Alex Schafran

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?

The Road to Resegregation: Northern California and the Failure of Politics 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. I argue that 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. I close the book by presenting paths toward a new politics of planning and development that weave scattered fragments into a more equitable and functional whole.

The Road to Resegregation  offers a vivid and compelling analysis of segregation, twenty-first century style. Spanning historical eras and local geographies, Schafran shows how communities of color became ground zero for the San Francisco Bay Area’s foreclosure crisis. A fascinating account of the choices that produced spatial inequalities at the regional scale.” — Margaret Weir, Wilson Professor of Political Science and Public and International Affairs, Brown University

Click here for access to chapter downloads, media coverage of the book, and links to talks and interviews.

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About Me

Writer. Educator. Planner. Geographer. Researcher.

A bit about my story and my work.

Upcoming events and talks

Other Projects

Housing Vulnerability Analysis

Learn more about efforts to develop analytical tools that enable jurisdictions and housing advocates to better understand the different ways people can lose their homes. Housing Vulnerability Analysis focuses on the differences in housing tenure – your legal relationship to the structure you live in. Includes links to our 2019 Oakland Pilot study, which helped policymakers advocates close a loophole in Oakland tenant protections!

The Spatial Contract

How do systems like housing, water and energy make us free? What is the role of infrastructure in a healthier 21st century politics? How can we envision a new social contract under conditions of growing inequality and climate crisis? New book coming in 2020 from Manchester University Press.

Urbanization as an Economic Sector

What is the role that building and provision cities and towns plays in our economy? For almost a century, we have divided our economy into three sectors: agriculture, manufacturing and services. Most ideas about the new economy accept this division as a starting point. This paper challenges this, encouraging urban and economic thinkers to reimagine urbanization as an economic sector.


My University of Leeds Website

Email: a.schafran [at]

Social Media

Twitter: @alexschafran

Instagram: alexschafran (new site featuring curation by my brilliant students!)

Flickr: Alex Schafran (I have a massive archive of images from around the world, and welcome users interested in collaboration or in using the images with attribution)

LinkedIn: Alex Schafran