Saturday, June 15, 2013

american political science: the architect of white flight and suburban sprawl


wikipedia | Jesse Clyde Nichols (August 23, 1880 - February 16, 1950), better known as J. C. Nichols, was a prominent developer of commercial and residential real estate in Kansas City. He was born in Olathe, Kansas, attended the University of Kansas and Harvard University. His developments include the Country Club Plaza, the first suburban shopping center in the United States and the Country Club District, the largest contiguous master-planned community in the United States.

He called his method "planning for permanence," for his objective was to "develop whole residential neighborhoods that would attract an element of people who desired a better way of life, a nicer place to live and would be willing to work in order to keep it better." Nichols invented the percentage lease, where rents are based on tenants' gross receipts. The percentage lease is now a standard practice in commercial leasing across the United States. Nichols was prominent in Kansas City civic life, being involved in the creation of the Liberty Memorial, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Midwest Research Institute, as well as the development of Kansas City University, now the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His philosophies about city planning greatly influenced other developments in the United States, including Beverly Hills and the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, as well as Shaker Heights, Ohio. Modern outdoor shopping centers, now common in the United States, share a common ancestor in the Country Club Plaza, which opened in Kansas City in 1923. The Urban Land Institute's J. C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development[1] is named for him. Moreover, the New Urbanists, developers who design to combat suburban sprawl, look to the Country Club District as a model for modern developments.

J.C. Nichols relied on restrictive covenants to control the uses of the lands in the neighborhoods he developed. Most of the covenants restricted the lands to residential uses, and contained other features such as setback and free space requirements. However, homes in the Country Club District were restricted with covenants that prohibited African Americans and Jews from owning or occupying the homes, unless they were servants. Nichols did not invent the practice, but he used it to effectively bar ethnic minorities from living in his properties during the first half of the century. His restrictive covenant model was later adopted by the federal government to help implement similar policies in other regions of the United States. Ultimately, the 1948 Supreme Court decision Shelley v. Kraemer made such covenants unenforceable. Nevertheless, covenants remained on the deeds to properties developed by J.C. Nichols for decades after the Supreme Court decision because of the practical difficulty of changing them. (The deed restrictions in most neighborhoods renew automatically every twenty to twenty-five years unless a majority of the homeowners agree to change them with notarized votes.) In 2005, Missouri passed a law allowing the governing bodies of homeowner's associations to delete restrictive covenants from deed restrictions without a vote of the members. To this day, the Country Club District is predominantly white, and it is among the wealthiest, most sought-after neighborhoods in the United States, and has still been plagued with numerous accusations of racial profiling against minorities by police and security officers in the area.

17 comments:

CNu said...

not only restrictive housing covenants and white flight, but the whole deuterostomic catastrophe of urban sprawl emanated from this sphictorial exemplar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_sprawl

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Joyce M said...

During the Great Depression, people sold homes in a neighborhood here called Freedman's town. It was a block from downtown. The properties were put up for rent. Then the area was redeveloped and the tenants, including those in public housing were tossed out. A city program that sold the new housing left the African Americans out. In the neighborhoods close to downtown, everywhere, people are being pushed out and condos are moving in. I saw an episode of a crime show that showed older houses in Kansas City, Missouri were abandoned and falling down. A serial killer had to call the police as nobody else would call after seeing or smelling the bodies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz6PmKDEUQM The homes could have been rehabbed before they decayed, but the poverty pimps just want our poor to move from one new rich man's development to another. The city I live in holds back housing that is designated to be purchased by the working poor and allow the homes to deteriorate. The valuable land is near the city center. Black people need to hold on to those areas. Let the people in the burbs burn gas and sit in traffic. I took my daughter to where my old apartment once stood, two blocks from downtown. She was wowed at the vibrancy, the museums, shops, bistros and old growth trees. You can walk around the neighborhood without being run down by an SUV. Although, I want to eventually retire to the country, as a young single person I loved living near the city center.

CNu said...

Ironically saturday morning, my daughter accompanied me on my regular junket out to the superflea. We basically drove down and around the outskirts of the old eastside/westside divide, to where you could easily observe the beginning and end of the hood as it abuts the near northside. The near northside is just across 12th street and is a demarcation between a working class neighborhood that's still alive with stores, bodegas, and halal markets, restaurants, you name it. Immigrant neighborhood, sudanese, somali, vietnamese, mexican, etc..., historically, way back in the day, it was a primarily italian neighborhood.

But the demarc between the hood and the near northeast is plainly visible because there is scant little of such working class establishments in the hood. Anyway, on the way back, we came up prospect, and within 3 blocks of where your 1st48 episode found bodies stacked like cordwood, there was a small crowd of riff-raff at 2702 prospect and a fight was being instigated between a husky belligerent middle-aged man and a tall, athletic transvestite hooker. (You can see the building on google maps street view.)

Old dood smacked a big gulp type drink out of the tranny's hand - and it was on. Didn't last very long as the tranny was infinitely more fit than the instigating belligerent. My daughter urged me to get out of the car and stop the fight. (not likely) She had literally never seen a fight before and found it disturbing, thinking that the tranny was going to get stomped.



I told her not to worry, fights are decided by fitness, and against that older slob, the tranny was an olympic athlete. As predicted, the tranny knocked old dood clean out. Just another saturday afternoon in the hood at 27th and prospect.

CNu said...

What you've described about the reconfiguration of downtown and near downtown areas is going on everywhere in earnest right now. One of my mentors, a banker who has retired from a long a storied career - has returned to his hometown and is trying to organize the local black chamber of commerce to resist the organized effort to push black folks out of the near downtown historical neighborhoods occupied for generations. I don't get the sense from him that he's altogether sanguine about his prospects, because there are entrenched attitudes about collaboration and cooperation that are a barrier to working together.

Joyce M said...

We had a group of robbers preying on gay people. One night, they tried to rob a transsexual person and one was beaten to death with the heel of a high heel shoe. The victim of the robbers ran away, but through the media, found out that they were acting in self-defense and would not be charged. Here, robbers and home invaders are often killed. My daughter had seen a murdered women and told me, "Mommy, the lady is lying on the street." I looked and saw a murdered women, left uncovered by investigators. I tried to climb into the backseat to cover her eyes, but it was already too late. Fights, what's that? I have been at the scene of murders, just as an innocent bystander--including two disco shootings. Once, I heard gunshots outside my workplace and told the deputy standing guard. He informed me that he was not getting killed just 2 years from retirement. He was not trying to be Walker, Texas Ranger. So, as long as the shooting is down the street and he is a block or two away, everything will be OK.

Joyce M said...

I took my daughter to my own stomping grounds to show her what kind of life she could have as a young, single, CHILDLESS, career girl. Her dad gave us gift cards from I-tunes and Amazon. My daughter is very retro-minded and used her I-tunes card to download mostly 60's episodes. I have to often ask her who's singing a particular oldie, because she knows better than I do. Anywhoos, one of the shows she wanted to see more of is "That Girl". She also wants to see more of "Get Christy Love" and "Laverne and Shirley". I do see a promising trend that some young women who don't want any part of the sexual revolution. She told me that she is not yet willing to give up the cushy life with mom and dad for a man, just yet. It seems her earlier experience with a real care infant stimulator doll bought the realities of parenthood home to her.

CNu said...

@walker texas ranger, priceless.comedy.gold.....,

Joyce M said...

I looked at the photo of the neighborhood. There are empty lots. My husband has an interest in aquaponics and some charities have aquaponic grow houses in poor neighborhoods. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRnulbOqo0k &http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxT7OXdNenc&list=FLGwHH982JiZkdogx-HNSz9w&index=14

Of course one gardener was questioned about police after a neighbor heard hydroponics and called police. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0bsPkDanHk&list=FLGwHH982JiZkdogx-HNSz9w&index=6

CNu said...

What kicks off tonight in KC http://www.pitch.com/FastPitch/archives/2013/06/17/urban-grown-farms-and-gardens-tour-kicks-off-at-the-library-tonight

There's a very big opportunity here, given the existence of millions of unused sea containers and the podponics model of redeploying these as very efficient grow reactors http://www.podponics.com/

Joyce M said...

While I hate eating fish, my family loooooooves fish. My husband is very interested in Aquaponics mostly because of the fish. I am mostly interested in the fruits and vegetables. So, with aquaponics, we meet in the middle and agree. My paternal grandmother fed her 8 children and their families from her farm. Her house had separate rooms for freezers, canned fruit and veggies and baked desserts. We traveled to her home every two weeks. My grandmother spent her days harvesting, canning and freezing. She sent her cattle and hogs to the butcher who would butcher and wrap in exchange for half the animal. My aunts would pluck, butcher and wrap the chickens. The grandchildren would help with the harvesting. If you add shrimp and fish to the aquaponics, it will add valuable protein to the diet of poor people.

CNu said...

Then Mr. M must be up on Will Allen an'em http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2010/01/food-security.html


Your grandmother sounds exactly like my maternal people from Wiggins Mississippi. But even the Colorado/Kansas paternal folks would keep the equivalent of small orchards and enormous gardens, and can fruits and vegetables like it was their job. I remember peaches, watermelon pickles, all manner of good things every year, like clockwork.

Uglyblackjohn said...

Wait... You're from Texas? I'm in Texas. Beaumont. Shrimp and fish... We get those by the sack (along with crawfish).

Joyce M said...

I have been through Beaumont many times. Then you may know where Silsbee and Newton county is. My maternal family is from Newton and later some moved to Silsbee. This is a great video where shrimp are integrated into the system. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYNUOZpIOUY

Joyce M said...

Actually, I've been advocating for land, home, energy and food security for a while. Land that is zoned agricultural is taxed a less lower rate. An ordained minister's house and one acre are tax free here. Considering how much we spend on food every year, paying more for acreage would be better than paying $4,000-5,000 for a quarter acre residential lot.

Joyce M said...

There is a government program to assist growers in extending their growing season. http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/programs/?&cid=stelprdb1046250

Uglyblackjohn said...

I have a nightclub here and I know lots of people from Silsbee and Newton. I thought Beaumont was small until I visited many of the outlying towns...