Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gentrification With Justice

The area I live in (downtown Santa Ana, CA) is embarking on a Specific Plan for the downtown area. Last week, the consultants to the city conducted a weeklong "Design Charrette" down here. They solicited input from citizens and interested groups, conducted seminars and at the end of the week, presented their preliminary recommendations. It was an extremely interesting process to watch.

Many urban cores in the past 50 years have experienced the injustice of gentrification. As upper-income folks move back to an area of the city, land values, retail prices and rents begin to skyrocket. The end result; people with limited financial means are forced to leave, some of them residents of that area for generations.

Now, even more people are beginning to return to the city. This presents challenges. Bob Lupton, in his book "Renewing the City," is an advocate for "gentrification with justice." Lupton writes, "We need gentry who will use their compentencies and connections to ensure that their lower-income neighbors have a stake in their revitalizing neighborhood." Innovative housing policies, tax ordinances that offer relief to residents who own homes, loan funds that give down-payment assistance all are strategies that can ensure that the poor share in the benefits of urban redevelopment.


Blogger greenISgood said...

This is a very interesting post, Scotch. The neighborhood where our non-profit is located also has a community development corporation that is buying up empty lots, abandoned houses, and nearly abandoned houses in the hopes that "gentry" will in fact revitalized. A few have moved in, including our friends Josh and Lindsay.

It is a long term project, don't you think? We've even looked at some lots to build on. What are your thoughts?

8:44 PM  
Blogger greenISgood said...

Oh, and last week Juan Hernandez came to Mission Waco to speak about immigration. I'll write more about this later....His book is called "The New American Pioneers: Why are we afraid of Mexican Immigration?

8:45 PM  
Blogger n2justice said...

Long term indeed. Gentrification is a process that's very hard to detect because it DOES take awhile. Perhaps the key is noticing the warning signs and mitigating the negative impacts on the poor.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on immigration!

8:12 AM  

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