Where You Are Location, location, location

Big Questions

Much emphasis is often placed on the "home". Countless books, plays, and songs have been written about going back, and it is clear that there is an emotional attachment to home. The same emphasis, politically, is placed on the opposite- when people are denied housing.

How Does Location Affect Who You Are, and What Are Forces Trying to Determine Where You Live?

How does location affect who you are?

Comfort- Quality of Life and Standards of living

The quality of life is one factor which is almost entirely dependent on where you live. For example, in a high income area, whether or not you have a high income yourself, you will have more access to civic amenities, because the city will have more money to pay for services. On the other hand, in a high income environment, prices are generally higher, and it costs more to live there.

Living in a poorer area, however, has further consequences. Civil services done usually by the town or state may not be covered due to lacking funds. Additionally, crime rates in poorer areas tend, on average, to be higher than in wealthier areas.

The term standard of living takes into count the financial gap, education standards, comfort standards, and access to material goods for a certain geographic location. Looking just at average incomes on a small scale level, then can tell you a lot about the life in a certain location.

Lifestyle- Jobs, Habits, and Education

Lifestyles, including jobs, habits, and levels of education varies as well with location. The education gap is one of the most obvious signs of how life varies with where you live. For example, when comparing ACT scores both nationally and locally, a trend emerges. For example, in inner-city areas, students score systematically lower than their suburban counterparts, and in rural areas, due to vast differences in schools, some schools exceed their suburban counterparts, while some fall short of their inner-city counterparts.

The reasons for this disparity are the same as the reasons above- low funding. A rural teacher on average makes about $5,000 less than an urban teacher, and a rural school, because it has drastically fewer students, gets much less funding.

Graduation rates vary, in addition to test scores, with the quality of education. In cities, which can have both very wealthy districts and very poor districts, the graduation rates reflect a gap. In San Fransisco, this gap is to the tune of 20-30%.

Culture- Customs, Taboos, and Values

As mentioned above, there is a vast difference between urban and rural areas, and the difference does not stop at education. Historically, the "Jeffersonian" v.s. "Hamiltonian" divide has guided discussion on values. An emphasis is placed, rurally, on family values, independence, and religion. In urban settings, however, modernization, progressiveness, and secularism takes the reigns.

Looking at the 2016 election results, we see that the rural population was overwhelmingly voting Trump. Many people voted Trump because he actively defended their jobs. Others voted for a reasons resting more on values- that Trump has promised to take away certain laws that tend to limit the rural way of life, such as gun control and farming regulations. In a time when rural areas are being developed and urbanized, this gesture allowed them to feel safer and more secure.

What Forces Prevent You From Living Somewhere?

Terms, Definitions, and Legal Status

Redlining is the discriminatory practice of refusing loans or other services because people live in poorer areas or areas of a certain racial or economic demographic. The term stems from when the Home Owners' Loan Cooperation used to delineate borders on maps in red lines where banks would not make loans. Active: 1934-1968

Blockbusting is the practice of manipulating white homeowners into selling their property at low prices in fear that racial minorities would move into their neighborhood, further reducing the value of the house. Often, real-estate agents would hire minority actors to pretend to buy a house in an effort to scare white homeowners. After the white people would move out, the homes were sold at much higher prices to the African-Americans. Active: 1910-1968

Racial Covenants or Restrictive Covenants were contractually binding agreements that disallowed homeowners and real estate agents from selling to certain races. This outright segregation was allowed because according to a 1926 supreme court ruling, these private contracts did not apply to the 14th amendment. Active: 1920's-1948

(note that all the final years are when the practices were banned, but they did not end for many years after)


The dominant reason that Redlining existed was that the HOLC wanted to keep their neighborhoods "pure". Instead of diluting the homogeneity of their neighborhoods with African-Americans, they denied African Americans loans, rendering them unable to live in certain areas. By dividing cities into Type A, B, C, and D sectors, they were able to sequester groups together, keeping purity of some areas.

For Blockbusting, the rationale is pretty simple- money. When Real Estate agents would pressure white homeowners to sell the house to the company at the loss, the company was selling the house cheap. Then, because the neighborhood was "higher class" the companies could hike prices for African-American buyers.

Racial Covenants, similar to Redlining, were established as an overt method of keeping certain races out.


The legacy of these segregative tactics is still seen today. Areas in which African Americans and other minorities were sequestered have continued to be segregated, and in some cases, have entered into poverty, with low graduation rates and a low quality of life. On the other side, however, as these practices became more prevalent, African American businesses began to flourish- as they were pushed into smaller and smaller communities, they had to provide for themselves, and as such, people began to practice services that they would have otherwise relied on white people to provide.







Images: First 3 already cited







Created with images by SEDACMaps - "Low Income: 1990" • 3dman_eu - "globe algeria niger"

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