Michael R. Fisher Jr.
African American Studies
Current Research Activities
My ongoing major research project is a monograph currently titled Black Urbanism: Toward an Afrofuturist Vision of Community Building. It argues that mixed-income housing creation as market-driven urban social policy must be abandoned because it serves as a vehicle of death for Black communities in high-poverty neighborhoods. The following questions guide the project: 1) What accounts for the adherence to mixed-income housing as urban social policy despite it's track record of failures and residential displacement? 2) How should this policy failure be interpreted within American culture, particularly with regard to Black life in U.S. cities? 3) What is an alternative model for urbanism that promotes the well-being of Black communities in high-poverty neighborhoods?
Research Connections to Current Events
Studies of the consequences for displaced public housing residents who moved to mixed-income neighborhoods indicate that mixed-income housing as a place-based solution to urban concentrated poverty is a policy failure on the grounds that it pushes poverty to other areas within cities and doesn’t largely produce the outcomes alleged by its proponents. In fact, residential, cultural, and political displacement of predominantly Black residents who live in high-poverty areas is the most salient consequence of the creation of mixed-income neighborhoods. Despite this fact, the devotion among policymakers in partnership with commercial banks, real estate developers, and urban planners to create mixed-income housing in high-poverty neighborhoods remains commonplace is ongoing. My book project interrogates the reasons for this devotion and pushes for an alternative model for the redevelopment of high-poverty urban neighborhoods in the twenty-first century.
Personal Connections to Research
This project is informed by my previous careers a public policy advocate and activist working on housing policy in Washington, D.C.
Community building; ethics and public policy; neighborhood change; poverty; race and socio-economic inequity; racial capitalism; urban redevelopment