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Strategies for a strong, diverse community involve tearing down the barriers between us and then building region-wide policies in their place. Montgomery County, Maryland has successfully used inclusionary zoning (affordable housing mixed with high-end housing) to accommodate all members of the community in this prosperous suburb outside of Washington DC. Oak Park, Illinois established ‘equity guarantees’ (reassures homeowners in the face of demographic change) to keep the wealth in the community and to build upon diversity rather than flee it. Madison, Wisconsin’s strategy is to make significant investments in high-performing public schools. This ensures access to quality education for all kids no matter the economic status of the parents. However, the city is coming to the realization that in order to sustain its successful school system, the city and the entire region beyond the school district boundaries will need to incorporate inclusive zoning for mixed, affordable housing and other community-oriented strategies.

Of course, as David Rusk observes, “Mixed-income housing proposals…run into many Americans’ deepest fears about race and class and are hardest to achieve politically.” But these attitudes are not impossible to overcome.
A stellar example of a school system that has a fifty-year history of integrating a highly mobile student population of all incomes and races into a high performance school system can be found on US military bases around the globe. Local school systems across the nation could learn a lot from this experience. Here's an overview of their strategies.