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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Urban Sprawl: Good for Minorities?

Urban Sprawl: Good for Minorities?

Through the course of the semester we have tried to establish a definition for sprawl. It seems that we have come to the conclusion that sprawl is indefinable. We have been unable to find a definition that we like or that is not corrupted by the policies that are placed on sprawl. I have included the website that has many definitions of sprawl from many different aspects. We as a group have seemed to say that it is growth that moves in an outward fashion.
Who is affected by this idea of sprawl? In looking at an article titled “ Urban Sprawl: Good for Minorities” written by Leonard C. Gilroy. He says that sprawl seems to be very important for minorities especially those of African American decent. Areas that are high sprawl metropolitan areas seem to see minorities being able to buy homes in the suburban areas just like their white counter parts. In areas that are low sprawl minorities are left to live closer to the business center. They are unable to afford what lays out side the metropolitan area. This is an interesting idea that sprawl allows the minorities to achieve a better freedom. Gilroy argues that if policies are put in place to stop sprawl or overly plan sprawl those that are greatly affected is the minority. They are the silent victims that are not taken into account for.
In reading this article it is hard to believe that it is the minority that suffers. Gilroy in the article states that more African Americans today have college degrees than in the past and that their incomes seem to steadily rise. They are able to live the American dream. It makes you question wither sprawl has anything to do with the minorities. Is this even an issue of race? It seems that it is the market at work. As we said in class several times if the factors are efficient to move outward into the suburbs families will do so. As we have evolved as a society we see more equality given to all mankind. This would say that the opportunity is fair.
I think that Gilroy is missing the idea. I think people whether African American or White will stay close to the metropolitan area if it is not efficient to move outward. If market allows for the sprawl then most people will move outward. It is the American dream to spread out and have land and live the happy life. This idea is not restricted to color. The opportunity is provided to all those effected by the outward movement of a metropolitan areas quick growth. The race of a person will should not affect how sprawl affects them.

I agree that race should not affect whether or not you can afford to take advantage of the market, but demographically speaking, I think that it does. While there have been advances made in greater opportunities for minorities, there seems to be data (census-driven) that suggests minorities still earn less than their white counterparts, so that lower accessibility to the things that make it possible to fully participate in the market are curtailed. In short, the ideal that markets afford us all the same opportunities is what we should strive for, but the realities are much different.

In the article that I posted previously, the suggestion was made that another possible hurdle for minorities when sprawl is contained is that property values closer to the city center raise even further, making it impossible for minorities that would otherwise stay there to afford housing. Based on that idea, I would say that sprawl is not beneficial to minorities because they can afford to move to suburbia, but because it keeps the cost of inner-city housing affordable to those in a certain earning bracket.
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