Talking Integration and ‘New Neighbors’

This is a story about a new documentary film “The New Metropolis”

The film opens with 1950s home movies and family snapshots from Pennsauken, a suburb of Philadelphia, to give viewers a quick history of suburban development. Springing up after World War II, the nation’s first suburbs were “dream towns,” places that returning GI’s and many middle class families could realize the American Dream of home ownership. But it was mostly whites that were able to take up suburban living. Access to the new housing tracts was largely controlled by federal and local policies, including exclusionary zoning and mortgage companies’ redlining practices.

Then in the 1960s, Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act helped protect the rights of minority families.

Since the 1980s, the number of minorities living in suburbia has doubled. Many of these families have bought property in the first-ring suburbs, older communities that are close to city jobs. Meanwhile, new development and wealthier homeowners continue to move farther and farther out from metropolitan centers. Despite federal laws, many suburban towns are segregating along racial lines in the same manner as urban centers did decades ago.

Read remainder of the story at the South Orange Patch


About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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