Thanks to the Concurring Opinion folks for inviting me back!
It has been four years since I last guest-blogged. Looking back at my archived posts, it feels a little as though time has stood still. My final post in November of 2009 was entitled “Re-Igniting the Movement for Integration” alerting readers to a conference at Howard Law School that focused on the role of integration in k-12 schools. In the post, I referenced the vexing questions surrounding integration, including the issue of when integration in a neighborhood is seen as cause for celebration and when it is decried as gentrification. The issue of gentrification has only intensified in my corner of the world – Brooklyn – and was the subject of my most recent article, The Gentrification Trigger: Autonomy, Mobility, and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. In the 20 years I have lived in Brooklyn, I have both participated in and winced as neighborhoods that were abandoned in the 1960s are gradually flooded: first with hipsters, then with the stroller set looking for three bedrooms and original moldings. For those of you old enough to remember, the neighborhoods featured in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” are suddenly the places of choice for post-collegiate types from the suburbs. Ideally, policy can be developed that encourages the influx of people with capital to neighborhoods that were once avoided – but also ensures that those who have been living and working in the neighborhoods don’t experience a sense of invasion or displacement. And it will be crucial to address expressly the challenges that may arise with the changing racial and economic demographics.
I look forward to discussing this issue and others that arise this month. And here’s hoping that the shut down ends quickly!