Media Coverage

"Investigating the Roots of Exclusion in San Francisco"
Oct. 10, 2019

The racially segregated patterns of housing in the United States have roots all over the country, in federal policies and practices and written and unwritten local rules. A new report from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley, aims to show that the San Francisco Bay Area — long considered a bastion of progressive values — is no exception to this rule, and was in fact on the vanguard of some racist housing practices.

The report is called “Roots, Race, & Place: A History of Racially Exclusionary Housing in the San Francisco Bay Area.” It traces the ongoing racial and economic segregation of San Francisco and environs to a series of explicitly and implicitly segregationist policies and practices in history, concluding that “the region’s past and present are both stories of a system of racial capitalism, in which race and racism are fundamental to the creation of profit and accumulation of wealth.”

Focusing less on nationally common practices like redlining and more on locally rooted exclusionary zoning and racial violence, the authors depict a history that often goes unacknowledged in the Bay Area, but that helps explain some of its ongoing inequalities today.