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Race and Real Estate$
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Adrienne Brown and Valerie Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977260

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977260.001.0001

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The Other Side of the “Free” way

The Other Side of the “Free” way

Planning for “Separate But Equal” in the Wake of Massive Resistance

(p.195) 12 The Other Side of the “Free” way
Race and Real Estate

K. Ian Grandison

Oxford University Press

This chapter conveys the continuing intertwining of racial hierarchy and real estate in America. Focusing on the case of one historically black college/university (HBCU), Virginia Union University, the chapter shows how Richmond, VA, planned its I-95/I-64 corridor in the 1950s to reposition the institution inside a racial reservation. That estrangement, effected, ironically, in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, aimed to dampen the university’s mission to facilitate equal access to citizenship through higher education. City planners forced the campus onto the “wrong” side of the “free” way, deliberately transforming the campus’s immediate and wider setting—the legendary black neighborhood of Jackson Ward—into a landscape of demolition, divestment, industrial blight, and declining equity. This Richmond case study illustrates how racial segregation and inequality continue to be enforced through urban and regional planning, architecture, and landscape architecture—especially connected with highway infrastructure and urban “revitalization”—all over the United States. The chapter reveals that real estate is racially contingent, rigged to protect and enhance the value and inheritance of some institutions and communities while purposively exposing and diminishing the marketable value of others.

Keywords:   Landscape architecture, HBCU, historically black college, historically black university, real estate, highway infrastructure, racial segregation

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