Places and neighborhoods, understood as social entities, are produced institutionally [italics original], within ecological and technical constraints, by social and political struggles over competing uses of space, resources, and people.
-- Wacquant, 1995, p. 427
To this point I've talked about community-school relations in terms of educators' interactions with parents and business sector influences on curriculum. This perspective is obviously too limited. The neighborhoods kids and parents reside in are positioned in larger cityscapes. Kids' relations with these neighborhoods and their schools are not static but are patterned in space and time. Of two kids sitting next to each other in a classroom, one can live in a house her family's owned and lived in since she was a child, and the other might have just moved into an apartment complex. The neighborhoods themselves can have different relations to the school the kids attend. One neighborhood might surround the school, and others might be miles away and have no historical ties to the school. In this chapter, I explore these kinds of positionings of kids in neighborhood spaces and begin by examining the histories of those neighborhoods.
When Thurber's attendance zone was restructured in the late 1980s, it expanded beyond the European American area around and contiguous with the school, and two African American neighborhoods, both far from the school, were added. One, Eaton, was an area of about 12 square blocks consisting mainly of single-family residences (with a few large houses transformed into apartments); the other, Farewell Estates, was