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Divided Interests: Cities, Suburbs, and Beyond

Since World War Il, a dramatic population shift has occurred in this country as thousands of families have moved from cities to suburbs. Even though some people
lived in suburban areas prior to the twentieth century. it took the involvement of the federal government and large-scale development to spur the dramatic shift that began in the 1950s (Palen. 1995). According to urban historian Kenneth T. Jackson (1985). postwar suburban growth was fueled by aggressive land developers. inexpensive real estate and construction methods. better transportation. abundant energy. government subsidies, and racial stress in the cities. However.
the sociologist J. john Paley (1995) suggests that the Baby Boom following World War II and the liberalization of lending policies by federal agencies such as the
Veterans Administration (VA) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) were significant factors in mass sub urbanization. Regardless of its causes, mass sub urbanization has created a territorial division of interests between cities and suburban areas (Flanagan. 2002). Although many suburbanites rely on urban centers for their employment entertainment, and other services.they property taxes o suburban governments and school districts. Some affluent suburbs have state-of-the-art school districts. police and lire departments. libraries, and infrastructures (such as roads. sewers. and water treatment plants). By contrast. central-city services and school districts languish tor lack of funds. Affluent families living in “gentrified” properties typically send their children to elite private schools. whereas the  children of poor families living in racially segregated public housing projects attend underfunded (and often substandard) public schools.

Race, Class, and Suburbs The intertwining impact of race and class is visible in the division between central  cities and suburbs. About 41 percent of central city residents residents residents are persons of color. although they constitute a substantially smaller portion of the nation’s population; just 27 percent of all African Americans live in suburbs. For most African American suburbanites. class is more important than race in determining one’s neighbors. According to Vincent Lane. chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority. “Sub urbanization .

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