How Urban Planning Choices From Decades Ago Effect Sacramento Residents Today

A long road stretching through a residential area with only one stop light

What makes a neighborhood “wealthy”? This question has been asked many times and many people have attempted to provide a reasonable answer. Some think it’s the work that the community does, some data shows that the racial makeup of an area has a say in what makes a neighborhood rich or poor. According to an article by Vox, an independent online media outlet, living in a poor neighborhood can perpetuate an unending cycle of hopelessness and diminish one’s ability to ever gain wealth.

According to Vox, racist policies during the civil right era still have significant ramifications into today’s world. One example provided was the U.S Federal Housing Administration in Detroit during the mid-1900’s. The FHD refused to support African-American or White developers that wanted to develop an African-American neighborhood. The FHD only gave the loan needed to begin construction to the developer once a “6-foot-tall, half-mile-long wall” was built to segregate the White and African American neighborhoods. Even today, the disparity within those two neighborhoods are still significant to this day.

Could it be that the same has happened to people in Sacramento? When the Sacramento wealth statistics are looked at, it shows that most wealthy neighborhoods are predominantly populated by White people while the poorer areas are predominantly home to African Americans, Hispanics, and other races. The average household income of a Sacramentian is roughly $48,000  per year, with income averages closer to $90,000 in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of White people. On the other hand, the average household incomes of African-American communities are closer to $20,000.

To some Sacramento residents, the culture of division is what has always been.

“When you put a person who makes a million dollar [house] next to a person who makes twenty thousand dollars, there will be a problem,” says Mr. Martin Young, a Sacramento school district psychologist with the Sacramento City Unified School District. While residents and advocates work towards changing these situations, the change comes slowly because after a community is developed it is difficult to transform it all the way down to its foundations.

Note: Repeated attempts to get a comment from the City of Sacramento Planning Department before deadline were unsuccessful.