Believing its Own Rhetoric: The Impact of Knowledge and Creative Development Accumulation on Racial-Ethnic and Occupational Segregation in Austin, Texas
Robinson, Megan Elizabeth
This mixed-methods dissertation uses historical archival materials, segregation indices, and regressions of change in proportions of residents employed in occupational groups on changes in racial-ethnic group proportions over a 40-year period as a means of examining the role of the state in accumulating knowledge and creative development initiatives associated with the creation of unequal burdens of development. In doing so, this dissertation examines the thesis that knowledge and creative city development social structures of accumulation function to restructure economically vulnerable populations out of fundamental institutions like work and leisure that organize urban life. Using Austin, Texas as a case, I hypothesize that knowledge and creative development accumulation contributes to economic and social polarization by inducing social closure. The findings support the chief hypothesis examined in the dissertation: the City of Austin’s commitment to knowledge and creative development accumulation is significantly related to declines in the city’s Black and Hispanic populations over the duration of key periods in Austin’s developmental history. These findings are consistent with racial banishment theory and indicate that local government can exercise considerable agency in constructing the content of their SSAs. As such, this dissertation advances theorization on the role of the state in the execution of knowledge and creative city development SSAs by identifying state-sponsored acts of social closure and exclusion within the racialized developmental contexts of their occurrence. The findings suggest several public policies for mitigating or minimizing racial banishment attributable to knowledge and creative city development approaches. These policies strive to decentralize structures of power in urban development by calling for the integration and participation of community coalitions in SSAs, transparent and contextually driven policy language, community benefit agreements, and skill-matching workforce development programs.