Why integrating America’s neighborhoods and cities is harder than we think

White homebuyers are reluctant to look past their preconceived notions of class. Photo by Marilyn Volan/Shutterstock

White homebuyers are reluctant to look past their preconceived notions of class. Photo by Marilyn Volan/Shutterstock

Several residential segregation and racial attitude studies by Maria Krysan, for GCI scholar and professor of sociology, are cited in a Slate.com article examining issues of race and neighborhood preferences.

The main vehicles for this finding are a series of experiments from Maria Krysan, a sociologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In more than a decade’s worth of studies, Krysan and her collaborators have looked at the relationships among neighborhood desirability, class, and race, drawing from surveys and interviews with whites, blacks, and other groups.

In one experiment Krysan and her researchers developed 13 videos showing five neighborhoods of different social class levels: lower working class, upper working class, blemished middle class, unblemished middle class, and upper middle class. Participants would infer the wealth and income of neighborhoods in the short videos by aesthetic qualities: the size of the lots, the conditions of the homes, and so on. A blemished middle-class neighborhood would have homes with overgrown yards and boarded-up garages, while an unblemished one would have neither.

Full Story from Slate »

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