Mass Suburbanization & Ethnic Flight

Great article from New Geography.

An excerpt.

For the first decades of mass suburbanization, the movement from urban cores often has been referred to as “white flight”. But now major metropolitan area living patterns indicate something much different, what might be called “ethnic flight.” The four largest racial and ethnic groups (called “ethnicities” in this article) are overwhelmingly concentrated outside the urban core, in the suburbs and Exurbs. These four largest ethnicities are White Only Not Hispanic, African American Only, Asian Only and Hispanics.

This article documents the population and growth of the four largest ethnicities within the 53 major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population) according to the 2012-2016 American Community Survey (middle year 2014) and the change since the 2000 census. These four ethnicities account for more than 95 percent of the nation’s population. The balance of three percent includes smaller one-race ethnicities and people reported to be of multiple races.

This analysis uses the City Sector Model (Figure 15), which classifies small areas within metropolitan areas based on the nature of their functional urbanization. The classification uses factors such as population density, employment density, automobile orientation and age of development, rather than political jurisdictions.

The concentration of the four largest ethnicities in the suburbs and exurbs is now so great that none of these groups have more than 25 percent of their population living in the urban cores. The highest percentage living in the urban core is among the African-American, at 24.4 percent. Asians are second most likely to live in the urban core, at 20.3 percent. Hispanics are even less inclined to live in the urban core, at 17.4 percent. White Non-Hispanics, began moving to the suburbs and exurbs earlier, have the lowest urban core percentage, at 10.0 percent.

White Not Hispanic

White Non-Hispanics have been overwhelmingly moving to the suburbs since (at least) World War II. The 90 percent living in the suburbs and exurbs includes 38 percent in the Earlier Suburbs, 30 percent in the Later Suburbs and 22 percent in the Exurbs. More than five times as many White Non-Hispanics live in the Later Suburbs and Exurbs as in the urban cores.

At the same time, White Non-Hispanics continue to increase strongly to the Later Suburbs, adding 5.1 million since 2000, while the inner suburban population, those built generally from World War II through the 1970s, has declined 3.9 million.


Perhaps most surprising, and least appreciated, is the movement of African-Americans to the suburbs. The more than three-quarters of African-Americans living in the suburbs and exurbs is concentrated in the Earlier Suburbs, where nearly 43 percent live. But a large number of African-Americans also live further out, with 33 percent living in the Later Suburbs and Exurbs, far more than live in the urban cores.

Moreover, this trend is picking up momentum. Since 2000, the African-American population has declined by 640,000 in the urban core, while the suburbs and exurbs have gained 4.4 million. This growth, like that of White Non-Hispanics, now shifts increasingly to the farther reaches of the metropolitan area. The two outer sectors — the Later Suburbs and the Exurbs — accounted for nearly 99 percent of African American growth, with only one percent in the three more inner sectors.


The nearly 80 percent of Asians living in the suburbs and exurbs are mostly found in the Earlier Suburbs (43 percent) and the Later Suburbs (30 percent). The 6.5 percent of Asians living in the Exurbs is the smallest among the four largest ethnicities. About twice as many Asians live in the outer sectors (Later Suburbs and Exurbs) as live in the urban core.

Asian population growth was also concentrated in the suburbs and exurbs with 86 percent of the total. The largest increase was in the Later Suburbs and the second largest growth was in the Earlier Suburbs.


The majority of the 88 percent of Hispanics living in the suburbs and exurbs are concentrated in Earlier Suburbs, although 35 percent now inhabit Later Suburbs and Exurbs, twice as many as now reside in the urban cores.

Like the other ethnicities, Hispanics are showing an increasing preference for the suburbs and Exurbs. The Later Suburbs gained the most, at 5.0 million, while the Earlier Suburbs had a gain of 4.8 million. Since 2000, 93 percent of Hispanic population growth has been in these sectors.

Ethnic Trends in the Metropolitan Sectors

There is some double counting in the data, as a result of the two dimensional classification system used by the Census Bureau (race and Hispanic or non-Hispanic). The effect in this data is relatively small, with three percent of African Americans being counted in the African American and Hispanic categories, and one percent of Asians.

The Urban Core CBDs had the most unusual ethnic trend over the period. The two most affluent larger ethnicities dominated growth. The highest income ethnicity, Asian had growth equal to 42 percent of the total CBD gain. White Non- Hispanics, second in incomes, were equal to 69 percent of the growth. Hispanics equaled 21 percent of the growth. African Americans, the lowest income ethnicity among the four, had losses balancing off the gains of the other three groups, equal to a minus 21 percent of the growth in the CBD.

The changes in the other four sectors were substantially larger than in the CBD. In the Urban Core Inner Ring, there were substantial White Non-Hispanic and African American losses, while the Asian and Hispanic populations increased.

In the Earlier Suburbs, there were substantial White Non- Hispanic losses, comparatively small African American gains, and larger Asian and Hispanic gains.

All four ethnicities had large gains in the Later Suburbs, with the largest gain by Hispanics. In the Exurbs there were large gains by White Not Hispanics and Hispanics, while the gains by African Americans and Asians were smaller .

Retrieved September 7, 2018 from


Posted in demographics, History

Shootings Near Parkway

The story is from the Sacramento Bee.

An excerpt.

One man is dead after being shot on a bike trail bridge, one of two unrelated shootings that happened within minutes of each other Friday night near the American River Parkway, police said.

Around 10 p.m., officers responded to a call of a man shot between downtown and Northgate Boulevard near Del Paso Boulevard. Police said that at the river crossing they found a man with a gunshot wound who was unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Sacramento Fire Department paramedics.

The man’s identity has not been released by the coroner’s office, and no other details were available, police said.

Minutes later, another shooting occurred near the Garden Highway on-ramp to southbound Interstate 5, police said, when a passenger in one car fired shots into another vehicle. One passenger, a woman, in the back of the car was shot and taken to the hospital with injuries not consider life-threatening, police said.

After an initial investigation, police said the shootings about a mile and a half apart were unrelated, said Linda Matthew, a police spokeswoman.

Retrieved September 8, 2018 from

Posted in Public Safety

Sacramento’s Central City Rebounding?

A good article about it from Comstock’s Magazine.

An excerpt.

Throughout Sacramento’s central city, houses, apartments and businesses have often sat next to vacant lots. It’s been a sign of economic imperfection and, perhaps, of Midtown’s funkiness, with the land sometimes turned into unofficial parks, urban gardens or vehicle parking.

This is starting to change.

Much of the developable land around the central city has a project on it at the moment, from Blvd Park Place on F Street to newly-built loft apartments at 19th and Q streets. With the economy bustling and housing in short supply throughout the Sacramento region, the rate of vacant lot development on the grid is noticeably high.

“I’m not sure if it’s an all-time high, but it’s certainly a high level of development throughout the city,” says Tom Pace, Sacramento’s planning director. “And, I would say, one of the highest levels of development that we’ve seen in the central city in decades.”

While Pace didn’t have exact numbers to share, there’s undoubtedly new life for a lot of pieces of land steeped in history.

“None of these vacant lots were always vacant,” says William Burg, a local historian. “It’s not like they just been sitting fallow since John Sutter was around. I can pretty much guarantee that every vacant lot used to have a building on it, but they were lost for one reason or another.”

Remembering the Garage

Take the land for Blvd Park Place. Later this year, five newly-built single-family homes will come on the market. A street-facing Craftsman-style house could list for as much as $1.2 million, depending on the cost to finish construction, says real estate agent Ted DeFazio. The other four residences, which face an alley, will be in the $700,000 range.

The land used to be something quite different, though. Originally part of Sacramento’s first state fairground, the neighborhood was developed as Boulevard Park in the early 1900s. Today, it’s on a register of historic neighborhoods. And old-timers in the neighborhood, such as 91-year-old Bob Pugh, remember what the land for Blvd Park Place once was.

“This was Campbell’s Garage years ago,” says Pugh, who grew up in the neighborhood and has lived across the street since 1969. “He took care of all the neighbors’ kids’ bicycles and whatnot. He was a great guy.”

The former owner of the shop, George Campbell, died in 1977, though his 88-year-old son, George Jr. Campbell of Elverta, says his father bought the shop in 1919, running it for 27 years before selling in 1946 to a Pontiac Dealership on 16th Street that was across from Memorial Auditorium. Aside from fixing bikes, Campbell repaired automobiles and let people park their cars on the land for a monthly fee. Campbell loved working on cars. “That’s all he ever done all his life,” George Jr. says.

Pugh remembers Campbell as a short, stocky man who liked to smoke cigars, starting with a fresh one in the morning and smoking it throughout the day. Campbell would sit in a big chair, his son remembers, and doze with his cigar, always William Penn brand. “You touch it, he was wide awake,” George Jr. says.

It’s unclear when the shop was demolished, though a 2016 letter to the City of Sacramento says an electrical shop operated on the property from 1946 to 1970. Pugh says that when he moved back to the neighborhood in 1969, the garage was gone, although a gas pump still sat on the land. George Jr. remembers seeing the land vacant sometime in the 1980s. “It was a surprise to me to see it gone,” George Jr. says.

For years, the land sat empty, serving at one point in recent years as an unofficial parking lot for classic cars. It took a long time for plans for the land to crystallize.

Getting to Infill

Infill development — that is, building in an existing neighborhood on a piece of land that is either vacant or slated for redevelopment — has many benefits to the surrounding area. For one, getting vacant lots out of neighborhoods arguably improves them.

The area of 19th and Q streets, for instance, used to be a quiet area with several vacant lots. The neighborhood bustles now. Sixty-eight luxury apartments are just coming on the market as part of the Q19 development. Diagonally across the street, the Truitt Bark Park opened last year.

“I don’t know that it’s ever desirable to maintain empty lots,” planning director Pace says. “Empty lots can be a source of blight and make a neighborhood feel incomplete.”

Local historian Burg agrees: “To make room for growth, those vacant lots are important and we need them for housing,” he says

Retrieved September 5, 2018 from

Posted in demographics, Economy

Can Isleton Come Back?

I think most of us who are familiar with Isleton certainly hope so—I know I do—so this positive article from Comstock’s Magazine is heartening.

An excerpt.

Lucy, a once-feral cat, scampers over as the front door of the Isleton Chamber of Commerce (her new home) squeaks open on Main Street. A middle-aged man and woman enter — out-of-towners who have come to patronize an antique shop only to find it closed yet again.

“She’s only open on weekends,” explains Jean Yokotobi, who serves on the chamber board and owns the historic building where it operates.

“There’s something I was interested in,” says the man. “It’s still there. I can see it in the window.”

He trails off as his eyes drift to an old photo of the town’s early residents. Yokotobi fills the couple in on some local history.

“We were here last Wednesday, too,” says the man.

“You know, none of the shops are open on Wednesday,” Yokotobi tells him.

“It doesn’t seem like most of them are open ever,” he replies, listing off other attempts he’s made to patronize downtown businesses. The visitors say thank you and head back outside, the door clanging shut behind them.

On this hot Monday in June, Isleton’s historic downtown is largely empty. “Closed” signs hang inside storefronts — even the few with “open” signs switched on or flipped outward are locked. With so many shuttered properties in muted, faded hues along Main Street, it’s hard to distinguish a public business from a private residence, making casual window shopping an uncomfortable proposition. A woman walks with her young daughter in tow, and a few men sit together on a park bench — not even a Delta breeze to stir the silence.

Many of Isleton’s roughly 850 residents like the quiet of living in this tiny city in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. But within the solitude of this sleepy town comes a hint of something more. It was once a bustling hub, settled by Chinese and Japanese immigrant workers who turned Main Street into a vibrant commercial and residential district. But that was before a series of natural disasters, economic hardship and years of municipal dysfunction saw residents and businesses leave and investment pull out. A 2008 Sacramento County Grand Jury report — one of many involving Isleton — described the city as “in a state of perpetual crisis.” There’s even been talk of disincorporation, absorbing Isleton into Sacramento County’s oversight.

However, there is a whiff of change in the air: New businesses are moving in, the town is home to a burgeoning creative enclave, and a new revitalization plan is aimed at helping this former “Little Paris of the Delta” thrive again.

“I always tell people, not one community will stay the same forever,” says Yokotobi, a Japanese-American born in the Tule Lake internment camp and raised in Gridley in Butte County. She began visiting the then-bustling Isleton in 1963 and dreamed of living there one day. Four decades later, after it had slowed down, she moved into the second floor of an old building on Main Street — one of two she now owns.

“Obviously, we’re not going to have the same Isleton we had 50 years ago,” Yokotobi says. Those days may be gone for good. And change, according to many residents, is long overdo.

Retrieved September 5, 2018 from

Posted in demographics, History

Suburban Ecosystems

We do not tend to think of ecosystems as being within suburbia, but they are and this article in the amazing book Infinite Suburbia by Sarah Jack Hinners explains.

An excerpt.

Suburban ecosystems, in general, are more heterogeneous and dynamic over space and time than natural ecosystems. In a natural ecosystem, the plant community that exists in a particular location is the product of ecological processes over long timescales; seeddispersal, establishment, and reproduction under the local set of climate and soil conditions, and interactions with other species. In contrast, pant diversity in suburban landscapes is a function of human choices—what species to plant, how to manage and maintain private landscaping—in addition to, and in interaction with, natural processes and uncultivated species (i.e. weeds). Even abiotic conditions such as soil properties and precipitation, ae manipulated by human property owners through applications of soil amendments and irrigation practices.

Thus each individual residential yard is a subsystem with a unique history and management regime, embedded within a mosaic of other yards, parks, and remnant fragments of preexisting land uses. The suburban landscape mosaic exhibits nesting temporal and spatial scales. In other words, the choices of individual property owners are nested within the overall design of a subdivision, which was probably designed by a different firm than the neighboring subdivision. Subdivisions of different ages also each have their own ecological identity, based on factors such as design trends, changing zoning codes, and landscaping choices. The result is that design processes are spatially discrete but also hierarchically nested. In the matrix between these designed spaces, natural processes flourish, at scales ranging from cracks in the concrete of a sidewalk to the network of wild habitat patches that remains in unbuildable areas, such as steep slopes, riparian zones, or conserved open space. (pp. 456-457)

Infinite Suburbia. (2017). (Editors: Alan M. Berger, Joel Kotkin with Celina Balderas Guzman) Princeton Architectural Press: New York.

Posted in Environmentalism

Helping the Homeless & Homeless Deaths in 2017

In our area, a strategy helping the homeless and local residents and business needs to be developed—capable of sheltering up to 2 or 3 thousand homeless a night—and we suggest basing it on San Antonio’s Haven for Hope program  especially the courtyard strategy they use for safe rapid shelter for large numbers, see our news release of September 28, 2015 on our News Page

This article from the Sacramento Bee documents the number of deaths among the homeless during 2017.

An excerpt.

The number of people who died homeless in Sacramento County jumped 75 percent last year, a sad reflection of a growing crisis in the region, officials said.

According to figures compiled by the coroner’s office, 124 homeless people died in the county in 2017, compared to 71 the previous year. Coroner Kimberly Gin attributed the surge to a general increase in homelessness in the area.

“I didn’t notice any particular trends” that might otherwise explain the figures, Gin said.

Advocates said the increase points to a critical need for more shelter beds and programs for homeless people.

“It’s startling,” said Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness. “It’s imperative that the city and county significantly expand shelter capacity, especially for homeless youth, women and seniors to keep people safe and alive.”

Erlenbusch’s agency analyzed the coroner’s data and made recommendations for changes in policies and programs that serve the homeless. Those include more funding for shelters and affordable housing; an increase in spending on alcohol, drug and mental health treatment; and more beds for respite care for homeless people recently released from hospitals.

The coalition has been tracking the deaths of homeless people since 2002 and has found that 900 unsheltered people – roughly one person every six days – died during that period in the county. Nearly 40 percent of those deaths have occurred between 2014 and 2017, said Erlenbusch.

As in previous years, the leading cause of death for homeless people in 2017 was alcohol and drugs, particularly methamphetamine, figures show. Drugs and alcohol claimed 36 percent of the dead last year, followed by injuries such as car accidents, then heart disease. The coroner attributed only 23 percent of the deaths to natural causes.

Retrieved August 31, 2018 from

Posted in ARPPS, Homelessness

Orville Dam Rebar Grid Section Collapses

For those who are not enamored by California’s management of Oroville Dam, this article from Capital Public Radio will lend some more perspective.

An excerpt.

A temporary section of the new Lake Oroville main spillway project fell over last week after two iron braces failed to hold it in place. But the Department of Water Resources says the spillway was not damaged.

The section was a grid made of rebar that was to be used as a guide when pouring concrete. Tony Meyers, the project manager for the Department of Water Resources, says the weight of the grid caused the telescoping braces to bend and fail.

“The braces were engineered by a registered engineer. They’re all good,” he said.

But he added that there was “one caveat”: “The manufacturer’s specifications that if the braces, if they are extended past 30 feet, need to have a secondary brace on them.”

The wall was higher than 30 feet, however, and the braces did not have a secondary brace to support them.

Meyers says the structure took about 10 seconds to fall and people working nearby were able to move to safety. No one was injured.

DWR says it chose to disclose the incident in the interest of the public receiving accurate information.

Crews are working to replace the top section of spillway after completing the bottom two sections last year. This incident has not delayed construction.

Retrieved August 28, 2018 from

Posted in Government, Shasta Auburn Dam