Many scholars have recently suggested that urban planning has several fundamental problems when it comes to perpetuating racial boundaries and economic divides.  The sociological impact of urban planning on racial segregation explores how city planning decisions affect the structural separation of racial groups within urban areas. It dives into how historical zoning laws, housing policies, infrastructure development, and economic factors have contributed to the creation and maintenance of segregated neighborhoods. This review shows how the systemic inequalities perpetuated by urban planning practices and highlights the importance of addressing these issues to foster more inclusive and fair cities.

It has become common today to dismiss the historical underpinnings of systemic racism, yet an examination of past urban policies reveals a deliberate exclusionary intent.  Historical systemic racism refers to established patterns of discrimination and inequality that have been institutionalized within societies over time, targeting specific racial or ethnic groups. This includes discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that have systematically disadvantaged marginalized communities. The long-term effects of historical systemic racism manifest in various ways, such as disparities in wealth, education, healthcare, and criminal justice outcomes. These effects can persist across generations, maintain cycles of disadvantage, and limit opportunities for affected individuals and communities. Addressing historical systemic racism requires acknowledging its general influence and understanding strategies to break its enduring legacy and promote equity and justice.

In their recent work, scholars have offered harsh critiques of federal agencies for employing tactics that reinforce racial divisions, such as redlining and the construction of interstates through minority neighborhoods.  The social construction of race refers to how sociological beliefs, views, and classification shape our understanding of race and racial identities. Rather than being biologically determined, race is understood as a social construct that is influenced by historical, cultural, and political factors. This construction of race has significant impacts on societal infrastructure, including policies, institutions, and systems. It can lead to racial biases in areas such as housing, education, employment, healthcare, and criminal justice, viewing inconsistencies and inequalities among different racial groups. Recognizing the social construction of race is crucial for understanding and addressing systemic inequities and promoting the development of more inclusive and fair societal infrastructure.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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