Beyond “Accidents of Geography”
Elizabeth J. Mueller and Shannon S. Van Zandt argue that private restrictive covenants, land use and zoning regulations, and federal housing policies have played a major role in creating income and racial segregation. In turn, public school systems funded by property taxes tie school performance to segregated housing. But the bulk of the paper focuses on two types of policy remedies: (1) housing vouchers and housing counseling that attempt to move low-income and minority households to neighborhoods with better schools (mobility-based policies); and (2) efforts to enrich educational and other services for low-income and minority households (community-based policies). They examine two case studies for the lessons they provide: the Inclusive Communities Project in Dallas, Texas, a mobility project, and Foundation Communities in Austin, Texas, a community-based project. The authors argue that both approaches are needed and both can be effective, but that policy makers using these approaches must use them flexibly, adapting to the opportunities and constraints presented by the particular city in which the policy is being used.
This paper was presented at the Lincoln Institute’s annual Land Policy Conference in 2013 and is Chapter 12 of the book Education, Land, and Location.