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Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs

History, Politics, and Prospects

Christopher Niedt

Publication Year: 2013

American suburbs have been seen as both exclusive idylls for elites as well as crucibles for new ideologies of gender, class, race, and property. But few have considered what the growing diversity of suburban America has meant for progressive social, economic, and political justice movements. Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs is a pioneering and multidisciplinary volume that reassesses commonplace understandings of suburban activism. 

Editor Christopher Niedt and his contributors shed light on organizing and conflict in the suburbs with historical and contemporary case studies. Chapters address topical issues ranging from how suburbanites actively fought school segregation to industrial pollution and displacement along the suburban-rural fringe. Social Justice in Diverse Suburbs also considers struggles for integration and environmental justice as well as efforts to preserve suburban history and organize immigrant communities.

Contributors include: Douglas R. Appler, Aaron Cavin, Nancy A. Denton, Lisa Feldstein, Casey Gallagher, Anne Galletta, Joseph Gibbons, Robert Gioielli, Lucas Owen Kirkpatrick, JoAnna Mitchell-Brown, Manuel Pastor, john a. powell, Jason Reece, Alex Schafran, June Williamson, and the editor.

Published by: Temple University Press

Cover

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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-viii

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-10

Since their emergence, the U.S. suburbs have been many things to their boosters and critics—exclusive idylls for the elite, sites of production and labor repression, spaces of unrestricted expansion for working-class homesteaders and postwar developers, benefi ciaries of federal largesse, and crucibles for new ideologies of gender, class, race, and property. But however imagined...

Part I. Race, Class, and Exclusion in the Twenty-First Century

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2. Twenty-First-Century Suburban Demography: Increasing Diversity Yet Lingering Exclusion

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pp. 13-30

“Suburbs” and “suburban” may be among the most oft en-used words with contested meanings. And they do get used: A Google search on “suburbs” fi nds 27,700,000 entries, while “suburban” yields 38,700,000. Everyone thinks they know what these words mean, despite little agreement on their formal defi nition. For many people, they evoke a mental image or “hidden frame”—for ...

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3. The Suburban Geography of Moral Panic: Low-Income Housing and the Revanchist Fringe

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pp. 31-53

One of the defi ning characteristics of the post-Fordist, neoliberal era (1970– present) in the United States is the hypersegregation of poor, minority households in the central city (Wilson 1997). Intensifi ed patterns of uneven economic development, pervasive systems of surveillance and control, and an unrelenting “territorial stigmatization” have combined to transform the inner...

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4. Protest on the Astroturf at Downtown Silver Spring: July 4, 2007

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pp. 54-70

Many urbanists who argue for defending “authentic” public space in the city against suburbanization—associated with retail chains, large developers, and the tastes of middle-class white people—point to suburban shopping malls and strip centers as a major culprit in the city’s woes. In the early twenty-fi rst century, however, enclosed regional malls are in marked decay....

Part II. Revealing Activist Histories

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5. “In the Spirit of Equality”: Conflict, Dissonance, and the Potential for Transformative Educational Change

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pp. 73-90

This chapter explores the history of school desegregation in Shaker Heights, Ohio, an inner-ring suburban school district bordering the city of Cleveland. During particular periods of community confl ict and institutional unease, parents, students, and educators pressed their school district to attend to racial isolation and inequality of opportunity and outcomes for African American...

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6. Not Quite Suburban: Progressive Activism in Postwar Chicago

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pp. 91-104

In Chicago, a city of neighborhoods, Garfi eld Ridge does not stand out. Many of Chicago’s neighborhoods have gone down in local or national lore for their architecture, famous residents, or even their criminal notoriety. But Garfi eld Ridge is a nondescript trapezoid of a bedroom community, right on the edge of the city, near the beginning of the suburbs, bordering one of the world’s most...

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7. Fringe Politics: Suburban Expansion and the Mexican American Struggle for Alviso, California

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pp. 105-126

Before World War II, Mexican Americans in the Santa Clara Valley of California lived in scattered communities, working in the rich agricultural fi elds. Th ose fi elds, however, transformed into the postwar suburbs as development wiped out the valley’s Mexican American communities. “Th ere’s only one exception to that story,” recalled Ernesto Galarza, the farm labor organizer, Chicano ...

Part III. Sustaining Social Justice in the Diverse Suburb

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8. Maywood, Not Mayberry: Latinos and Suburbia in Los Angeles County

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pp. 129-154

When one imagines suburbia, images of single-family houses, white faces, and placid politics come to mind. Although one might argue that this image was never quite the case, it certainly is true that much has changed in the years since the postwar suburban landscape was created, codifi ed, and constituted by mortgage-interest subsidies, highway expansion, and racially restrictive ...

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9. Black, Brown, White, and Green: Race, Land Use, and Environmental Politics in a Changing Richmond

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pp. 155-171

In November 2006, Gayle McLaughlin, a white Green Party member, defeated incumbent Irma Anderson, an African American and registered Democrat, in the mayoral election of Richmond, California. Although technically nonpartisan, her election was notable in part because it made Richmond the largest city in the country with a Green Party mayor, and because it marked the first mayoral...

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10. Public Archaeology and Sense of Place in Alexandria, Virginia: An Exploration of the Changing Significance of Fort Ward Park

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pp. 172-184

The passage of time can have a strong influence on the meaning that people attach to a particular location. As years pass and certain historical themes are seen by a larger number of people to be relevant to events in the present, the sites associated with those themes gain a higher public profile. This change can raise questions about how different events should be recognized and incorporated into the existing local historical narrative, particularly on sites that ...

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11. First Suburbs and Nonprofit Housing: How Do Urban CDCs Develop Affordable Housing in Suburban Communities?

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pp. 185-212

First suburbs in the United States, older suburbs that experienced the bulk of their growth before 1960, currently face a host of problems conventionally associated with urban areas. Over the last several decades, problems associated with declining business districts, aging infrastructure, crime, obsolescent housing stock, population loss, and concentrations of high-needs populations ...

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12. The Future of Fair Housing in a Diverse Suburbia

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pp. 213-228

Suburbs in the United States have long been associated with homogeneity, from their physical form to their demographics. The earliest suburbs date back to the late nineteenth century, but it was the post–World War II period of suburban growth that produced a dramatic reshaping of the metropolitan landscape and our perceptions of it. As new suburbs developed at an ...

References

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pp. 229-254

Contributors

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pp. 255-258

Index

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pp. 259-268


E-ISBN-13: 9781439910511
E-ISBN-10: 1439910510
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439910504
Print-ISBN-10: 1439910502

Page Count: 252
Publication Year: 2013