Using public education as a gauge to measure racial and ethnic change in urban areas
Inner-City Revitalization and Minority Suburbanization
Search the full text of this book
Dennis E. Gale
Quite apart from its imposing federal buildings, majestic national monuments, and glamorous international embassies, Washington has experienced the social and economic upheavals that have affected major metropolitan areas since World War II. Unlike most cities, however, the District of Columbia challenges the conventional wisdom that urban centers continue to deteriorate while suburbs persist as racially exclusionary enclaves. Since 1970, the city’s central core has witnessed vast revitalization and its minorities have migrated to the suburbs. While this demographic shift is not entirely unique to Washington, few cities have undergone the degree of change that has occurred in our national capital.
In his assessment of the impact of racial, socioeconomic, migratory, and political shifts on the Washington area, Dennis Gale focuses on public education. Using it as a gauge of the character and quality of public services, he examines how rapid racial and ethnic change has affected local politics and public policy.
"[Gale] describes just bow the center city has been immeasurably improved and repaired, but nevertheless remains segregatedeven if the color of the inhabitants has switched from black to white.... The book also documents how, in a sort of double leapfrog the poor families displaced by gentrification ended up in the outer neighborhoods of the District or spilled over into the poorer sections of Prince George's County, while the black middle class from those areas went on to suburbanize the rest of Prince George’s County.‘"
"Gale writes from a planning perspective, and brings a welcome sensitivity to the role of the government in urban development. He thus provides the insight and knowledge to understand not just the range of possible futures, but also how Washington, DC, and its suburbs have arrived at their present state."
"[This book] is a thorough compilation of the enlightened wisdom on the economic success of the Washington area over the last few decades, and the effect it has bad on the area’s black population...a very useful one-volume reference work on class and race in the area."
"A lively analysis that will be of great interest to students of the urban scene.
Dennis E. Gale is Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planing and Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies at the George Washington University.
In the series
Comparative American Cities, edited by Joe T. Darden.
No longer active.