to black occupancy. The gap between the black and white communities persists, however. Federal housing policy since the 1960s has played a role in fostering race and class dispersion in the suburbs, although available evidence suggest that the full potential of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and various housing subsidy programs has not been realized. It is clear that segregated racial residential patterns continue to characterize the suburbs even as large numbers of more affluent blacks join the center city exodus. It is also clear that the dynamics of the local housing market dictate the variations in the pace and scope of black entry into white suburban communities across the country. Yet as this analysis has suggested, the suburban opportunities in both publicly assisted and private housing have fostered social changes that have redounded to the benefit of blacks, particularly since 1970. Assuming that the trends of the past decade persist, there is a basis for cautious optimism that black suburbanization will continue to reduce urban racial disparities. Pursuing housing and neighborhood improvements rather than residential integration appears to be a more realistic objective of the suburbanization process over the next decade.
As a general assessment, the quality and quantity of black housing in suburbia have grown appreciably since 1950. Certainly the past fifteen years have witnessed an accelerated movement of blacks from deteriorated city neighborhoods to better quality housing along the urban fringe. When black suburbanization is examined within the context of metropolitan development in various parts of the nation, however, there is less basis to state that qualitative improvement in housing has been a universal experience. Even more affluent black migrants have been limited in their entry to newly constructed communities, settling instead for housing filtered through former white occupants. Blacks have not secured a share of new housing units commensurate with their population growth in suburbs. Even among the substantial number of poor blacks that have joined the migration to the suburbs, the increasing quantity of subsidized units largely has been closed off to them. Resegregation in the suburbs has perpetuated the qualitative inferiority of black housing as compared to that of whites. It would seem that the dispersal of increasingly larger numbers of blacks into white communities in selected metropolitan areas has opened doors that can only lead to future qualitative and quantitative gains. In the final analysis, however, if the current trends continue, the urbanization of the suburbs will most likely result in the maintenance of segregated residential patterns in the new urban frontiers.
Berry Brian J. L. 1973. Human Consequences of Urbanization: Divergent Paths in the Urban Experience of the Twentieth Century. New York; St. Martin's.