«AmericAn neighborhoods: inclusion And exclusion Volume 16, Number 3 • 2014 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development | Office of Policy ...»
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Abstract Racial and economic diversity are popular policy and planning goals because they can promote inclusion, offering residents of different races and economic positions access to similar resources and opportunities to interact. Diverse communities may also be sites for deliberate and inadvertent exclusion, however, through interpersonal and organizational conflict, discrimination, and relative deprivation. This article examines the dimensions of inclusion and exclusion in a stable racially and economically diverse urban neighborhood—the South End in Boston, Massachusetts—that includes a mix of races and cultures and million-dollar homes alongside subsidized housing. Drawing on secondary data and indepth interviews with 30 residents and key stakeholders, I describe residents’ perceptions of diversity, daily routines, and use of public neighborhood spaces and show how race- and class-based patterns of inclusion and exclusion emerge from these routines. Despite its diverse array of resources and opportunities, the neighborhood remains socially and organizationally differentiated through patterns of microsegregation—homogenous pockets of interaction and organization within the larger neighborhood.
Cityscape 13 Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research • Volume 16, Number 3 • 2014 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research Tach Introduction Diverse urban communities are exceptions to widespread and longstanding patterns of racial and economic segregation in the United States (Jargowsky, 1996; Massey and Denton, 1993).
Despite the historical persistence of segregation and its resulting spatial inequalities, racially and economically diverse communities do exist and some are even stable fixtures of the urban landscape (Ellen, 2000; Maly, 2008; Nyden et al., 1998). Although many academics, policymakers, and planners espouse diversity as a desirable alternative to segregation, diversity poses its own unique challenges when residents have different preferences and unequal power to realize those preferences. This article examines what we can learn from stably diverse urban communities about promoting inclusion and reducing exclusion.
Background The desire to promote racial and economic integration stems in part from the adverse consequences of the alternative—segregation. Segregation by race and income reduces access to high-quality housing, institutions, and services for poor and minority residents, which reproduces and exacerbates racial and economic inequalities (Acevedo-Garcia and Osypuk, 2008; Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, and Aber, 1993; Massey and Denton, 1993; Oliver and Shapiro, 1997; Pattillo-McCoy, 1999). Integration has the potential to reduce such inequalities by providing residents access to similar resources and amenities and by offering opportunities to interact (Joseph, Chaskin, and Webber, 2007). These potential benefits may not be realized in all integrated communities, however, and integration may even present new challenges that can undermine personal well-being and long-term community sustainability and desirability (Chaskin, Khare, and Joseph, 2012; McCormick, Joseph, and Chaskin, 2012; Pattillo, 2007; Putnam, 2007). The extent to which integration brings about desired benefits hinges on whether it results in social seams (public neighborhood spaces as settings for interaction), high-quality amenities and resources that serve diverse groups, strong social organization to realize community goals, and diverse social networks that bridge differences (Chaskin and Joseph, 2011, 2010; Tach, Pendall, and Derian, 2014).
Social Seams Public neighborhood spaces—such as parks, street fronts, retail and service establishments, schools, community recreation centers, and libraries—can serve as social seams, or places where different social groups can come together through the shared use of institutions and resources (Jacobs, 1961; Nyden et al., 1998). These settings are desirable features of a community because they provide settings in which cross-group interaction, and even engagement, can occur. They give residents reasons to come together during the routine activities of daily living and provide venues to realize shared needs and interests.
Social seams in diverse communities must accommodate the needs and interests of different social groups, however, so conflict and contention may arise concerning the types of goods and services provided at social seams or about divergent behavioral expectations (Chaskin and Joseph, 2013). In addition, the mere presence of such amenities and institutions does not necessarily translate into equal use if less advantaged residents are deliberately or inadvertently excluded from them (Chapple and Jacobus, 2009). Freeman (2006) found evidence for these dynamics in his analysis of low-income residents’ views of their gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City. Many of the residents Freeman interviewed appreciated the new retail investment, particularly new supermarkets and drug stores, that accompanied the influx of affluent residents to their neighborhood. Residents were also quick to point out, however, that not all businesses catered to their tastes or price points, and some residents even reported resentment and feeling priced out of new businesses. The types of goods and services attracted by more advantaged residents may offer positive externalities, but certain types of businesses signal subtle (and even not so subtle) forms of exclusion as well. The challenge for diverse communities, then, is to create and sustain social seams that meet the needs of diverse resident populations; a secondary challenge is to craft social seams so that they serve as sites for meaningful positive interactions.
Social Networks and Interaction Diverse communities often are touted for their potential to facilitate diverse social networks among residents, which can offer instrumental benefits, such as access to information and resources, and expressive benefits, such as increased tolerance or social trust. Inspired in part by William Julius Wilson’s (1987) canonical account of social isolation in segregated, concentrated-poverty communities, researchers have hypothesized that increasing diversity may benefit less advantaged residents by providing access to the resources contained within the information networks of more advantaged residents (Ellen and Turner, 1997; Jencks and Mayer, 1990; Joseph, Chaskin, and Webber, 2007). Residents of segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods report lacking access to social networks that promote social mobility (Briggs, 1998; Campbell and Lee, 1992; Elliott et al., 1996; Rankin and Quane, 2000), and exposure to the weak ties of more advantaged residents could promote social mobility by increasing awareness of, and access to, employment and educational opportunities (Granovetter, 1973).
These benefits are contingent on the development of cross-race and cross-class social ties, however, and it is unclear whether propinquity alone leads to diverse networks. Empirical studies of mixed-race neighborhoods and mixed-income developments suggest that, although residents share the same physical neighborhood space, the amount of social mixing and interpersonal interaction among income and racial groups is often quite modest (Breitbart and Pader, 1995; Brophy and Smith, 1997; Buron et al., 2002; Chaskin and Joseph, 2010;
Chaskin, Khare, and Joseph, 2012; Hogan, 1996; Joseph, 2008; Kleit, 2005; Pader and Breitbart, 1993; Rosenbaum et al., 1998, 1991; Tach, 2009). Residents interact more with others who are similar in terms of race, language, family composition, housing type, and
social standing (Briggs, 1997; Brophy and Smith, 1997; Kleit, 2005, 2001a, 2001b; Lee, Campbell, and Miller, 1991; Tach, 2009). This differentiation of neighborhood life has been a fixture of neighborhood case studies dating back to the 1920s. Gerald Suttles (1968) termed this differentiation “ordered segmentation”—the orderly, territorial differentiation of social groups—when he observed it in a Chicago slum neighborhood that outsiders viewed as internally homogenous. This ordered segmentation helped to produce social order and shared expectations within an area, but it also resulted in conflict when such physical and symbolic boundaries were crossed.
Even if residents of different social groups do not form social ties, their coexistence in the same neighborhood can make a difference by exposing residents to different lifestyles and behaviors. This exposure might provide material benefits for less advantaged residents from so-called positive role models among more advantaged groups (Brower, 2009; Joseph et al., 2007; Wilson, 1987). Propinquity to more advantaged groups may not be universally positive, however. It may also undermine well-being for less advantaged residents through relative deprivation; having a lower income than one’s reference group may increase stress and depression and undermine physical health (Long et al., 1982; Luttmer, 2005; Parducci, 1995).
Diversity may also provide expressive benefits for residents by influencing tolerance and social trust, although the direction of this effect is ambiguous. Group threat theory posits that close contact with other groups may lead to increased competition and reduced trust (Blalock, 1967;
Blumer, 1958), whereas group contact theory argues that close proximity may yield greater understanding, tolerance, and trust (Allport, 1954; Gaertner et al., 1993; Pettigrew and Tropp, 2000). Evidence has been found to support both of these theories in the context of racial outgroups (Bobo, 1999; Quillian, 1995, 1996; Taylor, 1998), and experimental settings have offered a possible reconciliation: greater tolerance and trust may result when outgroup contact is meaningful—such as by working together toward a shared goal—rather than superficial (Aronson, Bridgman, and Geffner, 1978; Cook, 1990; Slavin and Cooper, 1999).
Social Organization Neighborhood diversity can also influence social organization, defined as “the ability of a community to realize the common values of its residents and maintain effective social controls” (Sampson and Groves, 1989: 777). Social organization has been operationalized as the prevalence and strength of social networks, organizational participation, and the collective supervision and social control of local problems (Sampson and Groves, 1989). Although social ties are often a necessary precondition for neighborhood social control, they are not a sufficient condition because, even if social ties are strong, they may be only weakly related to action (Pattillo-McCoy, 1999; Sampson and Raudenbush, 1999; Wilson and Taub, 2006).
Proponents argue that increasing the diversity of less advantaged neighborhoods might boost
social organization (Joseph et al., 2007; Wilson, 1987), but it is also possible that diversity might undermine neighborhood social control and organization by eroding social ties because of resident turnover, heterogeneity, and mistrust (Sampson and Groves, 1989; Shaw and McKay, 1942). In addition, although social control is typically considered a positive community attribute that enhances safety and quality of life, it may also result in the increased surveillance, alienation, and harassment of less advantaged residents.
Formal social organizations—such as neighborhood associations, community nonprofit organizations, and other neighborhood-based institutions—are important venues for enacting social control and improving neighborhood quality of life. Case studies have identified two different models of formal social organization in stably diverse communities (Maly, 2008;
Nyden et al., 1998). Many racially diverse neighborhoods that emerged during the post-Civil Rights era were biracial, were economically homogenous, and self-consciously attempted to foster diversity through broad neighborhood coalitions and organizations dedicated to explicit diversity goals. By contrast with these older diverse-by-design communities, more recently neighborhoods have become diverse by circumstance, the result of broad demographic and economic forces rather than explicit planning (Nyden et al., 1998). These neighborhoods take a multiethnic form, and economic diversity accompanies racial diversity. In these contexts, neighborhood organizations are segmented and differentiated, resulting in fewer social seams for cross-group interaction and few formal organizations working toward explicit diversity goals. Janowitz (1952) labeled these neighborhoods communities of limited liability, or places where resident involvement in community is voluntary, partial, and differentiated.
These compounding forms of difference, combined with the fact that neighborhood diversity was not an explicit planning goal, make unifying diverse neighborhood interests challenging.