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Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities - Engage.Educate.Encourage.

Monthly Meeting

No Alliance meeting scheduled for November. Our workgroups will be meeting to get things done!


F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K

October 2018 Newsletter


Gentrification, and Displacement

In our July newsletter, we talked about the impacts of the issues of rising housing costs and decreasing supply of affordable housing, specifically, increased homelessness and poorer public health. However, we also shared and highlighted  budding solutions throughout Arizona including small-home communities near near transit, unique community land trusts, and groups working to improve the conditions of our many mobile home communities.
“Stable, affordable housing is central to the health of individuals, families, and communities.”  
- ChangeLab Solutions

Rendering of home in Phoenix's Coffelt-Lamoreaux public housing community, retrieved from MCIDA

This month, the conversation continues on to the related, and important topics of Gentrification and Displacement. While cities like San Francisco and New York City, or even more recently, Austin and Atlanta, tend to come to mind first with regard to these topics, gentrification and displacement are happening in states and cities throughout the nation. It is important for Arizona to understand the issue and to do we can to prevent the issue from getting worse in our own cities.
Defining the Issue &
Understanding the Impact

The AALC has promoted and advocated for walkable, livable cities since we first came together as a coalition under a different name in 2010. From mixed-use development to green bicycles lanes and shaded sidewalks, we have advocated for better urban design which includes investment in amenities that meet the needs of all Arizonans, especially those most underserved.

However, during this time, there has also been a trend of urban renewal and a growing demand from residents for neighborhoods that include these desirable urban features. Growing demand has led to new, often higher income residents and accompanying investment moving into certain communities, leading to gentrification. As more affluent individuals and related investment move into neighborhoods, market and social forces can eventually lead to the displacement of lower income individuals and families as well as businesses. Take for instance, what's happening in downtown Phoenix's Roosevelt Row, where artists are feeling the effects of gentrification and are saying increased development is pushing out communities that made neighborhoods trendy in the first place.


Lets talk about mental health” by The People Speak! licensed under CC BY 2.0

Growing evidence of the negative health impacts experienced by those that get displaced is clear, pointing even to poorer mental health AALC felt it was our responsibility to continue to discuss this complex issue and to offer some resources describing ways to mitigate and prevent the issue from further impacting our residents.
What can we do?
In an article from Architectural Record earlier this month, which acknowledges gentrification as a losing proposition for low income neighborhoods, the writer shares some ways to manage pressure from developers for the benefit of all, including:
  • Investing in low income communities
  • Supporting small landlords
  • Investing in public transportation
  • Increasing the supply of affordable housing
  • Reducing land use regulations
Read more here.

Repaired row houses, The Hunter's South Point Project, Philadelphia

Also, Click here to see more Housing Solutions documented by Architectural Record across the U.S.  

The Fruitvale Transit Village, Oakland

Additionally, entities like CityLab recommend, somewhat controversially, that displacement can be avoided through simply building more housing in general, including market rate housing. They also encourage carefully and thoughtfully planned transit-oriented development to reduce displacement. In the case of transit-oriented development, CityLab shares the story of the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland, California, where the development of a transit village  was 1) planned with the community, 2) included good urban design and 3) tied-in social services. These steps led to gentrification that capitalized on economic benefits and the preservation of cultural identify while keeping out the harmful effects of displacing it's largely Latino resident base. 

In Portland, Oregon, the Housing bureau helped to develop a program that gives down payment assistance to first-time homeowners who were displaced, or at risk of displacement, from the city’s north and north-east neighborhoods because of urban renewal. This program fell under a city plan that delegates how $20m will be spent on affordable housing, in an effort to atone for the sins of gentrification.

More Related Articles and Toolkits

Backyard Cottage, from Strong Towns 

Urbanists, Architects Say Backyard Cottages Are a Must in Affordable Housing Push
By Josh Cohen, October 30, 2017, NextCity

Gentrification increases when higher income neighborhoods limit new residents from moving in. These residents begin to look elsewhere, many times in gentrifying neighborhoods, when housing options are limited.

Seattle City Council Member Mike O’Brien wants to make it easier for homeowners to build backyard cottages and basement apartments. In the midst of a housing affordability crisis spurred on, in part, by a greater demand for housing than available supply, using excess basement and yard space to create new homes makes sense. One of the priority
recommendations from the city’s 2015 Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda was reduction of regulatory barriers for building attached and detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs and DADUs).

Christopher Penler via Shutterstock/Salon/Benjamin Wheelock
Feeding or Starving Gentrification: The Role of Food Policy
March 27, 2018, CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

Food plays a significant role in gentrification. “Foodie” culture often serves as gentrification’s leading edge by signifying that a community is ripe for investment.

Gentrification also changes food retailers that comprise the local food environment, sometimes creating “food mirages,” with abundant, high quality food priced just out of reach of longstanding residents. Food policies play an important role in gentrification by catalyzing the process and protecting against or counteracting its negative effects, and policies that address gentrification can affect local food environments. This brief discusses the relationships between food and gentrification and identifies ten opportunities for advocates to shape the process.

Preserving, Protecting and Expanding Affordable Housing - A Policy Toolkit for Public Health
2015, ChangeLab Solutions

Rising housing costs undermine equitable access to neighborhoods offering health and quality of life benefits such as safety, walkability, open space, and healthy food, which are often enhanced by the growing demand for housing and associated development.

Many residents may also see neighborhood changes leading to the erosion of the cultural fabric, social networks, and economic opportunities. This toolkit provides public health practitioners, along with their allies in public agencies, community orgs, and the private development community, with the tools and strategies needed to preserve and promote safe and affordable housing for low-and moderate-income renters.

 25th Annual Statewide Housing Conference

What else can you do? Come together with others that are interested in expanding affordable housing throughout the State. On Nov. 13 & 14, the Arizona Housing Coalition will be hosting their Annual Statewide Conference on Affordable Housing and Homelessness. This year, the focus will be "Revealing the Redlines of Our Past: Redrawing the Neighborhoods of Our Future."

Although the conference is already sold out for Tuesday the 13th, space is still available for Wednesday the 14th. View the registration page of their website for more details.     

Conferences and Workshops

LISC Phoenix Annual Breakfast & Community Awards

October 30, 2018
Registration ends Friday the 25th at noon

AZ Chapter of the American Planning Association Conference
November 7-9, 2018

AZ Department of Agriculture 2019 Arizona Food Summit
January 8-9, 2019

National Housing Conference
Solutions for Affordable Housing
November 27-28
Washington, D.C.


Next City Seminar - Karen Kubey on Housing as Intervention

Thursday, November 1, 2018; 10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. MST


Join Next City for their new online seminar series with guest Karen Kubey, an urbanist, architectural educator and editor of “Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity.” “Housing as Intervention” is a 17-essay volume of Architectural Design (AD) that examines how housing projects around the world, and the design processes behind them, might be interventions toward greater social equity. Join this seminar to learn about how housing projects, and the design processes behind them, can create greater social equity and how collaborative work in housing can reposition the architectural profession at large. Please note that this online seminar is pay what you wish to register. Pay any amount that you would like or nothing at all.

Lowering Speed Limited to Manage Speeds: Experience in U.S. Cities
Vision Zero Network and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
November 14, 2018

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