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"“Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” in Older, Diverse Suburbs"

November/December 2013 issue of Poverty & Race

In 2008, the National Commission on Fair Housing articulated a vision of “inclusive, diverse communities of choice,” recognizing that the integration goals of the 1968 Fair Housing Act could be realized in a variety of urban, suburban and rural contexts. The Commission recognized that racial and economic integration in exclusionary high-income suburbs required a different set of tools than the interventions needed in gentrifying city neighborhoods, or in older diverse suburbs already experiencing significant racial and economic transition. These latter communities are highlighted in the new book, Confronting Suburban Poverty (Brookings 2013), and in the article that follows by Myron Orfield, author of Metropolitics, and on page 3 by Alan Berube & Natalie Holmes, co-author of the Brookings book. Older,diverse suburbs present an especially important challenge as HUD moves forward with implementation of its newly announced “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule. These communities can present a vibrant snapshot of the diverse America we are becoming, yet they are also communities at risk of disinvestment and resegregation. We hope the dialogue below will further the search for policy tools and best practices to strengthen and preserve these communities as vibrant hubs of diversity, political engagement and economic opportunity.— the editors

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