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Thinking About Segregation and Integration

Thinking About Segregation and Integration

Launch Tool

In this resource, use a computer model to investigate how people tend to cluster into groups of similar people. This computer model is based on one published by economist Thomas C. Schelling in 1971 that explored patterns of racial segregation and integration in American cities.


For Educators

This online interactive model allows students to investigate segregation and integration of green and red dots. Students can enter five different initial variables—population number (half are green, half are red), the initial setup (whether it has a random or segregated distribution), the strength of preference (represented as a percentage) for similarities or differences, and whether they prefer similarity or difference. They then press “go” to see what happens. Two windows show changing values of the average number of similar neighbors and the number of entities that want to move because they don't have enough similar neighbors of the kind they prefer. The lower yellow windows will give you a plot of how these values change over time. The site provides suggestions for more experimentation and implications of the model.

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