90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
‘Snob Zones’ And A Divided America

Snob zones.  How two-tiered America is playing out in real estate and zoning.

Watch Hill, Rhode Island (Flickr/Latham Jenkins)

Watch Hill, Rhode Island (Flickr/Latham Jenkins)

Suburban poverty on the rise, was the big headline recently.  But not all suburbs, by any means.  Not in all those leafy towns.

In “income inequality” America, there’s a lot in motion.  A drift toward segregation not by race but by class.  It’s so pervasive that we hardly think about it.  About the privileges that accrue to wealth.  The obstacles that gather round the poor.  The barriers that can quietly climb between the two.  It’s hardly new, but it’s in a new generation now.

This hour, On Point:  Snob zones, money lines, real estate and how we live now.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Lisa Prevost, real estate and journalist and author of the new book, “Snob Zones: Fear, Prejudice, and Real Estate.”

Douglas Massey, professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. Co-author of the report: “Density Zoning and Class Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas.” Author of “Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System.”

Bill Bishop, contributing editor at the Daily Yonder, a web publication about rural America. Co-author of “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Connecticut Post: How zoning protects the rich and harms a community — “In her introduction, the author said she was inspired to do the book by a stormy zoning meeting in Darien Town Hall in 2005 over a proposal to build affordable housing for senior citizens in a very expensive, single-family neighborhood. On her way into the meeting, Prevost was shocked to hear someone who lives in ‘one of the most highly educated, exceedingly affluent communities in the country’ use the foulest language possible in questioning why a TV reporter was attending the session.”

The New York Times: Middle-Class Areas Shrink as Income Gap Grows, New Report Finds — “In 2007, the last year captured by the data, 44 percent of families lived in neighborhoods the study defined as middle-income, down from 65 percent of families in 1970. At the same time, a third of American families lived in areas of either affluence or poverty, up from just 15 percent of families in 1970.”

Boston Globe: Poverty finds the suburbs — “Moving to the suburbs used to mean having made it—having earned the house, the car, the lawn—and being set for the long haul. But over the past decades, the suburbs have changed. Dream houses have fallen into disrepair; dream jobs have disappeared. As urban housing costs soared, immigrants with few resources bypassed cities to be closer to suburban jobs, and low-income families moved further out in search of opportunity. Meanwhile, as the economy shuddered, established middle-class suburbanites saw their incomes shrink.”

Excerpt: ‘Snob Zones” by Lisa Prevost

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 2, 2015
In this Tuesday, March 4, 2014 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, right, speaks before the screening of the television documentary "Israel: The Royal Tour" at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. (AP)

On the eve of Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, we look at the US-Israel falling out over Iran nuclear negotiations.

Mar 2, 2015
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows an artists rendering on how a gamma ray burst occurs with a massive star collapsing and creating a black hole and beaming out focused and deadly light and radiation bursts. Astronomers and space telescopes in April 2013 saw the biggest and brightest cosmic explosion ever witnessed, a large gamma ray burst. (AP)

A super-massive black hole, newly discovered, deep in space. We’ll peer into the realm of the black hole.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 27, 2015
This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

Going back to Lead Belly. The blues legend is back. His influences, as big as ever.

 
Feb 27, 2015
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

A US-Israel rift. A win for net neutrality. “American Sniper” verdict. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: February 27, 2015
Friday, Feb 27, 2015

We won’t lead you into a debate on the color of #TheDress (it’s blue and black, end of debate), but we do wonder about the blurring lines between so-called Internet culture and general popular culture. Also, it’s snowing in Boston. Still.

More »
Comment
 
Two Congressmen Weigh In On DHS Funding
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland present their views on the ongoing Congressional budget fight over Department of Homeland Security funding. (Spoiler: They do not agree on a resolution of the crisis).

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February
Friday, Feb 20, 2015

We explain what happened with the old podcast feed this week and last, share some other Oscar categories and reminisce about the golden days of Double Rainbows and Honey Badgers who just don’t care.

More »
Comment