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22 Feb 24

For decades, the American public perceived poverty as an “urban containment” that trapped poor Black families in low-income neighborhoods, while middle-class white families escaped to the suburbs. Though substantial demographic shifts have made containment an ill-suited metaphor for the current century, low-income Americans of color still bear the burden of geography. Drawing on her research in Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta, Margaret Weir examines the politics of exclusion and opportunity in the new American metropolis. She focuses on two core questions: How, despite all the changes over the past four decades, have we recreated a metropolis that makes it harder for low-income Americans – especially those of color – to work and thrive? And how is it that some efforts to promote opportunity and connection succeed against the odds? Despite entrenched patterns of exclusion, Weir sees glimmers of hope for more equitable cities.

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