Skip to content
CityLab
Housing

How the Federal Government Built White Suburbia

Federal housing policies didn’t just deny opportunities to black residents. They subsidized and safeguarded whites-only neighborhoods.
A 2007 photo of 52 Oaktree Lane in Levittown, New York.
A 2007 photo of 52 Oaktree Lane in Levittown, New York.Mary Altaffer/AP

Just two minutes into the first address at the 2015 National Fair Housing Conference on Tuesday, the conversation turned to Show Me a Hero. It was only a matter of time. Housing policy and Winona Ryder just don’t intersect that often.

But the conversation got real just as quickly. Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, gave a barn-burner of an address at the conference, a program convened by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.