Latino Urbanism: The Politics of Planning, Policy, and Redevelopment

Latino Urbanism: The Politics of Planning, Policy, and Redevelopment

Latino Urbanism: The Politics of Planning, Policy, and Redevelopment

Latino Urbanism: The Politics of Planning, Policy, and Redevelopment


The nation's Latina/o population has now reached over 50 million, or 15% of the estimated total U.S. population of 300 million, and a growing portion of the world's population now lives and works in cities that are increasingly diverse. Latino Urbanism provides the first national perspective on Latina/o urban policy, addressing a wide range of planning policy issues that impact both Latinas/os in the US, as well as the nation as a whole, tracing how cities develop, function, and are affected by socio-economic change. a The contributors are a diverse group of Latina/o scholars attempting to link their own unique theoretical interpretations and approaches to political and policy interventions in the spaces and cultures of everyday life. The three sections of the book address the politics of planning and its historic relationship with Latinas/os, the relationship between the Latina/o community and conventional urban planning issue sand challenges, and the future of urban policy and Latina/o barrios. Moving beyond a traditional analysis of Latinas/os in the Southwest, the volume expands the understanding of the important relationships between urbanization and Latinas/os including Mexican Americans of several generations within the context of the restructuring of cities, in view of the cultural and political transformation currently encompassing the nation.



The last three decades of the twentieth century marked the beginning of epochal socioeconomic transformation of U.S. society. The economic reverberations of these changes have continued through the first decade of the twenty-first century as the income and wealth gap continues to widen. Nowhere is this more obvious than in U.S. cities and surrounding metropolitan areas, where the damaging effects of the deep recession on the living standards of working-class, lower-class, and middle-class American workers and their families are felt the most.

In addition to macroeconomic trends, immigration and population shifts have had a tremendous economic impact on U.S. cities. Recent protests in major cities across the United States against several proposed changes in U.S. immigration policy and citizenship status have once again brought attention to big cities, where much of the precipitous growth of immigrant populations has occurred.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2011), as of April 1, 2010, an estimated 50.5 million Latinos lived in the United States, making people of “Latino origin” the nation’s largest ethnic minority group. Latinos constituted 16.3 percent of the nation’s total population of nearly 308.7 million. It was projected that this population would grow to nearly 132.8 million by July 1, 2050, and that Latino men, women, and children would then constitute 30 percent of the nation’s population. The Mexican American population constituted 63 percent of the nation’s current 50.5 million Latinos, with Puerto Ricans another 9.2 percent, Cubans 3.5 percent, and Salvadorans 3.2 percent. The remainder were of some other Central American, South American, or other Hispanic or Latino origin.

William H. Frey (2001), in a recent publication of the Brookings Institute, asserts that over half of America’s cities are now majority nonwhite. Primary cities in fifty-eight metropolitan areas were “majority minority” in 2010, up from forty-three in 2000. Cities lost only about half as many whites in the 2000s as in the 1990s, but “black flight” from cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Detroit accelerated in the 2000s.

Frey also reports that ethnic minorities represent 35 percent of suburban residents, a proportion similar to their share of the overall U.S. population. Among the hundred largest metro areas, thirty-six feature “melting . . .

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