Gentrification

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mattaudio
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Gentrification

Postby mattaudio » June 27th, 2013, 9:42 am

Hoping everyone saw Nick's post at Streets.mn:
https://streets.mn/2013/06/27/if-not-ge ... tion-what/

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Nick
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Re: Gentrification

Postby Nick » June 27th, 2013, 5:08 pm

Wooooooooooooo

David Greene
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Re: Gentrification

Postby David Greene » July 5th, 2013, 9:15 am

Moving from the Green Line thread.
the kid wrote:Rent Control? Good Lord, could you dredge up anything that offers a more harmful distortion of market forces than that? Talk about intentionally putting inefficiency into a system that works just fine. If someone can't afford to live in a neighborhood, they have two options: a) move to another neighborhood, or b) find a way to make more money.
I don't think that "market forces" should be the end-all, be-all of how we make decisions. In fact it is a pretty poor way to do planning. I submit that it's not planning at all.

It's easy to say "just move" or "get another job" when you're not the one in the situation. Moving is expensive and will probably result in a more expensive living situation. And good luck on the second job if you've moved and don't have a car. What if you're already working two jobs? Conservatives love to blame the poor for not having a "proper" family structure then berate them when the poor don't want to work a third job so they can spend time with their kids.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Gentrification

Postby FISHMANPET » July 5th, 2013, 9:27 am

Rent Control usually leads to shitty apartments because landlords have no reason to improve the apartments, and shitty landlords trying to do whatever they can to evict tenants and turn units back into market rate.

The only real solution is to increase supply.

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Re: Gentrification

Postby David Greene » July 5th, 2013, 9:29 am

I wasn't advocating for rent control, simply noting it's a tool used elsewhere. I think there are better options.

St. Paul shot itself in the foot with the rezoning. Limiting building height so severely was a big mistake.

mattaudio
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Re: Gentrification

Postby mattaudio » July 5th, 2013, 9:44 am

^ Indeed, we can all agree on that fact.

I'm rather skeptical of the concerns of gentrification because the alternative to gentrification seems to be disinvestment in neighborhoods. I don't think that's a solution either. I'm interested to see if there are creative ways to give existing residents and family-owned businesses more of a stake in the investment. How could we make sure that a neighborhood gets all the investment possible, but also make sure that some of that investment helps existing residents? Not sure I have an answer here, but this sounds like it would be the ideal approach.

David Greene
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Re: Gentrification

Postby David Greene » July 5th, 2013, 11:28 am

That is exactly the right question to ask. From my conversations with the neighbors, the concern isn't really gentrification _per_se_, it's that the current residents won't see the benefits of it. I think that's a legitimate concern. What good does an LRT investment do for you if you have to move away from it? The Green Line is certainly a huge benefit to whomever lives near it.

Affordable housing is a big issue not just in this corridor but everywhere we are making transit investments. That's why I cited inclusionary zoning. It has worked well in Baltimore along transitways and I think we could see the same results here. But the St. Paul city council seems deathly afraid of putting any requirements on developers, thinking they will somehow not develop around a $1 billion transportation investment. The zoning limits the number of units a developer can build, further eroding the ability of developers to provide some affordable units as part of a project.

To me this is a classic case of a DFL-dominated city council doing what it thinks it knows is good for the neighborhood. Yes, there are some residents worried about heights but that's a failure of communication and visioning by the Met Council and others. People are going to naturally resist change. It's up to people like us to show how these changes can benefit everyone. Of course we have to do this while authnetically listening to what is being said and account for it in our communication. We have to realize that current residents are intensely distrustful of white people telling them what's good for them, and for good reason. We absolutely must respect the history and racial dynamics at play here.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Gentrification

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 8th, 2013, 8:57 am

Not sure where to post this, so I thought here was as good as any:

http://priceroads.vctr.me/2013/07/06/wi ... n-the-bay/

Interesting points made about how a neighborhood and city (and consequently city officials) within a major (desirable) metro area has little incentive to 'fight the good fight' on housing supply helping keep aggregate rents/prices down. The prescription to the problem was a bit.. odd IMO.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Gentrification

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 8th, 2013, 9:21 am

Also, I have always agreed with your point, David - the people displaced in 'gentrification' (or, natural market churn, updates, etc) are typically not property owners and therefore do not reap the rewards of a place rising in value. Actually, they will likely suffer short-term losses (increased rents) and longer-term hardships. Having to move is not cheap (and represents a large one-time cost in a low discretionary spend situation), and will usually result in being further from their jobs, amenities (they may have kids in daycare, shop in particular stores, etc), and in our current land-use pattern may need to buy a car (or a second one) and deal with the costs. Moving takes time people may not have - vacation time is limited for non-exempt employees and schedules are less flexible (certainly than mine where I can choose to come in early and leave early for personal things).

However, with all this said, I don't think the solution is rent control, further subsidized-housing (at the very least, subsidized construction), zoning tools that limit new development, or even forced local inclusionary zoning. As Matt says, let's take a step back and try to figure out how to allow residents to have stakes in their communities financially. Not so the area will improve (as most people point to the virtues of homeownership as reasons to subsidize/encourage it), but simply to help residents reap rewards of an area's increased desirability rather than being subject to all the costs. When people are inevitably displaced, it would be great if any options they have to move have the same level of mobility options for jobs/amenities. Having a body like the MetCouncil work with all municipalities in the area to remove land-use regulations (etc) might seem heavy-handed but would help make all neighborhoods and towns natural fits for transit (and less costly to implement without the need for multi-million dollar parking ramps). These fall under the "remove market regulations" category of options to help solve the root problem (being displaced being costly/difficult).

Couple thoughts on other options.. Softening the blow of the costs associated with moving when residents are forcibly displaced (by increased rent or a property being sold for renovation/destruction). Tax credits for moving costs that are more inclusive (time off from work) and less restrictive (I believe right now it only counts if you move for a new job - which seems backwards given the economic increase a family likely received in that scenario), employer requirements for time off in a year, requirements for rental property owners when selling their property/increasing rents to give the option of helping with moving costs, etc etc. These all may have varying levels of success but also may carry unintended consequences. We need to find the balance of social safety nets vs consequences that allow healthy market operations - obviously the tricky part is defining "healthy" and "balance."

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Gentrification

Postby FISHMANPET » July 8th, 2013, 10:03 am

I have to agree with the conclusion of that article that when housing costs are higher than the marginal new construction costs, there's a regulation failure in place.

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Re: Gentrification

Postby David Greene » July 9th, 2013, 10:18 pm

Just want to say that I like some of your ideas, RailBaron. I would love for the Met Council to become more activist and practively remove housing restrictions across the metro, for exactly the reasons you cite. Myron Orfield wants to see it too.

Certainly inclusionary zoning isn't a panacea but I think it's a good option given today's reality. We can start implementing longer-term solutions but folks need help today.

Rich
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Re: Gentrification

Postby Rich » July 10th, 2013, 9:42 am

As long as wages are low, college makes us debt-laden and health emergencies leave us bankrupt, we'll have chronically poor folks who struggle to absorb the cost of rent hikes and/or displacement. I think it's great to try to help people through the tax and zoning codes, but I also think we get much more bang for our buck by pursuing universal health care, affordable higher education, a decent minimum wage etc.

By all means let's work on better ways to house the poor. But if we can keep more people out of poverty in the first place, many of the problems caused by gentrification will resolve themselves.

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Re: Gentrification

Postby David Greene » July 10th, 2013, 9:50 am

Rich wrote:As long as wages are low, college makes us debt-laden and health emergencies leave us bankrupt, we'll have chronically poor folks who struggle to absorb the cost of rent hikes and/or displacement. I think it's great to try to help people through the tax and zoning codes, but I also think we get much more bang for our buck by pursuing universal health care, affordable higher education, a decent minimum wage etc.
Also very true. Not coincidentally, fixing these things will also improve education outcomes. In addition we need to address the built environment. The CDC and others have developed the theory of Syndemics, noting that health is not primarily about disease or personal choices but about the social and economic conditions in which we find ourselves. Syndemics researchers talk about walkability, transit, mixed-use development and shared prosperity. Much of this can also be applied to education. Education outcomes are as much or more driven by economic and social factors than by teachers.

http://syndemics.blogspot.com

It turns out that health care and education experts are actually urbanists.

at40man
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Re: Gentrification

Postby at40man » July 11th, 2013, 12:36 am

Rich wrote:As long as wages are low, college makes us debt-laden and health emergencies leave us bankrupt, we'll have chronically poor folks who struggle to absorb the cost of rent hikes and/or displacement. I think it's great to try to help people through the tax and zoning codes, but I also think we get much more bang for our buck by pursuing universal health care, affordable higher education, a decent minimum wage etc.

By all means let's work on better ways to house the poor. But if we can keep more people out of poverty in the first place, many of the problems caused by gentrification will resolve themselves.
I disagree. History has shown us little evidence that this ideology works - in fact, elevating these sorts of entitlements into the language of rights creates an increasingly selfish population who become less concerned with doing more to help their fellow man, and instead teaches people to want harder.

"Decent minimum wage" can become too excessive for employers with low profit margins, and may cause them to lay people off or put them on reduced hours. Who exactly does that help?

Universal health care will not improve the situation. It would cause a shortage of doctors, most of whom do not want to see such a system in place. UHC only breeds inefficiency and waste... and creates people who become more preoccupied with what they can get at other people's expense.

Education is rather affordable if you work whilst in college for a company that provides tuition reimbursement, not to mention scholarships for good grades. If people wish to pay less in tuition, deductions in tuition cost should be based solely on an individual's merits.

ECtransplant
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Re: Gentrification

Postby ECtransplant » July 11th, 2013, 12:54 am

Very few companies provide tuition reimbursement these days, especially in the types of jobs one can get with nothing but a high school diploma -- and those jobs aren't going to make a dent when cost of attendance is $40,000+ per year.

mattaudio
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Re: Gentrification

Postby mattaudio » July 11th, 2013, 8:29 am

Let's try to keep this to gentrification, and we can start another thread at an even higher abstracted level if we want to discuss the cost of living or the cost of higher education.

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Re: Gentrification

Postby twincitizen » July 29th, 2013, 10:17 am

You should all read this excellent, if somewhat vague, piece from Planetizen about how progressivism and urbanism clash. This can be directly applied to the current Dinkytown debacle.

Progressives and Urbanists- A Difficult Relationship

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Gentrification

Postby Viktor Vaughn » July 29th, 2013, 12:16 pm

As a "leftist" & an "urbanist" I found that piece to be more vague than excellent. It was even sweeping enough in its generalizations to be a bit insulting.

But the main progresssive concern with New Urbanism he was circling around is true.

Urbanism can't be an excuse to push the poor and marginalized out of city neighborhoods. If the new density pushes out some of the last outposts of small independent businesses with their CVS's and Chipotle's, we should reevaluate whether that should be considered success. If the new neighbors living in their luxury condos demand the police harass their poor neighbors to improve their perception of safety, then it's fair to question whether that condo building helped the neighborhood.

I suspect that urbanism started out based on progressive values, but has drifted away in a direction more focused on profit-seeking and luxury living.

Think about what Jane Jacobs wrote. Her ideas about "catastrophic money" and large scale redevelopment disrupting neighborhoods fit perfectly with concerns "leftist" have today. This Richard Florida urbanist bullshit is the real divergence, given its almost exclusive focus on the upper-middle class.

Jane Jacobs realized a city needs a diverse mix people to be interesting and dynamic. That means we need housing affordable to the working class interspersed with the luxury condos. We need immigrants who come here from top tier cities to work executive positions, and we need immigrants to come and clean the office buildings at night. This new urbanist vision of sanitized yuppy utopia looks a lot like what had me fleeing the suburbs in the first place.


To the degree it runs counter to progressive values, it runs counter to authentic urbanism as well.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Gentrification

Postby FISHMANPET » July 29th, 2013, 1:41 pm

I think if we just build more buildings, eventually the luxury market will become saturated and/or older buildings will start to filter down. Then you'll have all sorts of people in the same neighborhood together, and nobody will be pushed out.

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Re: Gentrification

Postby mulad » July 29th, 2013, 4:14 pm

I'll have to put that article in the "more vague than excellent" category. I can't say that my first concerns are for poorer folks who may or may not be living in a particular spot that will be redeveloped (or the equivalent semi-mythical small business owners). I think a lot of people on the liberal end of the scale still think that lower density development translates into being more environmentally friendly, since it's more like "nature" to have more air and light between buildings, with the potential for open/green space. Mix in some visions of dense, squalid conditions of the past, and concerns about health and disease probably crop up too. But the concept of adding more space in between you and your neighbor to make life better has the fatal flaw that it consumes land at an extraordinary rate, leading to the immense sprawl we see in the suburbs.

Lefties/progressives are certainly very susceptible to the sob stories of anyone who is forced to move due to rising rents or eminent domain, though it's important to remember that eminent domain acquisitions are buyouts. Sometimes renters receive payments as well, though I'm sure that's far less common.

But the evidence is strong that the problems of poor people in the city really have to do with the fact that they're poor rather than their housing situations, and it's extremely important to get people into decent jobs and to allow them to retain the family structure that they desire -- I'm not sure if it's the practice in Minnesota, but sometimes mothers and fathers are forced to live separately because one of them has a felony offense (typically on trumped-up charges when talking about minorities) and is therefore ineligible for subsidized housing. It'll be interesting to see if the recent "ban the box" legislation will allow more people to get jobs and assist with housing costs in economically-depressed neighborhoods.


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