We Did This? An Acknowledgment of the Causes of Segregation

  • Catalina Freixas
  • Mark Abbott
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The purpose of the chapter is to identify the primary historical and continuing causes of residential segregation in the United States. The research of Hirsch (1978) Jackson (1985), Teaford (1990), Massey and Denton (1993), Sugrue (1996), Gordon (2008) and Sharkey (2013) informed the focus group agenda. The participants identified segregation ordinances and deed restrictions as the main tools used to racially segregate the early twentieth century American city. Whereas, zoning, housing policy – particularly the issuing of FHA mortgages – urban renewal, and the placement of public housing were the primary drivers of segregation in the mid-twentieth century. The group further concluded that federal housing policy and contemporary banking practices since the 1968 Fair Housing Act has continued to reinforce segregation in the United States. In the accompanying essay, “We Are Still Doing This – But There is a Way to Stop,” Rosalind Williams maintains that current use of low-income housing tax credits continues to segregate African Americans into enclaves of concentrated poverty. She argues that the way to end racial segregation is to develop affordable housing in areas of high opportunity, discourage suburban sprawl, comprehensively address the needs of distressed housing, and reform racially tinged real estate and banking practices.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catalina Freixas
    • 1
  • Mark Abbott
    • 2
  1. 1.ArchitectureWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Social and Behavioral SciencesHarris-Stowe State UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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