Linking Historical Discriminatory Housing Patterns to the Contemporary Alcohol Environment

Richard Casey Sadler, Thomas Walter Wojciechowski, Pamela Trangenstein, Alan Harris, Zachary Buchalski, Debra Furr-Holden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on alcohol outlet density consistently shows greater disparities in exposure in disinvested communities. Likewise, structural racism via discriminatory housing practices has created many of the issues that beset contemporary disinvested neighborhoods. Little work, however, has examined the relationship between housing practices and alcohol outlet disparities. The central premise of our work is that these discriminatory and inequitable practices create distinctions in the alcohol environment, and that such disparities have implications for work on alcohol policy. Here we link alcohol outlet density with a spatial database examining redlining, blockbusting, and gentrification in Baltimore, Maryland, and Flint, Michigan (two cities with common experiences of urban disinvestment over the last 50 years). Standard measures are used to account for the impacts of neighborhood racial, socioeconomic, and housing composition in a multilevel model. Our findings highlight that gentrification and redlining are strongly associated with alcohol outlet density, while blockbusting is not. Gentrification and redlining also frequently co-occur in inner-urban areas, while the more suburban phenomenon of blockbusting rarely overlaps with either. These findings further contextualize nascent work on structural racism in housing that illustrates important disparities along the lines of these distinct practices. Future work should consider how legacy impacts of discriminatory housing patterns impact our communities today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-581
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Alcohol
  • Blockbusting
  • Food environments
  • GIS
  • Gentrification
  • Redlining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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