An ethnogeographic account of neighborhood change : a case study in East Flatbush, New York
Tobias, Ruth Anne
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This study is concerned with the changing pattern of population distribution in East Flatbush, New York, and the financial arrangements that fostered the change from an all-white to an almost entirely black population from 1960 to 1980. Many of the new homeowners and landlords were black West Indian migrants, who moved into the neighborhood in large numbers during this relatively brief period, even though conventional credit for home mortgages and business loans was not readily available to them. The institutionalized roles of businessmen, realtors, bankers, and homeowners, and the effects of West Indian ethnicity on those roles, are central to this work. The study explores 1) the absence of a focus on the importance of financial processes in the early literature on the topic of neighborhood change, and 2) the corollary roles of decline and disinvestment in urban areas, commonly known as redlining. Census and interview data were used to explore the change process as it occurred in East Flatbush. The findings of the present study corroborate those of other works which indicate that federal government-insured mortgages played a major part in allowing whites to move out of and blacks to move into urban neighborhoods.