Date of Award

1987

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Marcia Marker Feld

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the decision-making process by which sites for public and subsidized housing in the City of Yonkers, New York were selected, with particular attention to the role of the planner.

The basis for this study is a landmark court decision handed down by Judge Leonard B. Sand of the Southern District Federal Court. In the United States vs. the City of Yonkers, et al. Judge Sand found a causal relationship between the segregated conditions of the city's public housing and schools and decisions of federal, state, and local agencies. Judge Sand found that the City Council and the Community Development Agency of Yonkers, deliberately located public and subsidized housing in a heavily minority, downtown area of the city, Southwest Yonkers. This pattern of segregated housing supported a school board which internationally maintained a racially segregated school system.

The hypotheses of this study are twofold; first, that the professional planners, by and large, refused to acknowledge the relationship between the composition and location of housing and the resultant segregation of schools. For example, they did not understand the relationship between the location of public housing and the issues of school segregation planning, bus routes, feeder patterns, and school enrollment composition. And second, that planners were ineffective in influencing, or would not engage in, the political process which promoted housing segregation through the site selection process over the past forty years. In addition, they refused to influence the school districts' decisions which promoted school segregation. These hypotheses are explicated by an analysis of how site decisions for public housing were made with emphasis on the role of the planner.

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