Much scholarly attention has been given to metropolitan and city-level segregation; however, comparatively little consideration has been devoted to within community segregation. In some newly created mixed-income, mixed-race communities, we are witnessing “diversity segregation,” where people of different backgrounds, races, ethnicity and incomes live next to one another but not alongside one another. In these diverse communities, micro-level segregation is thwarting meaningful interactions, making it less likely that these “integrated” communities will enhance the life chances of the poor.
For over a decade, I have studied transitioning low-income minority communities that became more racially, ethnically, and economically diverse in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Additionally, as a public housing authority board chair, I have overseen the financing, construction, and maintenance of mixed-income housing projects in Alexandria, Virginia. During this work, I constantly ask myself, “Are these diverse communities and housing developments sufficiently designed to facilitate social interactions that benefit low-income residents?” (more…)