Although more suburban towns are experiencing a growing racial
diversity, resistance to subsidized housing remains, reflecting
a continued strong bias toward segregation by class.
(Easton Resident): It's partly values, partly attitudes. The
fear that we have of those who are somewhat different. And there
is a reality that we don't want to risk having a poorer
education. We don't want to risk having slums in the community.
(Farmington Resident): I think it would be fine to have a wide
diversification if they could take care of things and have a
strong work ethic and improve beyond what theyíve been given
and it wouldnít bother me in the least as long as they wanted
to live within the same lifestyle as everybody else. Itís the
journey to get there. And if
we as taxpayers give people things, thereís no journey so
thereís no appreciation for what you get.
(Farmington Resident): I mean 20 years ago I had to work and go
to school and raise a child at the same time and my husband had
to work to get to the point where down the line we could get
here. And I mean it would have been wonderful if somebody gave
me money to buy a house. I would love it. But I wouldnít
some suburbanites, itís not who you are that determines
whether you are welcome in a neighborhood, itís how much you
(Darien Resident, formerly of Hartford): I donít think that
anyone sitting here would have a problem with some Black actuary
who works at the Aetna living next door to Ďem. I mean or, you
know 10 Black actuaries who work at the Aetna.
Daly (Unionville Resident): But doesnít that make it a class
issue rather than a race issue.
ROB WERNER: Well,
itís both. Itís both. Itís just people are more suspicious
of minorities because there are these problems that people tend
to associate with minorities.
(Consultant): We had been in an urban setting all of our married
years prior to moving here in 1977. I donít want to live next
door to someone who is not maintaining their property. But that
to me doesnít have anything to do with what they make, or
whether theyíre section 8 or whether they're white or black.
Race matters in this country, but I would hope that as weíve
grown as a society that itís not so much of a factor as it
used to be. What weíre really faced with now is economic
isolation. And thatís certainly going to have an impact on
race because if you are a person with a darker skin in this
country the opportunities are still limited.
CITY & ITS SUBURBS
"Suburban" once described an intimate relationship
with the city. Now it defines a wide -- and emotional
HERB JANICK: The
suburb represents everything that the city isnít. I think thatís
pretty important. I mean the city is crowded. The city is dirty.
The city is unhealthy. The city is made up of different people,
different races, different classes, and the suburb is the
opposite to that.
MIKE SWIFT: We
people almost take on an article of pride here that they will
say, "I havenít been to Hartford in 20 years. I donít
need to go there." And theyíre proud of saying things
like that. Itís very strange to me. Itís not unusual now to
hear developers, even academics say, "Maybe we need to just
throw away the cities and start anew." And that attitude is
out there and I think itís getting stronger.
NARRATOR: What do
suburbanites think about the city?
(Avon Resident): I used to hear people all the time and say,
"Oh, whereíd you guys move from?" Hartford. "Ohhh.
Hartford!" [LAUGHS.] You know. Yeah. And I would get like
militant, "Yeah, Hartford. Thatís where we moved
from." You know?
Daly : I know plenty of people where we live that are fearful of
coming into the city. It doesnít cross their mind to come in
for anything. Iím just amazed.
Yeah, thereís a lot of people like that.
Daly: I think number one is the fear factor. They hear of the
violence. They see it on television. Theyíre afraid. And
somehow the cultural events donít override the fear. And plus
the suburbs are starting to offer a lot more that the city used
to offer: shopping, restaurants, some cultural events - limited,
MICHAEL DALY (Unionville
Resident): I couldnít imagine that there were actually people
who would be neighbors of mine less than 15 minutes from the
city who would go 5 years without coming in. And their only
connection is the television news at 6 oíclock to the city.
exodus to the suburbs continues to put great stress on middle
class neighborhoods in the stateís cities
People are surprised that there are neighborhoods like this one
that look very much like a place where Wally and the Beaver grew
up. Most of the people who have lived here a long time take
tremendous pride in their homes and itís the kind of place
where people go out on Saturday mornings and sweep the street in
front of their house.
You can see thereís
4 for sale signs in a row and thereís a 5th one
right back there and these are the kinds of things that make
living in this neighborhood unsettling because you never know
whoís going to move in and you try and keep an open mind. Most
people who do move in will be no problem, but past experience
has told us that some of the new neighbors will be problems and
bring some of the ills traditionally associated with urban
problems into the neighborhood.
difficult to talk about this without getting into
generalizations which are often unfair. And you also have to
deal with the racial issue. But often times what is
characterized as a racial issue is in fact a cultural or social
Hartford had the greatest percentage of population decline of
any major city in the nation from 1990-1994, losing 11% of its
population; New Haven, Bridgeport and Waterbury were among the
top ten population losers.
MIKE SWIFT: This
remains the richest state in the union if you look at per capita
income yet, we have inner city areas where in some neighborhoods
if you look at census tracks which are blocks of areas about
several city blocks, you have incomes which are like down to 1/2
what they are in East St. Louis, you know, some of the most
depressed urban areas in the country.
And the cities have been left with the poorest of the poor and
all of the municipal overburden providing for social welfare and
public safety. I think that leads to ultimate social unrest in
the future and causes all sorts of consequences for the state.
Manufacturing jobs have historically been the first step into
middle-class life for the unskilled worker. But the cities no
longer provide many manufacturing jobs.
is also a mere shadow of what it was in the glory days of the
downtown department store.
unskilled urban resident has no easy way to get to the suburbs,
where jobs are increasingly located.
Within Hartford there are something like 20,000 households in
the 1990 census which did not have an automobile which is an
amazing statistic. Those are people that are essentially shut
out of the labor force in terms of the real growth going on in
jobs out in the far suburbs.
NARRATOR: If the
cities fail, will the suburbs follow?
Metropolitan Hartford is one economy. If property taxes in
Hartford get so high that Aetna decides we canít afford it
here anymore, itís unlikely that theyíre gonna relocate to
Simsbury. Theyíre probably gonna go to Georgia or North
Carolina, Raleigh-Durham, wherever. And that is going to going
to reek havoc in the suburbs just as much in the cities,
possibly even more.
JEFF DAVIS: Only
if we have economically vibrant and socially vibrant cities are
we going to have economically and socially vibrant economy as
well as state. So even though the suburbs may set the agenda, I
think it is a misplaced agenda because what we should be
concerned about is the condition of our cities.
uncertainty of job security in a weakened defense- and
insurance-based economy has led many suburban residents to
hesitate when confronted with the risks involved in helping the
MICHAEL DALY: Iím
not sure why Connecticut that is in such deep economic straits
for everybody has to think it should be at the forefront of this
particular issue of doing something to change everything. I
mean, if you have a lot of people who have flown to the suburbs
and now you take away their ability to achieve that existence,
maybe the people who are the CEOís of the companies that are
here now might say, "Why am I here? I mean, we donít have
to be here in Connecticut. Weíll go somewhere else where this
doesnít exist." And I just have to ask myself why
Connecticut feels it should be at the particular forefront of