Inequality and the Urban Spatial Structure

WCPC Seminar Series on Poverty and Policy: Winter 2009

Presented by Paul M. Ong
Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles
Monday, February 9, 2009  3:00 - 4:00 p.m., questions / discussion until 4:30 p.m.
Parrington Hall Commons, Room 308
University of Washington


Paul M. Ong is Professor in UCLA’s School of Public Affairs and Department of Asian American Studies. He has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Washington and a doctorate in economics from UC Berkeley. He is currently the Director of UC AAPI Policy Program and founding editor of AAPI Nexus: Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy, Practice and Community. He was the chair of UCLA’s Department of Urban Planning, director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, and acting director of the Institute for Industrial Relations. He has conducted research on immigration, civic and political participation, economic status of minorities, welfare-to-work, health workers, spatial inequality, and environmental inequality. He has served on advisory committees for California’s Employment Development Department and Department of Social Services, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, the California Wellness Foundation, the California Community Foundation, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the National Research Council, the California League of Conservation Voters, Asian Pacific Legal Center, and PIU of the British Cabinet.


The relationship between the urban spatial structure and racial inequality is complex and mutually reinforcing. The urban spatial structure is comprised of the relative locations of where people live, economic activities, and public infrastructure, and the physical and social networks that link these components. Racism shapes spatial patterns through discrimination in the housing and other markets, and racial segregation in turn contributes to systematic differences in access to opportunities and resources. These effects can be seen in a number of key arenas, including employment, education, the environment, and health care. Minority communities are further isolated because of poor transportation resources. Public policy can play a role in minimizing the impact of spatial inequality.


See the slides from this presentation here