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Title:Inclusive ethnoburbia? A portrait of inclusion in Chicago area ethnoburbs
Author(s):Cheng, Benjamin
Director of Research:Wilson, David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wilson, David
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cidell, Julie; Harwood, Stacy A.; Simpson, Dick
Department / Program:Geography & Geographic InfoSci
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
urban studies
political science
urban planning
Abstract:This dissertation studies inclusion in Chicago area ethnoburbs. The beginning point for this study is geographer Wei Li’s conception of ethnoburbs, which are multiracial, multiethnic suburbs that haved formed in large metropolitan areas across North America in recent decades. My study asks a straightforward question about how newly arrived racial and ethnic groups in these ethnoburbs are broadly included within the exisiting political and civic structures in these communities, a question not extensively explored in the literature on ethnoburbs. In order to measure inclusion, I develop a framework that determines the degree to which local governances in these ethnoburbs are inclusive of racial and ethnic groups in terms of three dimensions of local policymaking: Political incorporation, housing equality, and programs and policies. As I am inherently skeptical that the increased presence of racial and ethnic groups in the suburbs necessarily signals inclusion, a primary aim of this study is to develop a newer understanding about how local governances exclude these groups in the post-Civil Rights era of today. To do this, I draw upon theories and studies from related social science disciplines in order to investigate what new forms of exclusion exist today at the local level in an age when explicit forms of discrimination – like redlining and restrictive covenants – are illegal. I apply these insights when studying my two case study sites of Berwyn and Skokie, two Chicago area ethnoburbs that have transitioned from being overwhelming White communities in the 1980’s and early 1990’s to diverse suburbs today. My study observes how local governances in Berwyn and Skokie publically embrace their newfound diversity as a strength of their respective communities and proffer an increasing number of inclusion-oriented programs and policies. However, this rhetoric of inclusion belies a more complicated reality where racial and ethnic groups are not fully represented in local policymaking, where racialized conflicts occasionally erupt over local ordinances, and where some longtime residents resist developing more meaningful forms of inclusion. In the end, I assert that a number of factors that include a national shift in racial attitudes towards a post-racial outlook and the increased economic stresses placed on inner-ring suburbs like Berwyn and Skokie all militate against local governances in ethnoburbs actively striving towards more inclusion.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Benjamin Cheng
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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