a u-haul truck is parked in the parking lot of an apartment building in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A report published last week by Oakland nonprofit Urban Habitat shows that the Bay Area is resegregating by race and class. In contrast to past patterns of “white flight” from city centers to suburbs, affluent residents are increasingly settling in the regional core, pushing-low income residents and communities of color to the suburban edges of the Bay Area. We talk with the author of the report about the population shift and its consequences, including unequal access to quality education, work opportunities and public transportation.

Related Links:

  • Race, Inequality and the Resegregation of the Bay Area Report from Urban Habitat
  • What’s the Best Way to Boost Affordable Housing? (Forum Archives)
  • Trends Point Towards the Resegregation of the Bay Area, Report Finds 22 November,2016Michael Krasny

    Tony Roshan Samara, program director of land use and housing, Urban Habitat; author of "Race, Inequality, and the Resegregation of the Bay Area"

    • Noelle

      It’s about uneven distribution of wealth. Those without high-paying jobs have to move to Stockton and other outlying areas(this happened before the housing meltdown, that didn’t end well) and those commuters clog up the roads and add to our pollution problems(spare the air days).

    • Frank

      To what extent is identity politics inevitably one cause of the present resegregation? It seems to lead to racism and classism by every group against every other group.

    • Noelle

      I know in San Jose all I see are luxury condos being built. How does that help create more lower income housing?

      • Sar Wash

        Prices rise when there are fewer sellers (fewer housing units) than buyers. It is supply and demand.

    • Kurt thialfad

      How many people can the region and the state support? That is considered the available water supply, air pollution, highway capacity, housing supply. At 40 million, our population exceeds that of Canada, Australia, Poland, etc.

    • Kevin Skipper

      36 years old. Black. East Bay raised by a native San Franciscan. Got back from Hawaii in 2009. Saw the gentrification and neosegregation and felt really angry and depressedfor a long time. Segregated bars . Refused service in restaurants. Monolithic luxury lofts and all white hipster art collectives. Finding I was priced out when I arrived home, I eventually,y brother and I bought camper trailers and for the last year, my brother have installed ourselves smack in the middle of the Oakland Emeryville Berkeley split. The gentrification continues around us. It has gone mostly peacefully but there have been some conflicts. Aggressive complaints about parking, cowboy city employees and the like…
      Some neighborhoods are more friendly than others but one thing is clear: new residents are aware of displacement and they feel pretty bad about it but at the same time feel helpless in the current market.
      Eventually, I plan to start traveling again and work my way back to Hawaii to buy a small rural farming parcel. Seen it before. Its possible for those willing to be creative, connect and take some risks.

    • Frank

      To what extent is the housing market rigged, and how is it rigged?
      I know one means of rigging: There are foreign investors who are buying up homes with possibly ill gotten gains, sending home prices higher.
      Another is the influence of the anti rent control lobby.
      It’s not a pure free market.

      • Kurt thialfad

        Residential housing should be excluded as investment instruments. Speculation in residential housing should be illegal. Just like speculation in human organs should be illegal.

    • aacole

      We just need to build more housing. If you build enough housing pricing will come down. Nothing else will stop the gentrification as people with resources will always find a way to live in the more desirable areas. We just need higher density everywhere. Stop trying to slow down the development.

      • Kurt thialfad

        Grab your hammer.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Slave States
      Jim Crow
      Segregated Schools
      Dismantled schools.
      Affirmative Action Cancelled
      Gentrification Plan Secured

      Old Story

      The “market forces” are about California’s long term plan. It’s about racism and repression of upward mobility. California’s people of color have long existed as a captive class. Place holders for later supplants. Old story. Growing monotonous.

    • johnqeniac

      The future of America under the system of extreme cannibalistic capitalism we have, is unavoidably one of Mumbai-like mega-cities with a central emerald-towered paradise for the rich, surrounded by a ring of ever increasing poverty, squalor, and cardboard shacks for the masses. This place can only degenerate to that. Sorry. Wish it was otherwise. We have committed to this future by our embrace of ruthless, compassionless, soulless, consumption-driven, winner-take-all depravity-capitalism. It’s simple physics.

      • jake3_14

        “It’s simple physics.” That word does not mean what you think it means.

    • Kevin Skipper

      I’m parked in a ” warehouse” district. Mixed use lofts have been held by private occupants for decades. They subdivide their properties without zoning approval then make it a point to cycle strictly white tenants through the units using personal relationships. Not maliciously racist but certainly discoloring in its effect. Ironically, a quarter of the residences in the area are obviously public housing. 100% Black!!! HUD trucks pass by emptying trash but seldom doing any painting or landscaping…

    • Kevin Skipper

      If you love Cali, you have to accept it for what it is. What it has always been. It’s unequal. Arbitrary. Paradoxical in its ongoing invention of liberal racist viciousness. It’s not going to change until certain parties of us are willing to divest. Leave it alone. Stop feeding the impacted environment that stacks us all stop one another, scraping for resources and opportunities.

      Obviously , the inequality and self-contradictory nature of this carefully groomed wilderness state had been it’s own point of attraction.

      Don’t forget. Oppenheimer, von Braun, Fermi, the rest of the Nazi’s and the KKK liked this place for a reason!

      Shouts out to my Ohlone and Miwok peoples!!!!

    • Donald A. Hagelberg

      Racist Garbage——-When my family moved away Berkeley in the ’70s, the Real Estate agent through whom we hoped to sell told us that our property was under restrictions…that we could not sell to people of color. I put on my track shoes with the cleats on them and ran up one side of the woman’s ethical body and down the other side. Until she was able to grasp the concept of “My parents are selling to the black man and his family.” My people have been discriminated against…we were one of the two races which founded the Consumers’ Cooperative of Berkeley, a string of grocery stores and other types of speciality stores in the greater bay area because we could not buy at decent prices when the Co-op’s were founded [1930’s]. Racist Garbage like this still passes today! Against African Americans, Moslems-any race, Native Americans. Grow up! And out of yur racism, Amerikkka!

      • johnqeniac

        Can’t figger out from your spitting rant where you stand on the issue at hand. Please explain.

        • Kevin Skipper

          You can’t because you’re not trying. You only insult yourself.

    • This report dedicates only 3 paragraphs “toward a more just bay area.” Maybe Samara should consider implications of calling the market a “moral crisis” without dedicating your report to policy options.

    • Daniel

      We need to look into progressive property taxes ie something like houses above the median price should be taxed at a higher marginal rate on the value above the median.
      We currently have many regressive fixed taxes that are independent of property value.

    • Daniel

      Gentrification of the city centers is probably in part due to Millennial demographics and as they have more school age children we may see a turn back to the suburbs.

    • Sar Wash

      The biggest problem in the City is rent control. Every legitimate economist opposes rent control as it artificially restricts supply, causes blight and crime, harms homeowners, and creates a moral hazard of people becoming dependent. Abolish rent control entirely and save San Francisco. Every Bay Area resident should read these two articles:

    • Sar Wash

      Gentrification is wonderful and something we need much more. I can tell you as a native of the Bayview that gentrification is needed and wanted there. In fact, every neighborhood in the ‘real’ San Francisco desperately wants gentrification. New amenities, less crime, less blight, high homeownership, additional tax revenues, and improving property values are a wonderful development. If you cannot afford to live here, please move elsewhere. Gentrification means a neighborhood is getting better.

    • Stephanie

      I’ve lived in the bay area for 10 years and I (for better or worse) am part of the white “techy” gentrification of San Francisco. Unlike the segregation of the past, a large part of the reason I live in the city of San francisco (instead of the suburbs) is because of the diversity of the city (both racial and economic). I very much do not wish to live and raise my kids in a place where everyone is rich and/or white. So, I also lament the so called “resignation” of the bay area – and yet I somehow feel as if I’m part of the problem. How can people like me be part of the solution instead? It seems that there must be an opportunity here to take advantage of the fact that (perhaps unlike the past) higher income folks actively want more diversity instead of less.

      • Sar Wash

        The best way to help our City is to invest in our community by buying property at a fare market rate. Renters are not actually part of the community and do not contribute to the City. Also, keep in mind that the City is much less white than it has every been. For most of its history, San Francisco was almost entirely white. Now, white Anglos only make up 42% of the population.

      • Kevin Skipper

        A much appreciated response. Would you care to define, more specifically, what you mean by ‘diversity?’
        Is it possible that diversity, as it exists here in the Bay is simply the privilege of feeling insulated from the isolating indictment and shock of white homogeneity?

        Not to be sarcastic but this is how it sounds to me on a subliminal level:
        “I understand you guys aren’t really part of the tech scene or the university scene or the aristocratic scene or the geek or queer hipster electronic youth scene but still, it makes us feel better to SEE you.”

        I can understand that to a degree and honestly, I don’t think there’s anything to be done about it. Human awareness is variable . This situation offers obvious racial markers which reserve privilege for the usual groups and their continued interest. Some folks will deal with this constructively , others will be deactivated. You can only control your own attitudes, your win heart. Explore your history. YOUR culture. Your lineage. Find out how your story allows you to occupy this space of privilege and opportunity. Never resent it. The no pointin hating your own power. Embrace that. Use that to help people find their own stories. That work offers opportunity for profound sharing. It has the potential to go far beyond this little Nation-State situation we have here. All the best to you.

    • jakeleone

      The problem is that politicians pander to donors, and for the rest bread and games.

      The Warriors stadium is a classic example of this.

      There is plenty of space in Silicon Valley, some (richer jurisdictions Atherton, Woodside, Los Altos…) do everything they can to limit housing, and they have the money to fight this tooth and nail.

      You know Ed Lee is a disgrace for a mayor, kick him out and things will change. A former city manager can only see things one way, more money, less burden means more rich people and less poor people.

      It’s a fact, feel for you San Francisco.

      No, Tim’s case is a big part of the problem. From 1950 to 1965, Silicon Valley double in terms of housing units. Then it took 40 years to double again. But the number of jobs exploded several times. Hey one generation saw the trend, and did everything to bollux up housing developments, we are still feeling the affects the Royer conspiracy to drive up Peninsula housing costs.

    • jakeleone

      The commentator is wrong, this is a purely economic situation.

      And the statement that people are populating areas where they have a greater cultural/race affiliation is pure bologne.

      That’s not it, it is 90% economics. The only exceptions are when people have enough to afford any house in the bay area, in other words those making 300k per year or more, and the fact that that groups is dominated by some ethnic groups is just a fact of our times, nothing more.

      If you look at the outer counties where there has been heavy development, there is a representational ethnic mixture. Because the houses/rents are far more affordable to people of more moderate income (40-100k).

      The market has priced people out people based upon economic class. The market in the bay area is affected by a lot of things, but mostly dominated by speculative real estate development. And unfortunately the tech market is dominated by a few ethnic groups, and techies are of such a majority and such a household income level that they drive prices up, whereever speculators have already claimed the market.

      We could talk about hiring for diversity and encouraging diversity, but the housing market ethnic make up is just an after-affect of the root reality.

      We need to vastly increase the stock of housing on the market, and local government stubbornness is the reason for sluggish (or completely non-existent) response.

      Do you remember when gas was $5 a gallon? About 1/3 of that 5$ was due to speculation in the commodities market. There is a lot of cash out there and when speculators get there eye on a commodity, the prices swing quickly. Hah! all those jerk speculators got burned when the U.S. started producing oil at record levels.

      Just do the same with housing and it will break. It will break, and we can all laugh at how the selfish governments of the Bay Area priced the new-comers, the poor, their own children out of the market.

      And then we can burn the Ed Lee (neo-Royers) types in effigy.


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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