BOSTON, MA – A new report by the Kitty & Michael Dukakis Center for Urban & Regional Policy at Northeastern University validates concerns that the growing popularity of rail transit can bring undesirable changes to nearby neighborhoods. “While patterns of neighborhood change varied,” explained lead author Stephanie Pollack, “the most predominant pattern we saw was one in which neighborhood renters are forced to pay more for housing and vehicle ownership becomes more common as neighborhood incomes rise. If gentrification is defined as a pattern of neighborhood change marked by rising housing costs and incomes, we found evidence of gentrification in the majority of newly transit-served neighborhoods we studied.” The report, Maintaining Diversity in America’s Transit-Rich Neighborhoods: Tools for Equitable Neighborhood Change, includes new research analyzing socioeconomic changes in 42 neighborhoods in 12 metropolitan areas first served by rail transit between 1990 and 2000. Co-author Barry Bluestone, a housing expert and Dean of Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, noted that the report’s findings confirm other research that shows neighborhoods with a large number of renters are more susceptible to gentrification. “In the neighborhoods where new light rail stations were built, almost every aspect of neighborhood change was magnified,” Bluestone explained. “Rents rose faster; owner-occupied units became more prevalent. Before transit was built, these neighborhoods had been dominated by low-income, renter households.” Bluestone also noted that, as calculated in the report, slightly over half of all rental housing units in the United States are located in the relatively small number of metropolitan areas served by rail transit. Pollack, a transportation policy expert and associate director of the Dukakis Center, similarly noted that the 37 metropolitan regions with rail transit systems “constitute just over 10 percent of all U.S. metropolitan areas, but are both economically important and extraordinarily diverse.” According to the report, nearly half of all Americans and more than two thirds of all U.S. workers live in metropolitan areas served by rail transit. These regions are home to over half of all blacks, 60 percent of all Hispanics and 70 percent of all immigrants in the U.S.
Housing and Urban Planning (Research)
We’re at a critical juncture for housing policy in this country: millions of Americans are homeless and tens of millions more are on the brink of economic collapse. The 2010 Update focuses public attention back on the #1 reason for this housing mess: the Federal Government’s divestment in affordable housing programs and deregulation of the housing market. Most importantly, it helps people understand these complex issues and provides a framework for turning this situation around. This report is an update of Without Housing: Decades of Federal Housing Cutbacks, Massive Homelessness and Policy Failures. While much has changed since 2006, the fundamental message remains the same: ending mass homelessness in the United States will require a serious recommitment by the federal government to create, subsidize and maintain truly affordable housing. The massive reality of homelessness in the United States is nothing short of a national tragedy, a profound failure of our collective spirit and conscience to recognize the fundamental interconnection and humanity of all.
Urban Habitat Program and Sandra de Gregorio v. City of Pleasanton, A Municipal Corporation and the City Council of Pleasanton.
In a major affordable housing victory, Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch has ruled that the City of Pleasanton’s Housing Cap violates state law. In the first ruling of its kind, the court also ordered the city to complete re-zoning that is required by state law so that it can meet its share of the region’s affordable housing.