The Road to Resegregation: Northern California and the Failure of Politics

Sponsored by Urban Studies Program


Wednesday, December 5, 2018
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
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Join Dr. Alex Schafran in a discussion about his book, The Road to Resegregation: Northern California and the Failure of Politics (University of California Press, October 2018).

How could Northern California, the wealthiest and most politically progressive region in the United States, become one of the earliest epicenters of the foreclosure crisis? How could this region continuously reproduce racial poverty and reinvent segregation in old farm towns one hundred miles from the urban core?

This is the story of the suburbanization of poverty, the failures of regional planning, urban sprawl, NIMBYism, and political fragmentation between middle-class white environmentalists and communities of color. As Alex Schafran shows, the responsibility for this newly segregated geography lies in institutions from across the region, state, and political spectrum, even as the Bay Area has never managed to build common purpose around the making and remaking of its communities, cities, and towns. Schafran closes the book by presenting paths toward a new politics of planning and development that weave scattered fragments into a more equitable and functional whole.

  • Introduction: Michael Kahan, Co-Director of the Program on Urban Studies, Stanford University

  • Discussant: Carol McKibben, Director of the Salinas History Project

Michael Kahan, PhD is Co-Director of the Program on Urban Studies and Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Stanford University. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, both in History. His research interests include 19th and 20th Century Urban and Social History; Street Life; Urban Space.

Carol Lynn McKibben, PhD is an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. She has been teaching courses in California history, urban history and immigration history for the Department of History and Urban Studies at Stanford University since 2006. She has also engaged in numerous community based research projects on the Monterey Peninsula for thirty years and produced two books on urban California, Beyond Cannery Row: Sicilian Women, Immigration, and Community in Monterey, California1915-1999 (University of Illinois, 2006); Racial Beachhead: Diversity and Democracy in a Military Town (Stanford University Press, 2012) Dr. McKibben is currently working on a community-based research project that aims to re-examine the historical development of the city of Salinas in regional, state, and national context.

Alex Schafran, PhD is Lecturer in Urban Geography at the University of Leeds. A planner, geographer and urbanist, and his research focuses on the contemporary restructuring and retrofitting of urban regions, with a particular emphasis on the changing dynamics of race, class and segregation across space and place. Born and raised in California, he spent a decade as an immigrant rights and housing activist in California and New York before becoming an academic. More information about his work can be found at

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