Does transit investment displace households and lead to more driving? Yes and no

The passage of Senate Bill 375 in 2008 ushered in a new era of regional sustainability planning in California. Now, regions must coordinate their transportation planning and investment with land use strategies that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what if the hundreds of new fixed-rail stations recently built or planned for California’s major metros, along with related “transit-oriented development,” inadvertently displace…

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A multi-dimensional approach to affordable housing policy: Learning from climate change policy

We are not building enough of the the so-called Missing Middle in housing types, like these fourplexes in Berkeley. A consensus is emerging that we have to do everything in our power to slow the course of global warming. The list of tools includes long-term measures such as greater energy efficiencies in buildings, industry, appliances; carbon cap-and-trade systems and taxes; new standards for…

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Transit-Averse Development? The Challenges of Infill

Like merchants on Geary Street concerned about the effects of new bus rapid transit on their businesses, many fear the change that a new transit line or station will bring to a neighborhood. To analyze this, our Urban Displacement Project has examined the relationship between transit investment and displacement, finding that these fears may not be unfounded: new transit can…

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Redwood City: An Improbable Villain of the Bay Area Displacement Crisis

“Evicted Redwood City tenants rally to stay in complex as calls grow for renter protections” announces the headline, with a photo of 14-year-old Gabriel Banuelos holding the eviction notice for the 18-unit apartment complex. But why would this happen in “Deadwood” City (the long-standing local nickname for the moribund downtown area)? As findings from our Urban Displacement Project show, a…

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Displacement: The Misunderstood Crisis

When we think of gentrification and displacement, we typically envision a hipster – young, professional, and probably white — in the Mission District or Brooklyn at the peak of the real estate boom. But this archetype, while not inaccurate, is just the tip of the iceberg. Displacement, which is distinct from gentrification, occurs in many different forms, places, and moments.…

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The Future of Displacement

The year is 2030. Protesters gather around yet another apartment building where long-term residents are being evicted to accommodate newcomers. We must be in San Francisco. No, we’re in Oakland. Guess again. It’s Hayward. Or, Concord. Or perhaps, Santa Rosa. In 2030, these and many other Bay Area communities may realize that their neighborhood has turned the corner from displacement…

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The Blocked Market for Density and Affordable Housing

Around the globe, many cities are experiencing a housing affordability crisis. There are few places this crisis is more pronounced than San Francisco and Los Angeles. California’s strict land use regulations hinder us from producing enough housing, particularly infill development, or new buildings on vacant or underutilized land in the urban core. Yet, with 200,000 units in the pipeline, the…

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Confronting suburban poverty – or celebrating suburban resilience?

Suburban poverty is in the headlines again these weeks after the publication of Brookings researchers Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube’s new book,Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, which augments previous empirical work with fascinating case studies. But with the suburban poverty rates hovering around 11 percent, relative to 21 percent in cities, the question arises: is it suburban poverty or resilience that…

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Redevelopment is dead, long live revitalization!

Following Governor Brown’s recommendation, the Legislature’s joint legislative committee has voted to eliminate redevelopment in California.  Without redevelopment, planners lose a key tool to revitalize cities by targeting investment to disadvantaged neighborhoods, creating jobs and building affordable housing.  Yet, eliminating the policy also creates an opportunity for California to think much bigger about how to revitalize our cities. Redevelopment is…

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