Categories: Community Corner
Historical racist land use planning in the United States has contributed to persistent residential segregation and ensuring inequity in the communities in which Black and Brown people live. The racist roots of zoning practices began in the late 1800s in which the earliest goals of land use regulation were to explicitly accomplish racial segregation via zoning ordinances. Racist land use policies remain today in the form of the exclusion and restriction of certain uses and density regulations. The podcast from Code Switch titled “Location! Location! Location!” provides an overview of how residential segregation is still shaping how we live.
Communities are reexamining land use policies across the country including in NYC, particularly with a multitude of rezoning policies that are under consideration. As these move forward, it is important to insist that the responsibility of accommodating our City’s growth should not fall solely on communities of color that have experienced disinvestment. Land use policies need to actively combat exclusive zoning policies that work to further compromise communities of color.
For those interested in a longer read, we recommend “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein. We encourage you to support a local (and preferably Black-owned) bookstore if you plan to purchase.