Document Type


Date of Award



Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs (SOPA)

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy

Committee Chairperson

Glenn S. Johnson

Committee Member 1

Robert D. Bullard

Committee Member 2

Lalita Sen

Committee Member 3

David Baker


• Education • Homeownership • Poverty • Racism • Sprawl • Urbanization


There are many states, counties, and cities in the United States of America where people do not have access to basic necessities such as food, housing, proper medical facilities, access to schools, and ready or no transportation, etc. The reason for this situation is due to the issue of poverty. Poverty is an unacceptably low-standard way of life that is a complex human phenomenon. It has multiple causes, manifestations, and dimensions. (Odhiambo, Omiti, Muthaka, 2005) Caddo Parish, Louisiana, is such a place that has high poverty among Black people. The population of African American people in Caddo Parish is larger than the Whites who live there, and African American poverty has more than doubled the White residents. African American poverty in Caddo Parish is higher than the poverty average in the State of Louisiana and is higher than the United States average. The neighboring parish of Bossier is experiencing the same issue as the African Americans in Caddo Parish. Caddo and Bossier Parishes connect by their two largest cities in the parishes, which is named the Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan area. Both cities’ poverty level amongst Black people is higher than the United States National Average. This case study explores and argues how systemic racism has blended into urbanization, sprawl, and politics. The research explores how these factors cause poverty in the Black community and has plagued their progress from the colonization of Louisiana through the American Civil War to the present time in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Dr. Robert Bullard mentions that “racism is and continues to be a conspicuous part of the American sociopolitical system. As a result, Black people in particular, and ethnic and racial minority groups of color, find themselves at a disadvantage in contemporary society." (Bullard, 1994, p. 445) The factor of poverty has caused population change in Shreveport and Bossier City. Shreveport has seen a population decline, whereas Bossier has seen an increase in population. However, Caddo Parish still has a larger population. (Bayliss, 2019) African American homeownership is low considering the heavy populations of these people in the Shreveport-Bossier City area and is disproportionate to the White residents. This study will examine housing discrimination in these areas because housing discrimination denies a substantial segment of the African American community a basic form of wealth accumulation and investment through homeownership. (Bullard, Johnson, Torres, 2000) There are development plans to make the area a more attractive and dynamic location for corporate investments, expansions, and expansion for the future Shreveport-Bossier area. This development attempts to modernize the metropolitan areas’ environmental sustainability, neighborhoods, housing stock, infrastructure, and transportation. Further considerations include aiding with workforce training and business attraction through local organizations and the city’s programs. Eliminating cost-burdened, extremely cost-burdened residences and improving housing conditions for residents with housing maintenance issues are major concerns. The purpose of this case study is to shed light on the history of racism, bad politics, sprawl, spatial mismatch, lack of homeownership, population trends, transportation issues, lack of employment opportunities, high crime, bank deserts, health care, present Jim Crow Laws, and the miseducation of African Americans in Louisiana as these factors play on their social and economic place in Northwest Louisiana. The researcher will use qualitative research to answer questions with spatial and statistical analysis to provide visuals of the data collected on the census tracts. There will be some quantitative information within the qualitative findings. There will be some quantitative information within the qualitative findings. Researchers use qualitative research with some quantitative results because they consider both methods extremely effective for poverty analysis and give a more holistic view to a given study. (Odhiambo, Omiti, Muthaka, 2005) The purpose of this dissertation is to research and understand African American poverty in Caddo Parish, how they ended up in this predicament, and present solutions to rectify the situation. The adverse effects of Urbanization and Sprawl result in poverty. These harmful effects, including the study area, are frequently seen in the African American/Black community. Negative effects of urbanization can be a lack of resources, poverty, unemployment, and overcrowding. Furthermore, the migration from rural areas to metropolitan areas causes congestion that impedes growth and bolsters the negative issues from geographically concentrated poverty, such as crime and violence in Shreveport, LA. This study highlights Poverty, Education, Unemployment, Homeownership, and Renters and contrasts and compares variables in Caddo Parish to Bossier Parish with Black versus White residents with GIS Mapping. The GIS Mapping shows the disproportionate percentages in each factor for the Black population versus the White Population for both Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish, Louisiana. The project distinctively shows (1) inequity and inequality in homeownership, (2) The poor education and miseducation in the Louisiana school system, (3) How incarceration ratios are disproportionate, (4) The lack of employment opportunities in the area, (5) Inequity in public and personal transportation. Furthermore, the results show the negative effects of Black versus White birth rates, IRS inequalities, health care inequalities, and how the factors mentioned in this study are blended in racism, which have kept Blacks in poverty in Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish from the colonization of Louisiana to the last 30 years. Lastly, this study presents mapping, snapshots, and negative effects of food deserts, banking deserts, pay-day loan companies, eye-soar neighborhoods, non-walkable and non-bikeable communities, and lack of enough medical facilities in predominately Black neighborhoods in the study area. Despite the Civil Rights Movement and other Justice Movements, there are still disparities in wealth, employment, health care, education, laws, housing, transportation, poverty, and other factors. To bring change, urban planners and/or environmental justice activists must work diligently to overcome and subdue obstacles to create Smart Growth, Cleaner, Greener Communities, and Sustainable Communities while simultaneously promoting equality and eliminating inequities.


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