Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Central Area Housing

Again I'm straying from trial practice, but I came across this and thought I'd share it because of the local angle: Henry W. McGee, Jr., Seattle’s Central District, 1990–2006: Integration or Displacement?, 39 Urb. Law. 167 (Spring 2007):

This study explores the continued process of displacement of African Americans from a Seattle community in which they were once captive to their dispersal throughout the southeast sections of the city, the so-called Rainier Valley, and to the inner suburbs of Renton and Kent, once working and middle class white communities in which African Americans could not safely walk after dark. The study commenced on the assumption that the disappearance of African Americans from Seattle’s core, just a mile or so from downtown Seattle, was a net loss in the zero-sum game that might describe American racial dynamics in which blacks usually lose when they have something Euro Americans want. What then follows is anecdotal information that surveys African American attitudes toward the gentrification and the gain and loss presented by Euro American demand for housing in their once vibrant community. The study concludes in equipoise on the outcome of the gentrification. Rather than determining whether the displacement is “good” or “bad,” the ultimate question is whether Seattle will see a stable and successful inter-racial area emerge at the expense of black political power in Seattle.
A longer abstract is on SSRN.

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