Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities

Brookings Institution. May 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780815737278. $24.99. SOC SCI
Just over one in three U.S. Blacks (37 percent) live in metropolitan area neighborhoods that are majority black, and U.S. cities with populations of more than 50 percent Black are on the rise, notes Perry (Metropolitan Policy Program fellow; Brookings Institution; The Garden Path). That purposeful clustering results from policies designed to devalue black people and their assets, he argues, adding that such racist, white-centered social practices defeat sustainable economic growth. He offers a vision of urban planning that adds value to majority Black cities by recognizing and removing biased policies, and by paying attention to people rather than to physical environments. Reviewing local history of six urban sites—Atlanta, Birmingham, Detroit, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and his native Wilkinsburg, PA—he provides comparative analysis with personal stories to demonstrate exactly how racism devalues blacks in the U.S. Included are achievable projects to expand options that develop social connections and secure families with reproductive justice.
VERDICT Especially for students of urban planning and public policy but also for those seriously interested in equity and social change in America, this work combines extraordinarily readable, well-documented data analysis with a people-oriented call for activism.
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