Professor Myron Orfield, Executive Director of the Law School’s Institute on Race & Poverty, is among experts providing commentary and perspectives in “The New Metropolis,” a two-part documentary being aired on some public television stations across the country.
Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Andrea Torrice, “The New Metropolis” examines issues facing America’s aging first-ring suburbs. The documentary is the first public examination of communities built after World War II and then considered the embodiment of the American dream. Now, with crumbling infrastructures and the lure of newer suburbs, these communities face growing poverty and abandonment.
The documentary is divided into two 30-minute episodes: “A Crack in the Pavement” follows public officials in an Ohio suburb struggling to repair the infrastructure and save their community. “The New Neighbors” shows how two ordinary citizens in a Philadelphia suburb revitalize their community with racial integration.
As the series has been released, by region, across the country, it has generated community discussions on revitalization strategies, tax policies, demographics, and more among public and school officials, municipal leaders, planning commissioners and others in many communities.
In the Twin Cities, the nonprofit organization 1000 Friends of Minnesota is hosting a November event featuring filmmaker Torrice at a “community conversation.” After a showing of the documentary to a local audience, invited panelists will offer insights and a Twin Cities context and invite ideas from the audience. The event is made possible by support from the Ford and Surdna Foundations.
In a video clip on the 1000 Friends of Minnesota site, Professor Orfield comments on Minnesota’s tradition of racial justice. The state has a history of leadership in civil rights and fair housing, yet today Minneapolis and first-ring suburbs have more than 100 racially and socially segregated elementary schools. “A racially fair region is good for people of all colors, for communities, for our economy,” Orfield says. “Minnesota can lead the country to a better place, not follow it to a weaker one.”
Airing of “The New Metropolis” is expected on Twin Cities Public Television this fall/winter. Check local listings for airdates.