Billions in school construction in CT hasn’t made a dent in segregation — but this year, things could be different

“Get your son out of this school.”

That’s the message Yanira Rios received seven years ago from her son’s kindergarten teacher shortly after moving to Bridgeport, the only community in the region where she could afford an apartment. Her son had learned to read in preschool before leaving Shelton, and now Rios was being told that his teacher needed to focus on his classmates, who were far behind him academically.

“It was so discouraging to have a teacher beg you, ‘You have to figure it out. You have to get your kid out of here, because at the end of the year he’s going to be behind,'” said Rios.

Read more
Share

Rebuttal: Build housing to create more a dynamic and just economic future for Connecticut

In a December 17 opinion piece titled Zoning reform must consider the character of each townAlexis Harrison of Fairfield argued against HB 5132, a bill that would reform zoning laws in the state. This was not her first opinion piece in the Mirror objecting to zoning reform and housing development. On September 4 she wrote against proposed developments in Fairfield, blaming state law 8-30g and warning about dire consequences if HB 5132 passed in the future. In these articles she argued that zoning reform in Connecticut must be stymied in order to: 

  • conserve local wetlands and the environment, and
  • defeat density and prevent “large, monstrous developments” 
  • preserve “neighborhood character”
  • maintain local control over land

As Katherine Levine Einstein laid out in her book Neighborhood Defenders: Participatory Politics and America’s Housing Crisis, these are common arguments against building more homes, but they should not stop us. We need a larger, diverse offering of market-rate and affordable homes in every community Connecticut, preferably in walkable, transit-friendly places.

Read more
Share

A chance to break housing segregation patterns

Metropolitan Chicago's Black-white segregation is among the worst in the nation and has improved only modestly in the past three decades. A 2017 Metropolitan Planning Council study put the price tag of segregation at $8 billion annually. To see how this moment might create an opportunity for breaking down segregation, we need to understand what created and sustains segregation.

As Kyle Crowder of the University of Washington and I argue in our book, "Cycle of Segregation," segregation is perpetuated in part because our social networks and daily experiences and the media shape the mental maps we have about where we should and should not live. And they affect whether we've even heard of a place.

Read more
Share

Redlining and Neighborhood Health

For decades, starting at least in the 1930s, low-income and minority communities were intentionally cut off from lending and investment through a system known as redlining. Today, those same neighborhoods suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher incidence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19.

Read more
Share

The Black Lives Next Door

The Black Lives Next Door: A new generation of activists is trying to figure out where to concentrate its efforts. Residential desegregation is the final frontier.

By Richard Rothstein, NY Times, August 14, 2020. Available Here. 

Read more
Share

Why Schools Should Care about Housing Voucher Discrimination

What happens in our neighborhoods is reflected in our schools. Inequality in our neighborhoods translates to inequality in our schools. And discrimination that has a hand in shaping our neighborhoods, has a hand in shaping our schools. 

Read more
Share

Joe Biden’s surprisingly visionary housing plan, explained

Joe Biden has a housing policy agenda that is ambitious, technically sound, and politically feasible, and that would — if implemented — be life-changing for millions of low-income and housing-insecure households.

According to original modeling by Columbia University scholars, it could cut child poverty by a third, narrow racial opportunity gaps, and potentially drive progress on the broader middle-class affordability crisis in the largest coastal cities as well.

Read more
Share

More Housing Could Increase Affordability—But Only If You Build It in the Right Places

More Housing Could Increase Affordability—But Only If You Build It in the Right Places

Focusing on zoning in hot-market urban centers misses economic realities—and major opportunities.

By: Alan Mallach, Shelterforce, June 19, 2020. Available Here. 

Read more
Share

Should summer debate on racial inequality stop at police accountability?

Should summer debate on racial inequality stop at police accountability?

By Keith M. Phaneuf, CT Mirror, June 17, 2020. Available Here.

Read more
Share

To cure racism, treat the disease — not the symptoms

To cure racism, treat the disease — not the symptoms

By: Saud Anwar, Hartford Courant, June, 8, 2020. Available Here. 

Read more
Share

  • Open Communities Alliance
  • 75 Charter Oak Avenue
  • Suite 1-200
  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040