How do our public policies about credit and financing impact the shape of our towns and cities? What happens when credit policies and other financial decisions intersect with racism and changing demographics? The historian Beryl Satter takes a look at these issues in her book, Family Properties, which tells the story of financial discrimination in the housing and financing markets that shaped the development of Chicago. Satter’s account of financial racism is told through the prism of her father’s work, as a Chicago lawyer, seeking to remedy these discriminatory practices. You’ll find a review by David Garrow here, and you can listen to an interview with Satter on public radio’s Diane Rehm show here.
In the Shaping Our Towns and Cities project we’ll be looking at issues such as these as we explore different possible futures for the shape of our communities. We won’t be studying the past, but in light of the past we will explore the possible intersections of public policy, financing, racial attitudes, and demographic changes as we look to the future.