Balancing Housing Affordability and Economic Growth

Gentrification and displacement, as concepts, have grown in importance in recent years. Unified concepts, such as development without displacement, bring together a need for balancing interconnected factors.  On one hand, as a geographic area grows in desirability on the real estate market, the housing value rises and is reflected in rents and purchase prices. On the other hand, long time residents may be unable to pay increasing rents or property taxes as they rise. Therefore, they are oftentimes forced to move to other areas.
When a sense of community has been established in a place, it can cause damage on a societal scale to disband it. When residents have established travel patterns to get to various destinations such as work, medical needs, and errands from their community via options such as public transport, walking, and biking, moving can cause significant damage to their quality of life. They may simply be unable to access places previously available to them, or the travel time may be untenable. This can have ripple effects on a societal scale as well, with job opportunities less available and other consequences.

What ends up occurring is a debate between real estate values rising as a reflection of economic development and growth (i.e., development) with a protection of long-time residents (i.e., displacement). While cities are, and continue to be, drivers of economic development, there is a very real quality of life issue at stake in these situations that must be addressed. Therefore, as with many urban issues, the key is to understand how issues are interrelated and interdependent, what balanced outcomes are most desired, and tactics that work towards the desired outcomes.

ComplexCities is in the process of establishing a professional network and pinpointing resources to share for this project.  If you are interested, please contact us.