The New Neighbors
Episode 2: The New Neighbors
by Andrea Torrice
Release Date: 2009
Total Running Time: 27 minutes
America’s “first” suburbs, those suburban communities built next to America’s urban centers, were once the birthplace of the American Dream. Driven by a desire to escape the smokestacks of the central cities, and a housing shortage following World War II, thousands of suburban homes were rapidly constructed and middle class families flocked to fill them.
Sixty years later, many of these original suburbs are facing a crisis: a dwindling tax base, population and business loss, decaying infrastructure, increased racial tensions and white flight. Lacking polices to help reverse these trends, many towns are looking for strategies for revitalization.
The New Neighbors tells the inspiring story of two ordinary people, one black and one white, who made racial integration the centerpiece of revitalizing Pennsauken New Jersey, a first suburban town of Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. Working with an integration specialist, the documentary shows how the town council and residents implemented a unique strategy of “stable integration” in their housing market. Pennsauken has become one of the most vibrant, integrated towns in the country. Narrated by Academy Award-nominated actress Ruby Dee, the documentary includes original archival materials along with expert commentary from David Rusk and Angela Glover Blackwell.
For more information about community screening opportunities and upcoming public television broadcasts, visit www.thenewmetropolis.com.