Race, Class and Residential Preferences for Urban Neighborhoods

Michael D. Bader, University of Michigan

Racial and economic segregation are persistent problems across American cities, though both have declined in recent decades. One possible reason that levels of racial and economic segregation are declining is the redevelopment and gentrification occurring in many American cities. Redevelopment and gentrification have begun to blur the stark boundaries between central cities and surrounding suburbs along which segregation was long-maintained. Little is known, however, about what makes urban neighborhoods popular and the potential for their popularity to create more integrated metropolitan areas. This paper begins to fill the void by examining who would consider living in Chicago neighborhoods among a sample of metropolitan residents. Based on the evaluations of 16 Chicago communities by 756 respondents and an extensive array of community characteristics, I investigate what attributes of urban neighborhoods metropolitan residents find attractive. I also explore whether these preferences present the possibility for greater racial and economic integration.

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Presented in Session 139: Residential Mobility and Neighborhood Change