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The Effect of Urban Containment and Mandatory Housing Elements on Racial Segregation in US Metropolitan Areas, 1990–2000

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Urban containment and state‐imposed mandatory housing elements in comprehensive land use plans attempt to reshape development patterns. Urban containment programs reign in the outward expansion of urban areas by restricting development of rural land outside urban containment boundaries and focusing the regional demand for urban development areas within them. This article assesses the effect of urban containment and mandatory housing elements on the percentage change in racial segregation change among US metropolitan areas during the 1990s. Ordinary least squares regression analysis suggests that while metropolitan areas with strong urban containment efforts saw a higher percentage decline in Anglo/African American residential segregation during the 1990s than metropolitan areas without such policies in place, urban containment had no statistically significant effect on segregation between Anglos and other races. Mandatory housing elements made no difference in racial segregation change between Anglos and any other race. Policy implications are posed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Publication date: August 1, 2004


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