Present efforts to solve the "urban crisis" tend to restrict solutions to inner-city poverty and ghetto areas. These ghetto and poverty areas have been the locus of nearly all the research and action programs undertaken by both public agencies and private non-profit groups as part of the war on poverty. Job programs have concentrated on finding employment opportunities for ghetto youths in declining areas. Industrial development programs have concentrated on bringing industry into the ghettos. Housing programs have tried to rehabilitate obsolete slum apartments or "renew" ghetto neighborhoods. The Model Cities program-which was aimed at improving the lives of the urban poor-has tended to restrict chances for such improvements to Model Cities areas.
These programs all share an underlying strategy which is based on a false assumption: because the problems of race and poverty are found in the ghettos of urban America, the solutions to these problems must also be found there. These ghetto-oriented programs largely ignore the geographic distribution of resources throughout metropolitan regions. The resources needed to solve the urban poverty problem-land, money and jobs-are presently in scarce supply in the inner-city areas. They exist in substantial supply in suburban areas, but they are not being utilized to solve inner-city problems or combat poverty and discrimination. As a result, ghetto residents are denied the income gains and improvements in housing quality that would result from freer access to suburban jobs and land.
Paul Davidoff and Neil Newton Gold
Yale Review of Law and Social Action:
2, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yrlsa/vol1/iss2/5