Friday, May 29, 2015

More on moving out of bad neighborhoods

I recently shared some thoughts on the US cultural tic of people moving constantly outward from city centers to more peripheral suburbs, in an endless quest to get away from other people that they consider bad.  Here is a profile from the NYT of a Chicago-area family doing precisely that, moving from an inner-ring, predominanty black suburb (surely similar in many ways to Ferguson, MO, though Bellwood, IL has a much longer history as a black town) to a farther-out, mainly-white suburb.  It is a very human and understandable story; the father of the family was shot on his front porch, leaving his traumatized wife and children to seek a safer, more prosperous neighborhood to settle in.  I don't think anyone can fault the family for their decision to leave what they perceived as a dangerous and destitute area.  But it is precisely this dynamic, this trend formed of thousands of individual families like the Polks, that bleeds the neighborhoods and towns they leave behind, and makes them ever-more-prone to crime, poverty, and all the pathologies that arise from the flight of a solid economic base.

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