Serial Forced Displacement in American Cities, 1916–2010


Serial forced displacement has been defined as the repetitive, coercive upheaval of groups. In this essay, we examine the history of serial forced displacement in American cities due to federal, state, and local government policies. We propose that serial forced displacement sets up a dynamic process that includes an increase in interpersonal and structural violence, an inability to react in a timely fashion to patterns of threat or opportunity, and a cycle of fragmentation as a result of the first two. We present the history of the policies as they affected one urban neighborhood, Pittsburgh’s Hill District. We conclude by examining ways in which this problematic process might be addressed.

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Correspondence to Mindy Thompson Fullilove.

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Fullilove, M.T., Wallace, R. Serial Forced Displacement in American Cities, 1916–2010. J Urban Health 88, 381–389 (2011).

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  • Serial forced displacement
  • Segregation
  • Redlining
  • Urban renewal
  • Planned shrinkage
  • Gentrification
  • Foreclosure
  • Community disintegration