posts in metros & neighborhoods

Several weeks ago, my Silver Spring neighborhood experienced a rash of petty thefts from parked cars. Word spread through our neighborhood listserv. Nothing major, it happens toward the end of every summer, and some neighbors admitted to leaving their car doors unlocked. One neighbor, however, strongly advocated that the police increase patrols in our neighborhood. It's a rational course of action, and most of my neighbors—the majority of whom are white—probably thought so as well.

But I also know from collecting data on the topic that more than half of black and Latino residents in the DC area report that the fear of police arresting or questioning them affects their daily lives. About a quarter of both groups say that this fear affects their daily lives "a lot." It's possible that increasing the police presence in our neighborhood might worry our black and Latino neighbors more than the car break-ins. By way of comparison, just over one in ten white residents feared police on a daily basis, and most of those who did said that it only affected their daily lives "a little."

I participated in a panel yesterday to discuss the book Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia by my friend and colleague, Willow Lung-Amam. I have written out a summary of my comments on this very important and timely book below.

Cover of *Trespassers? Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia by Willow Lung-Amam

I want to congratulate Dr. Lung-Amam on the great accomplishment that this book represents. People who want to understand race in its contemporary context should read this book. I intend to assign it to my students for this very purpose.

The way that Lung-Amam scales different levels of geography was impressive. She connects factors as large as the geopolitics of global capital and migration flows to those ...

I hope that you will forgive the shameless self-promotion, but I recently published a paper in Sociological Science (yay open access!) that examined neighborhood racial change in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston metropolitan neighborhoods with an amazingly talented colleague, Siri Warkentien.

We find mixed results related to future racial integration. On the negative side we find that recent estimates overestimate the stability of long-term racial integration. Previous studies don't really examine the pace of neighborhood change, which reveals many integrated neighborhoods are in fact resegregating.

On a more positive note, we find that some neighborhoods really do maintain multiethnic segregation over many decades. We call those neighborhoods "quadrivial ...

In the commotion of moving and starting my new job, I neglected to post about two articles that came out last month that I worked on for quite a while. The first, Reassessing Residential Preferences for Redevelopment, was published in City & Community last month in a special issue on gentrification. My paper argues that much of our public policy and debate regarding changing residential preferences for gentrification occurs without actually measuring preferences in the population. Using the 2004-5 Chicago Area Study, I do just that to show that preferences break down along groups defined by home ownership. Home owners in the city of Chicago, regardless of race, are ...

Rolf Pendall posted a short, interesting piece on the suburbanization of poverty at the Urban Institute's new Metro Trends Blog. In it, he questions the basis of determining cities from suburbs in the service of understanding the "suburbanization of poverty."

His criticism stems from the ambiguity of defining suburbs and cities based on their urban design and physical infrastructure. He demonstrates this ambiguity through examples of Houson, Texas (a city with extensive sprawl); Fremont, California (a suburb with its own employment base and denser development than Houston); and Silver Spring, Maryland (an inner-ring suburb with all of the accoutrements of urban living).

His question is valid and one we ...

After much hard work on the part of very talented people, the website for the Chicago Community Adult Health Study launched this week! For those who do not know about the project, it is an excellent dataset to examine influences of neighborhood environments on health outcomes among adults. The sample comes from all 343 Neighborhood Clusters in the city of Chicago, which allows a wide range of analyses across neighborhood environments. In addition to the survey of informants, there is also very rich data on the physical aspects of the neighborhood environment based on systematic social observations in all of the 343 Neighborhood Clusters.

Estimated Levels of Physical Disorder

I took advantage of this in ...

This week I gave two presentations on my work exploring the consequences of neighborhood change for the evolution of contemporary metropolitan racial and ethnic segregation. The first was at the University of Pennsylvania Sociology Colloquium, which focused slightly more on the substantive conclusions, and the second was presented at the Quantitative Methods in the Social Science seminar series at Columbia University and focused more on the methodological components of the work.

I did not publish the slides for these talks because I will likely be giving the talk again (no spoilers!); however, feel free to contact me if you would like more information about them.

I have come across a problem several times that has been relatively frustrating to deal with. I have data that is downloaded from a site (specifically the Census (which is why this comes up consistently) in which the first two lines of the data contain the variable name and variable description respectively. This is incredibly useful for documenting data. Rather than attempting to figure out what variable pct001001 means, the description of the variable is right there.

The problem with data in this format is that Stata imports variables as string variables with the first observation being the variable description. I could pull the first two lines of the data ...