center World 14 (June 1992)
(discussing suburban as well as center city redevelopment projects).
n203. Peterson, supra note 180, at 133, 149. See generally id. at 41-65, 131-49.
n204. Stephen L. Elkin, City and Regime in the American Republic 100 (1987); see
generally id. at 38-46, 82-101.
n205. See generally Logan
& Molotch, supra note 72. They can be understood as describing what Steven Lukes
calls the three-dimensional view of power (in which even the oppressed come to
believe in and support what the powerful want), while Elkin relies on Lukes'
two-dimensional view (structural bias) and Peterson seems to assume the
one-dimensional view (pluralism). See generally Steven Lukes, Power: A Radical
"The main job of government ... is to create a climate in which private business
can expand in the city to provide jobs and profit.'
& Sagalyn, supra note 104, at 296 (quoting former New York City mayor Ed Koch);
see also Friedland, supra note 183, at 109-12 (analyzing the role of union
support in framing the urban renewal program).
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 144.
n208. For a discussion of Houston's land use policy, see Deyan Sudjic, The 100 Mile
City 97-102 (1992); Richard F. Babcock, Houston: Unzoned, Unfettered, and
Mostly Unrepentant, 48 Planning: The ASPO Magazine 21 (1982). None of those
attracted to replacing zoning with rules from property law suggest that this
change will limit exclusion. On the contrary, they suggest that private
restrictions will accomplish exclusion just as well. In Houston, as one of them
"restrictive covenants have adequately protected many fine residential areas." Robert Ellickson, Alternatives to Zoning: Covenants, Nuisance Rules, and Fines
as Land Use Controls,
40 U. Chi. L. Rev. 681, 780-81 (1973); see also Logan
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 158 ("Houston differs in its land use regulation from other cities much less than it
appears"); Bernard H. Siegan, Non-Zoning in Houston,
13 J. L. & Econ. 71, 142 (1970) ("the covenants created subsequent to 1950 .... may be as effective as zoning in
maintaining single-family homogeneity").
n209. See generally Garreau, supra note 31.
n210. Jacobs, supra note 6, at 252.
n211. Id. at 254.
n212. Id. at 409.
n213. Vincent Scully, American Architecture and Urbanism 161-73 (1969). Scully
emphasized, as do many others, the influence of (distorted versions of)
Ebenezer Howard's Garden City, Le Corbusier's Radiant City, and Frank Lloyd
Wright's Broadacre City on the creation of modern American landscape; see also
Hall, supra note 30, at 227-34, 283-90; Aoki, supra note 193, at 716-35.
n214. Scully, supra note 213, at 254; see generally, James Howard Kunstler, The
Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape
n215. Daniel Solomon, ReBuilding 6 (1992).
n216. Peter Calthorpe, The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the
American Dream 18 (1993).
n217. Andres Duany
& Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, The Second Coming of The American Small Town, Wilson
Q., Winter 1992, at 19, 29.
n219. The work of Leon Krier is an important source of the ideas embraced by new
urbanism. See Leon Krier, Leon Krier: Architecture and Urban Design, 1967-1992
(Richard Economakis ed., 1992). A number of new urbanist designs have been
collected in Peter Katz, The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community
(1994). Many new urbanists also have their own books. See, e.g., Calthorpe,
supra note 216; Andres Duany
& Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Towns and Town-Making Principles (Alex Krieger ed.,
1991); Rob Krier, Architecture and Urban Design (1993); Rob Krier, Urban Space
(1979); The Pedestrian Pocket Book: A New Suburban Design Strategy (Doug
Kelbaugh ed., 1989); Solomon, supra note 215. For related work, see Colin Rowe
& Fred Koetter, Collage City (1978); Elizabeth A.T. Smith, Urban Revisions:
Current Projects for the Public Realm (1994).
n220. Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 16.
n221. Id. at 27.
n222. Id. at 47.
n223. Solomon, supra note 215, at 7.
n224. See, e.g., Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 30; Todd W. Bressi, Planning the
American Dream, in Katz, supra note 219, at xxxvi; Duany
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 217, at 34. One new urbanist has developed his ideas
solely in the form of a proposed new zoning code. Michael Sorkin, Local Code:
The Constitution of a City at 42 N Latitude (1993).
n225. Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 30.
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 217, at 31-35.
n227. Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 37-38; Duany
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 217, at 29-30; see also Leon Krier, Afterword, in
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 219, at 117; Vincent Scully, The Architecture of
Community, in Katz, supra note 219, at 221, 221-30.
n228. Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 37.
n230. See Jerry Adler, Bye-Bye Suburban Dream, Newsweek, May 15, 1995, at 41.
n231. Id. at 43; see also id. at 45 ("Suburbs should teem with life, with humanity in all its diversity (or as much
diversity as you can find within one standard deviation of the median family
income . ..."). Newsweek does list, among the 15 factors it associates with new urbanism,
the mixing of housing types. Id. at 50. But they do so with considerable
caution ("homogeneity is the very essence of the suburbs"). Id.
n232. See, e.g., Katz, supra note 219, at ix. For a critique of this use of the
term, see id. at 230.
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 217, at 47.
n234. See, e.g., Duany
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 219, at 38 (describing the resort village of Windsor
in Vero Beach, Florida); Katz, supra note 219, at 1 (describing Seaside).
n235. See Dolores Hayden, Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing,
Work, and Family Life 49-54 (1984); Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream: A
Social History of Housing in America 269-74 (1981); Susan Saegert, Masculine
Cities and Feminine Suburbs: Polarized Ideas, Contradictory Realities, in Women
and the American City 93, 106 (Catharine R. Stimpson, Elsa Dixler, Martha J.
& Kathryn B. Yatrakis eds., 1981).
n236. See Wright, supra note 235, at 96-113.
n237. On patriarchy, see Ann Markusen, City Spatial Structure, Women's Household
Work, and National Urban Policy, in
Women and the American City, supra note 235, at 20; on capitalism, see Ira Katznelson, Urban Trenches: Urban
Politics and the Patterning of Class in the United States (1981); on greed, see
Hayden, supra note 235, at 34, 50 (emphasizing, once again, Herbert Hoover's
role, as Secretary of Commerce, in fostering suburban design).
n238. Hayden, supra note 235, at 40; see generally Gerda Wekerle, Women in the Urban
Women and the American City, supra note 235, at 185.
n239. America's housing stock doubled between 1940 and 1980. See Hayden, supra note
235, at 37-38 (noting that the number of housing units occupied in the U.S.
increased from 34.9 million in 1940 to 80.4 million in 1980, which was
attributable in great part to the growth of tract housing projects).
n240. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Dep't of Commerce, Series P-20, No. 437, Household
and Family Characteristics: March 1988, at 96 tbl. 18 (1989).
n241. 54% of American families include women working outside the home. Calthorpe,
supra note 216, at 18.
n242. Nancy E. Dowd, Stigmatizing Single Parents,
18 Harv. Women's L.J. 19, 22 n.13, 23 n.20 (1995).
n243. See Wright, supra note 235, at 262-81; see generally Hayden, supra note 235;
New Space for Women 125-98 (Gerda R. Werkele, Rebecca Peterson
& David Morley eds., 1980);
Women and the American City, supra note 235.
n244. For an exploration of nineteenth century feminist ideas, see generally Dolores
Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for
American Homes, Neighborhoods, and Cities (1981). On the impact of dependence
on cars on women's lives, see Hayden, supra note 235, at 151-55; Mary Cichoki,
Women's Travel Patterns in a Suburban Development, in New Space for Women,
supra note 243, at 151; William Michelson, Spatial and Temporal Dimensions of
Child Care, in
Women and the City, supra note 235, at 239.
n245. See Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 18-19.
n246. See generally Doreen Massey, Space, Place and Gender (1994); Wilson, supra
note 36; Barbara Hooper,
"Split at the Roots": A Critique of the Philosophical Sources of Modern Planning Doctrine, 13
Frontiers 45 (1992).
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 217, at 46-47.
n248. See Baldassare, supra note 10, at 12-15; Paul Glastris, A Tale of Two
Suburbias, U.S. News
& World Rep., Nov. 9, 1992, at 32-36; Neal R. Peirce, Suburbia's New Growing-Old
Pains, 25 Nat. J. 2675 (Nov. 6, 1993).
n249. Glastris, supra note 248, at 34.
n250. Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 19-20; Glastris, supra note 248, at 34; see
generally Garreau, supra note 31.
n251. Peter Calthorpe has argued that the best way to enable people to afford better
housing would be to build neighborhoods that make it possible to sell a
(second?) car, add a rental unit, and put the savings in car payments, and the
rental income toward mortgage payments. Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 29-30.
n252. Thomas Bier, Cuyahoga County Outmigration (March, 1993) (unpublished study on
file with the Stanford Law Review) [hereinafter Cuyahoga County]; see also Ohio
Housing Research Network, Moving Up and Out: Government Policy and The Future
of Ohio's Metropolitan Areas (1994) [hereinafter Ohio Study].
n253. Cuyahoga County, supra note 252, at 8.
n254. See Thomas Bier
& Ivan Maric, IRS Homeseller Provision and Urban Decline, 16 J. Urb. Aff. 141
(1994). Bier and Maric argue that section 1034 of the Internal Revenue Code,
which allows homesellers to defer tax liability if they buy another home of
equal or greater value, gives people an incentive to move to the outer suburbs.
In the Cleveland area, as well as many other places, that's where the more
expensive houses are located. See Ohio Study, supra note 252; Cuyahoga County,
supra note 252. An alternative urban policy could encourage people to move to
less expensive inner suburb and central city housing by deferring the tax on
the gain made in the sale without requiring it to be reinvested in new housing
(allowing the proceeds, say, to be invested instead in IRAs).
n255. See Peirce, supra note 248, at 2675.
n256. Myron Orfield, Talk Radio Called Him a Commie and Put Him on Hold, Minn. Star
Trib., May 23, 1995, at 13A.
n257. One study of six representative metropolitan areas reported that 35% of
suburbs saw declines in median household incomes in the 1980s, while 33% saw a
rise of more than 10%. Glastris, supra note 248, at 32.
n258. See Mark Baldassare
& Georjeanna Wilson, More Trouble in Paradise: Urbanization and the Decline in
Suburban Quality-of-Life Ratings, 30 Urb. Aff. Rev. 690 (1995) (reporting
results of a study on suburbanites' perceptions of their quality of life). On
the extent of the
"housing affordability crisis in America," especially for young people, see William C. Apgar, Jr., George S. Masnick
& Nancy McArdle, Housing in America: 1970-2000: The Nation's Housing Needs for
the Balance of the 20th Century 13, 67-92 (1991).
n259. Instead, this is
"Ross Perot country." See Peirce, supra note 248.
n260. See Paul Glastris, A New City-Suburbs Hookup, U.S. News
& World Rep., Jul. 18, 1994, at 28.
n261. The bill, however, was vetoed by Governor Arne Carlson,
"a Republican tied to the wealthier suburbs." Id.
n262. For two good collections of articles, see Housing and the Aging Population:
Options for the New Century (W. Edward Folts
& Dale E. Yeatts eds., 1994) and Housing the Elderly (Judith Hancock ed., 1987);
see also Stephen M. Golant, Housing America's Elderly: Many Possibilities/Few
n263. See generally Phyllis Myers, Aging in Place: Strategies to Help the Elderly
Stay in Revitalizing Neighborhoods (1982).
n264. On the attachment of the elderly to their neighborhoods, see R. Steven
Daniels, Demographic, Economic, and Political Factors Related to Housing for
the Elderly, in Housing and the Aging Population, supra note 262, at 369; on
the impact on women, see id. at 11, 371, and Elizabeth W. Markson
& Beth B. Hess, Older Women in the City, in
Women and the American City, supra note 235, at 124; on the impact of the automobile, see Duany
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 217, at 46.
n265. See Patricia Baron Pollak, Rethinking Zoning to Accommodate the Elderly in
Single Family Housing, 60 J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 521 (1994).
n266. Having increased ten-fold from 1900 to 1990, the over-65 population is
expected to double again by 2050. As a result, there would be more people in
America over 65 than under 18 (in 1900, by contrast, there were ten times as
many people under 18 as over 65). See Housing and the Aging Population, supra
note 262, at 5-8. On the elderly's political role, see R. Steven Daniels, supra
note 264, at 369; Douglas Dobson, The Elderly as a Political Force, in Housing
the Elderly, supra note 262, at 187-208; Jon Pynoos, Setting the Elderly
Housing Agenda, in Housing the Elderly, supra note 262, at 209-23.
n267. See Leisure-Oriented Retirement Communities, in Housing and the Aging
Population, supra note 262, at 121-44; Golant, supra note 262, at 67-92.
n268. See Stephen M. Golant, In Defense of Age-Segregated Housing, in Housing the
Elderly, supra note 262, at 49-56.
n269. Lewis Mumford, For Older People - Not Segregation But Integration, in Housing
the Elderly, supra note 262, at 39, 44.
n270. Id. at 46-47; see also Anderson, supra note 78, at 69-76 (discussing the
relationship between the
"old heads" and the young).
n271. See text accompanying note 221 supra; see also Mumford, supra note 269, at
n272. See Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-76, 109 Stat. 787
(1995), amending the Fair Housing Act by modifying the exception to
discrimination statutes previously granted to housing limited to the elderly.
n273. On the housing issues of the poor, see Raymond J. Struyk, Future Housing
Assistance Policy for the Elderly, in Housing the Elderly, supra note 262, at
255-66; on those for the frail and infirm, see Housing and the Aging
Population, supra note 262, at 145-68, 245-81; for an examination of
leisure-oriented retirement communities, see id. at 121-44.
n274. See notes 77-94 supra and accompanying text.
n275. Jargowsky, supra note 72, at 294. The increase in the total black population
living in metropolitan areas, by contrast, was only 16%. Id.
n276. William Julius Wilson, The New Urban Poverty and the Problem of Race, 33 Mich.
Q. Rev. 247, 256 (1994).
n277. Jargowsky, supra note 72, at 296-97 (describing trends in cities like Chicago,
Illinois which had less than a 2% increase in overall ghetto poverty from
1980-1990 but a 61.5% increase in the number of areas classified as ghettos).
As Jargowsky emphasizes, while these statistics reflect the majority of regions
in America, there are exceptions. See id. at 297-302.
n278. See Massey
& Denton, supra note 72, at 67-74; Wilson, supra note 72, at 56-62, 135-38;
Ford, supra note 71, at 1854
& n.24; Wilson, supra note 276, at 256-58.
n279. See, e.g.,
26 U.S.C. 1394 (1995); see generally, Ellen P. Aprill, Caution: Enterprise Zones,
66 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1341 (1993); David Williams, II, The Enterprise Zone Concept at the Federal Level: Are
Proposed Tax Incentives the Needed Ingredient?,
9 Va. Tax Rev. 711 (1990).
n280. In the 1950s, a substantial majority of black males in these neighborhoods had
jobs; now they don't. Wilson, supra note 276, at 253.
In the face of increasing joblessness, stores, banks, credit institutions,
restaurants, and professional services lose regular and potential customers.
Churches experience dwindling numbers of parishioners and shrinking resources;
recreational facilities, block clubs, community groups, and other informal
organizations suffer. As these organizations decline, the means of formal and
informal social control in the neighborhood become weaker. Levels of crime and
street violence increase as a result, leading to further deterioration of the
Id. at 257. For a more complete analysis of the economic dynamics of the
ghetto, see Fusfield
& Bates, supra note 78, at 136-54.
n281. For an analysis of the ghetto economy, see Fusfield
& Bates, supra note 78, at 155-70.
n282. Jargowsky, supra note 72, at 294. The remaining 16% live outside of
metropolitan areas. Id.
n283. Martin Carnoy, Faded Dreams: The Politics and Economics of Race in America 22
& Bane, supra note 72, at 239-44.
n284. See Joe Feagin
& Melvin Sikes, Living With Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience 223-71
(1994); Residential Apartheid: The American Legacy (Robert D. Bullard, J.
Eugene Grisby, III
& Charles Lee eds., 1994); Schill
& Wachter, supra note 96, at 1317-18, 1329-31; Thomas J. Lueck, Racial
Difference in Mortgage Lending, N.Y. Times, July 19, 1992, 1, at 32; Sam
Roberts, Shifts in 80's Failed to Ease Segregation, N.Y. Times, July 15, 1992,
at B1, B4.
& Sikes, supra note 284, at 227.
n286. Nancy Denton, Are African Americans Still Hypersegregated?, in Residential
Apartheid, supra note 284, at 49-81.
& Sikes, supra note 284, at 264-65.
n288. Id. at 227.
n289. On the effect of the increasing class segregation of black neighborhoods, see
Wilson, supra note 72, at 56-62; Brooks, supra note 72, at 9-15. The income of
the black middle-class grew substantially in the 1980s, although the number of
middle-class households hardly grew at all. Carnoy, supra note 283, at 22-24.
n290. Charles T. Banner-Haley, The Fruits of Integration: Black Middle-Class
Ideology and Culture, 1960-1990, at 7 (1994).
n291. Id. at 9.
n292. For an alternative way of envisioning the political possibilities, see
Calthorpe, supra note 216, at 36.
n293. Indeed, one can gain considerable insight into the impact of metropolitan
zoning and redevelopment policies by examining the housing problems of elderly
black women living in declining neighborhoods. See, e.g., Jacqueline Leavitt
& Susan Saegert, From Abandonment to Hope: Community-Households in Harlem 150-64
(1990); see generally Aging in Black America (James S. Jackson, Linda Chalters
& Robert Taylor eds., 1993).
n294. For a discussion of charrettes, see Duany
& Plater-Zyberk, supra note 219, at 23; Katz, supra note 219, at xxxvi-xxxvii;
see generally Lynda H. Schneekloth
& Robert Shibley, Placemaking: The Art and Practice of Building Communities
n295. The phrase
"price is sociological" is from Logan
& Molotch, supra note 72, at 9.
n296. See Katz, supra note 219, at 4 (noting that
"Seaside ... has seen a tenfold increase in residential lot prices in the decade
since it was founded").
n297. See Frug, supra note 21, at 294-300, 328-34.
n298. Ford, supra note 71, at 1914 (footnote omitted).
& Denton, supra note 72, at 32-33; Jack Miles, Blacks v. Browns, Atlan., Oct.
1992, at 41, 52 (noting that a majority of the residents of Koreatown in Los
Angeles are Latino).
n300. On the issue of growth management, see generally John M. DeGrove, The New
Frontier for Land Policy: Planning and Growth Management in the States (1992);
Growth Management: The Planning Challenge of the 1990s (Jay M. Stein ed.,
1993); Understanding Growth Management: Critical Issues and a Research Agenda
(David Brower ed., 1989).
n301. See text accompanying note 211 supra.
n302. See text accompanying notes 94-125 supra.
n303. See, e.g., Rusk, supra note 148, at 89-105.
n304. The version of community I present in this article is thus an additional
alternative to the situated subject and the postmodern subject discussed in
Frug, supra note 21, at 273-338.
n305. Egan, supra note 133.
n306. Jargowsky, supra note 72, at 289, 293 (citing 1990 census data).
Prepared: January 24, 2003 - 5:02:29 PM
Edited and Updated, January 25, 2003
Kristen A. Stelljes