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Summary — 'good government' can go bad
"Hidden Spatial Inequality" Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities 2009


  • These local government spatial policy tools are important parts of the administrative apparatus of municipalities to regulate the evolving landscapes.

  • The spatial policy tools exist because of the large aggregate societal benefits when they are applied correctly.

  • But the powers also create and institutionalize racial disparities. 

  • This result may be intentionally racism or merely a by-product of ‘economically rational’ actions like optimizing tax revenue; the effect is the same.

  • Local governments can – and do –
    • diminish or deny minorities' political standing in local affairs,
    • limit minority access to public services, and
    • reduce the value of minority property.

  • Racially-disparate application of the power to shape local political geography creates barriers to equality that are difficult to discern on the ground, but which can be made visible though mapping of spatial data.
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