Think about the last time you looked for a new apartment or house. Maybe you asked your friends or colleagues about where they lived. You thought about your route to work, or that neighborhood you always drive through on your way to your kid’s soccer practice. Many of these places were familiar to you, whether from an occasional visit or part of a daily routine. And if you’re like most people, you ultimately moved to a neighborhood you knew about first- or secondhand.
That decision helped, however unintentionally, to cement patterns of residential segregation, says Kyle Crowder, a University of Washington Professor in the Department of Sociology and co-author of “Cycle of Segregation,” published in January by the Russell Sage Foundation. In the book, Crowder and his co-author, Maria Krysan of the University of Illinois at Chicago, focus on Chicago neighborhoods, the opinions of residents and the past and present policies that shape the city — put simply, a city known for its white neighborhoods on the north side, and black neighborhoods on the south and west.
Chicago, Crowder and Krysan point out, has some characteristics particularly endemic to large, industrial metropolises that grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But relatively newer cities like Seattle don’t escape the economic, political and social forces that create and maintain segregation, Crowder said. Nor is addressing them an easy fix.
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