Gentrification is a subject of major debate these days in Asheville. As affordability has declined, rents have risen sharply and wages have remained largely stagnant, there’s a worry that many parts of the city’s population will increasingly be pushed to the periphery, leaving the city more homogenous and exclusive than ever before.
That worry even extends to City Hall. Late last year, developer Harry Pilos moved forward with the new 209-unit RAD Lofts project. Asheville City Council approved the development unanimously, but expressed concerns about the lack of a single unit of affordable housing.
It turns out, the rush of more expensive housing into the RAD alarmed Asheville City Council members and city staff, who shortly after decided to study gentrification in the area and some possible ways to encourage development without pushing out existing populations or making the area unaffordable. Since then, debate has only grown, as recent weeks and months have seen artists forced out of studios the city declared unsafe and a major, controversial overhaul for public housing move forward.
The study groups several neighborhoods — Southside, South French Broad, the River Arts District — under the heading “East of the Riverway” in a swath ranging from the edge of West Asheville to the outskirts of downtown, and including everything from Mission Hospital to public housing and artists’ studios. It then outlines their history, as well as some programs pursued in other areas to check gentrification, programs that might work here in Asheville.
The study (Alternatives to Gentrification in East of the Riverway) was composed by Sasha Vrtunski, a local planner who’s worked with the city on a number of occasions, notably on the Downtown Master Plan, along with local economist Tom Tvedit and assistance from planner Lucy Crown. Notably, Michael Brown of Burlington Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in analyzing gentrification and models for development intended to correct its problems, also worked on the plan.
Here’s a rundown of the diagnosis and remedies the study recommends.
How gentrification happened and what it means
The swath of Asheville the report focuses on has “a rich history, some marked with pain,” as the report puts it, noting the devastating impact of the “urban renewal” programs that demolished many African-American-owned homes and businesses in the 1960s and ’70s, displacing thousands. The memory remains, and “there is a concern another wave of displacement is coming.” According to the study, 3,271 people now live in the area and wages remain far lower than the rest of Asheville; 57.3 percent of the population lives on less than $25,000 a year, compared to 29.5 percent in the city as a whole.
Despite increasing economic activity in the area, the report finds that locals aren’t seeing much of it. “Jobs at Mission Hospitals, New Belgium and the burgeoning entertainment businesses feel very out of reach for folks currently living in these neighborhoods.”
While historically home to some of the city’s most affordable housing, prices shot up drastically — more than 74 percent — from 2000 to 2010, leaving them close to the median home price across the city and the county.
Meanwhile, between 1990 and 2010, the African-American population in the area declined from 79 to 56 percent of the population, and “artists report increasing challenges in locating affordable work and gallery space in these neighborhoods.” On top of all that, the vast majority (62 percent) of the area’s population rent, rather than own, their housing, meaning they can be pushed out more easily as gentrification increases.
As for the artists, the study includes a survey of 71 in the area. While many felt their space was affordable for the time being, almost all of them said they were deeply concerned that it will not remain so in the future.
As the report concludes:
an analysis of demographics and market trends demonstrate that these neighborhoods are already experiencing gentrification, as wealthier people and businesses that cater to them are moving in, drawn by the location, the diversity and “feel” of these neighborhoods. Some of this change is driven by public sector infrastructure investment, while some is fueled by “urban pioneers” and entrepreneurs acquiring “fixer-upper” buildings and major redevelopment projects like the New Belgium Brewery. The impacts on the neighborhoods already are both notable and severe…
If this process continues, the report notes, it might undermine the very reasons more people are moving to the area in the first place.
However, the study finds that the area is still in the “middle” stage of gentrification, meaning that there are still some options. While there are sharp rises in home and rental prices, along with some displacement happening already, some affordable housing still remains and there’s still vacant land to use in ways that don’t further gentrify the area.
What can be done
Gentrification has, and continues to, strike a number of areas in Asheville. So what, according to the report, can be done?
“What is required to keep these neighborhoods from becoming more homogenous and exclusive is a swift intervention of targeted, long-term public sector/private sector partnerships and collaborations,” it asserts. “The most effective strategies to combat gentrification and prevent displacement are measures that local government can adopt and implement.”
Which strategies exactly? The report goes through a number, ranging from anti-speculation taxes to restrictions on converting rental housing to condominiums to using local government resources to preserve areas for affordable housing and community space.
However, while it draws strategies from across the country, local and state rules vary widely, and the report notes specific advantages and disadvantages with each, before focusing in on the ones it recommends local government pursue.
In this case, the report recommends that Asheville’s local government pursue “inclusionary zoning,” requiring that new development in the area have a designated number of affordable units, in exchange for signficant development incentives. Alternatively, developers who didn’t include affordable units might have to pay a significant amount to the affordable housing trust fund. The city could also issue bonds, backed by future tax revenues from the developing area, to bankroll more affordable development in the area, including live-work cooperatives for artists.
Further, the study recommends looking into community land trusts, a public-private partnership where an organization buys and controls land for a specific purpose and guarantees the affordability of the space forever (the report emphasizes that last word in italics). Those with homes or artists’ space on the land would own or lease the buildings, but the trust would control the land itself, meaning they could set conditions about affordability, use or resale.
City staff and the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee already broached land trusts earlier this year as a possible way to curb Asheville’s rising unaffordability.
To succeed, however, the report asserts that a new “community-controlled organization is needed to honor the history of this multi-neighborhood area, preserve and promote its character, and plan for its future,” and that such a group will need investment from city and county governments as well as the private sector to succeed.
Gentrification’s a major issue throughout Asheville, and increasing by the day. If the “swift intervention” the report recommends can halt it is a matter for speculation, but it’s now a topic that a signficant number of city decision-makers feel they must pay attention to.
David Forbes is a local journalist and editor of the Asheville Blade, a reader-supported site for sharp news and views.
Economies are all about planning, study, control and risk. Housing development of any kind in the RAD and Southslope is ok by me as long as it supports a defined strategic plan.
Downtown is a draw for business, so is the RAD, with the slope not far behind. Many/most of the businesses in each of these areas are locally/regionally owned and managed…. whether they are tourist based or not, they drive the economy…..
We need more housing, we need some sort of control over gentrification, but it needs to be defined in Asheville’s Strategic Plan:
Otherwise, all we are doing is debating the concept of gentrification while the real-world economics run un-controlled, un-managed and put each of the areas in risk.
Let me see if I understand those first few paragraphs correctly. The CoA:
1) Approved a 209-unit housing development, despite concern over lack of affordability which might promote gentrification.
2) Declared unsafe a number of studios and forced the artists out.
3) Approved a controversial overhaul of public housing.
And NOW, they ask “what can we do to fix these problems (that we helped create)?”
Suddenly, government gridlock doesn’t look so bad.
Just because they approved THE ONLY OPTIONS presented to them does not make them co-conspirators. I am sure if the Free Market Corporations had presented another choice of more affordable housing they would of said yes to that instead.
There options were only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. They didn’t plan a thing. In this case ‘Yes’ is better than ‘No’. This does not make it perfect, but that is the options they had. If they would of gone with ‘NO’ then we would have ZERO development. Which I guess according to you is preferable.
I would prefer that our government not present itself as having solutions to problems that they had a hand in creating.
Just get the job done and shut up.
Does gentrification yield cleaner neighborhoods and less crime?
My husband and I just bought a house in this newly defined area. Currently, it is known as Southside. I’m actually very happy to see the new name East of the River, because of all the negative connotations with Southside.
We bought this house because it’s a great house, great location, and we got it for an amazing price (relatively speaking)- we would have paid at least $50-100,000 more for something comparable even in West Asheville.
I hate to see Asheville price average people out of living here (myself included), and I do see the need to balance the situation. I am all for cleaning up the projects and empowering its residents, but I don’t know that keeping low income residents in an isolated enclave helps their situation any.
I lived in DC for 8 years and worked on many large high-end residential projects, where inclusionary zoning was in place- a percentage of affordable units had to be included. None of the rich folk buying the condos were deterred by having poor neighbors. I think this is a much better solution and serves to integrate the poor into the rest of society. I think getting rid of the “project kid” stigma is very important in equalizing people and moving them above the circumstances in which they grew up.
To be honest, I hope my new neighborhood does get better through others buying in this area, there have been drug dealers and gun violence here in the past and currently, and I definitely don’t want to raise children around that. I hold hope that other peace-loving, middle class folks will move here and become friends and neighbors. I can’t say that I have the desire to go into the public housing (where the crime and violence seems concentrated) that surrounds us and try to get to know the residents. However, I have gotten to know other neighbors who are long time residents.
As a middle class person, I want everyone to have opportunity and I hate the exclusivity of some Asheville neighborhoods. I think the middle class have been left out of this discussion and are the key to balancing the extremes being pitted against one another in this battle. I am also amazed that this seems to come as such a shock to many- there are countless cases of cities dealing with this imbalance. The true change will happen when everyone gets a fair shake and we care about raising the poor out of poverty instead of shuffling them around. I hope to be a part of this discussion as it develops. I also hate the term gentrification, and prefer “urban pioneer” 😉 Thanks so much Ashevegas, for the great articles on this topic!
What are “all the negative connotations with Southside”?
You know…cough, cough. She’s an “urban pioneer east of the river!”
Reminds me of the “Whale Whores” episode of South Park. “I’m a pirate!”
When you tie up land in greenways and land trusts that could otherwise be used for housing, it inflates prices. Progressive policies always lead to inflated prices. Asheville will keep electing progressives. You get what deserve.
Growth for its own sake is still medically defined as
cancer. It kills the host.
If you don’t tie up any land in greenways or land trusts, you end up with a charmless concrete jungle. The key to building a livable city is to adroitly mix greenery with density. Asheville isn’t nearly friendly enough to real urban development (although it’s just crackerjack at encouraging suburban development), but it’s doing great at preserving the greenery we need to keep this city livable.
The idea that housing prices have gone up because of the narrow strip of land for the greenway is absurd. Unless you ackowledge that the greenway increases quality of life and therefore prices increase. It sure isn’t because there suddenly isn’t undeveloped land.
Tons of open space in the RAD
How much land is “tied up in a land trust” in Buncombe County?
Any land locked up does contribute to higher prices. You can probably fit at least 50,000 people in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest which covers nearly 6,000 acres (definitely a bad idea). Who knows how many more could live in the Pisgah National Forest.
That said, I think green spaces are necessary. I would like a paved interstate greenway system. For the most part, bikes should not be allowed on motor roads. A Blue Ridge Greenway could roughly parallel the Blue Ridge Parkway. The French Broad River Greenway could extend from Transylvania County to TN.
Still waiting on an answer to my question.
AVL LVR is also AYN RND LVR, it seems. That combination of magic market fairy dust and techno-utopianism is Mills Gap Road levels of toxic.
ashevillain: I answered your question.
Luther: I have never agreed with Ayn Rand’s cold-hearted survival of the fittest mentality. I said we need an economy which works for everyone. I am not stuck in a box or adhere to a label.
We need to avoid Obama’s class warfare rhetoric. I bet he could make housing real cheap like Haiti/Detroit or free like North Korea. Joking aside, he is doing real damage to the economy. Besides technology which is a real game changer, were it not for the Republicans in the Great Plains from North Dakota down to Texas producing energy (oil/gas & most of the wind farms are actually in Republican states) and food (especially exporting it), this nation would have fallen a part long ago. We must be a producer nation not merely a consumer nation.
the Republicans in the Great Plains from North Dakota down to Texas
What is it with you and your hard-on for North Dakota? It’s a state with a tiny population, large and a large, dirty extractive industry. (They’re “Republican states” because they’re big and mostly empty.)
Let’s assume you think we can somehow magic our way out of climate change with technology while sucking out every hydrocarbon under the surface. That makes you a loon, but whatever. Even then, the idea that extractive industries make the US a “producer nation” and creates a healthy economy is bullshit.
There’s a common thread between Saudi Arabia, Alberta and Texas, and let’s toss in Putin’s Russia as well. They’re corrupt, fundamentalist oligarchies.
When you tie up land in Greenways and Land Trusts you get a higher quality of life for all beings, not just the affluent.
Yeah, and when you tie up land in hospitals, public schools, libraries, farms, public parks, housing goes up too.
You might have a point about progressive policies being more expensive, up front, but it’s just because progressives bottom line isn’t ‘more money in my pocket right now’ like it is with conservatives.
I wouldn’t want to live in a city dominated by geenspace so much that it was economically depressed or stagnant…if that were so i’d live in canton or marion…but I do want a vital resource like greenspace to be part of any community.
Inclusionary zoning is definitely the way to go. Here’s a recent NYT story on it: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/08/upshot/affordable-housing-thats-very-costly.html?_r=0
Maybe the folks who are deemed worthy of “affordable housing” can have separate access…
Government subsidy creates winners and losers.
Winners in this case will include homeowners in areas already gentrified. Demand for those properties will certainly increase.
No offense, indy, but you sound like a keneysian (“I got mine”-not capitalized) type economist. As in short term gain.
Why would I be offended? Is there something I said you disagree with or just felt like popping off?
Keynesian economics stresses the short term gain over common sense long term growth, hence the “I got mine” allusion- as in someone is being a little self centered and greedy, like screw our kids and their kids, I want my $ now.
At least we know what we all think, short term gain vs. “what does one want to see Asheville like in 10, 20, 50 years”. Nothing personal, but it sounds a little ME ME ME for my taste. “Demand for those (gentrified) properties will increase” and all.
That is the most perverse humpty-dumpty reading of Keynesian economics I have ever heard.
The Keynesian argument is that you offset structural troughs in the economic cycle, because time is not a hoardable resource. You choose to build the Blue Ridge Parkway because road-builders are sitting idle.
Short-term gratification / I-got-mine is tax cuts and deferral of infrastructure projects.
Paying more for housing is just a part of living in a nice area. We have a high demand for housing and a lack of developable land to build due to mountainous terrain and land locked up in parks & nature preserves. The results are obvious. I don’t think we should stop gentrification or lower our building standards to achieve affordable housing. Tourists don’t want to see trashy projects or trailer parks everywhere. We will kill the goose that laid the golden egg. If that is what you want, find an affordable house for $1 in Detroit or buy a mobile home in Canton. I’d rather pay more for housing and live in a safe beautiful looking city without dilapidated scary neighborhoods.
G word checklist:
-no affordable housing-only expensive/nice housing check
-don’t bring up the g word in front of the tourists-check
-either/or fancy hotels or trailers, no in between-check
-move to Canton-check
Don’t we all want a safe, nice and clean place to live? I agree, but the whole high cost of housing vs. low wages thing still just bugs the crap out of me. I know, I know, move to Canton or get a great paying job here, it’s been said before.
I hereby offer a temporary fix for local growing pains problems in the form of humor- words not to use in front of tourists ala George Carlin’s 7 Dirty Words:
We need an economy which works for everyone. The seven dirty words need to be addressed on a national level. Perhaps we can provide an unconditional basic income. Unfortunately if Asheville alone were to make the incentives too good for hobos and the homeless, beggars and illegal immigrants from all over the world will flood downtown Asheville. Tourists don’t need to be constantly harassed for money.
Yep, if I had the answers, I wouldn’t be wasting my time posting here either.
Here’s how to avoid the awkward panhandling thing:
Memorize this phrase:
“Change comes from here (place hand over heart), not here (pat your wallet).” it’s so Asheville and Zenny that the profound nature of what you said will allow you to walk away as said panhandler’s mind is blown. Problem solved.
I’d rather pay more for housing and live in a safe beautiful looking city without dilapidated scary neighborhoods.
Then you can move to Celebration, Fla. Asheville is a city. It’s not a damn theme park.
First: how exactly does a tourist town function when there’s nowhere to live on the wages of a tourist-sector job?
Second: assuming that the tourist goose is going to keep laying is not the way to plan for the future. Same applies to Mission, once it owns every damn doctor in town.
Tourism is a significant driver of Asheville’s economy. A lot of the retirees who use Mission Health came here as tourists. There will never be a problem of “nowhere to live on the wages of a tourist-sector job.” The people who can’t live here will move. If people leave hosing prices will fall and businesses will increase wages to find and keep worker. Where there is a labor shortage wages will increase (that is why Republicans want to halt illegal immigration which depresses wages). The Wal-Mart in Williston, ND for instance pays their workers $17.40 per hour.
“that is why Republicans want to halt illegal immigration which depresses wages”
It’s amazing people can’t see what’s right in front of them. Millions of legal and illegal immigrants let in each year do contribute to population growth.
Don’t complain about low wages when free trade under Bill Clinton moved value-added middle class jobs to China. These problems will diminish (Latin America’s birth rate is dropping and automation will gradually replace foreign labor). While they are not making any more land, population growth is already dropping across the Western world and in Japan. Automation could eventually make everyone of every race a “plantation owner.” Affordable housing could be 3-D printed as they are testing in China. Granted, these are pipe dreams for now.
The Wal-Mart in Williston, ND for instance pays their workers $17.40 per hour.
Really, you’re citing North Dakota, which has a total population smaller than WNC and a dirty oil boom? Pick a more appropriate comparison, and spare us the cant.
We get it: you want Theme Park Asheville without “trashy projects or trailer parks” anywhere a tourist might see them, but also want sufficient people working low wages to clean hotel toilets and wipe senior citizens’ asses. All it means is that you’re worth ignoring.
Of course, in the inflationary boom town economy of Williston, ND, $17.40/hour probably works out to a poverty wage that will barely get you enough to eat and space sleeping on a couch in someone’s living room. But keep on comparing apples and watermelons.
I did not say Wal-Mart’s $17.40 was a living wage in ND. The point was employers will adjust income to match the cost of living in an area. $17.40 is enough to find and keep workers in ND. Similarly in Asheville’s case, there will never be a problem of “nowhere to live on the wages of a tourist-sector job.”
Somebody has blinders on…
Similarly in Asheville’s case, there will never be a problem of “nowhere to live on the wages of a tourist-sector job.”
You’re the one arguing that “dilapidated scary neighborhoods” need to go away because they give tourists a sad. Other than waving your hands and invoking Magic Market Fairy Dust, what replaces “dilapidated scary neighborhoods” and still accommodates people who are currently spending the bulk of their income on housing? Is your hope just to shuffle them off to Leicester to live in trailers there, well out of the tourists’ way?
Well, there it is in print, the G word- gentrifi*@#$%&. I guess it’s official if it comes in the form of an article vs. a comment by a poster. I’m continually amused by G word deniers (aka NIMBY, move to Canton, etc), but no sadly I don’t have a solution. I just see it as “well, Asheville was a nice place to live until…” I don’t see it as a gov’t intervention or non intervention issue, nor should any kind of subsidized housing be the answer.
I’ll preach the doctrine of Malthus’ Carrying Capacity, and maybe City Council will pay attention, or maybe not. If given the current rate of growth for its own sake (medically defined as cancer as stated in other posts), howz about a question for Ashevillians instead:
How would we like to see this city in say 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? Will it look like the city in Bladerunner (yea, hyperbole) or can the average schmoe afford to buy a house and live relatively near downtown?
Some will run to the hills ala more rural living, some will move to the next ‘undiscovered’ nice place, but what happens when we run out of nice places?
The solution, rather than hysterical hyperbole about Asheville exceeding its “carrying capacity” — which at our population of only 85K is laughable for the foreseeable future — is to accept that this is a growing city. People want to live here. The only way to get them to stop moving here is to make it a place people don’t want to live.
Not an option. Therefore, what we need to do is embrace urban growth, funnel into downtown and the surrounding areas, as well as other areas in town that are undeniably urban, and require developers to include workforce housing in every new residential or mixed-use project. This is a desirable city. To make it and keep it a living, working city, it needs to maintain a mix of incomes. Cutesy, quaintsy, “exclusive” enclaves of wealth are a boil on the ass of any attempt at real community, and should be discouraged.
What’s the matter haunted? Did mommy and daddy cut you out of the will? Or, are you like the Hollywood elite who get filthy rich and lecture the rest of us about the evils of wealth. Perhaps you aren’t smart enough, or willing to work hard enough, or you lack the ability to see opportunity so that you might be able to achieve some success in your own life? It’s probably just easier for you to complain about others who have achieved something for themselves. Here’s a newsflash. They don’t owe you a damn thing. And developers don’t owe you affordable housing. Take your sense of entitlement to Detroit. You’re of no benefit to Asheville.
Your scattershot accusations are really a hoot, you know that? You accuse me of being poor, then rich in the same breath, then say I’m not doing anything with my life. You’re just precious. Just outright precious.
When you have an actual argument to make, instead of anonymous Internet heroism, let’s talk. Or, if you’d like, you could explain why you’re in favor of running all but the rich out of this city. That was the sentiment beneath your blithering, wasn’t it?
Unless I misunderstood you, of course. That would have been easy to do in the face of your disjointed ad hominem rant. Either way, be a dear won’t you, and actually contribute to the discussion?
I agree with haunted. To have a real, thriving community, like the Asheville we all know and love all income levels have to be able to live and work in the same place. I think this is especially important in an urban environment. It’s what gives these areas character. If you want an exclusive “urban” area, move to one of the faux urban environments crafted for the tasteless and wealthy, like Biltmore Park.
I did not accuse you of being rich and being poor in the same breath. But I believe one of the reasons for your lack of success is your inability to read and comprehend. Now, go back and reread my response, paying special attention to the word “or”.
I am not for running all but the rich out of town. But I also don’t support more government intervention and restriction of property rights. This city government helped to create this problem, and now they think they should solve it with more government action. As Reagan said, the scariest words to hear are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”. Scary of course, unless you favor socialism or communism.
Holly wood elite comment-check
quoting Reagan comment below- check
That FOX news playbook never goes out of style, does it?
Nobody in this town should ever be ashamed of pointing out the disparity in wages vs. housing cost, seeing as Buncombe County has the highest housing costs in NC yet our wages don’t reflect that (unless you happen to be living in the late 1970’s). It doesn’t make one a socialist for pointing that out either.
To deny the housing/wage disparity is at the end of the day simply another way of saying “let them eat cake” (or tapas and microbrewed beer in Asheville’s case).
You assume that the reason I am concerned about a community that is accessible to all income levels is because I was cut out of a will, implying poverty, then assume I’m rich and lecturing others on the evils thereof. Needless ad hominem, all of it.
You have yet to set out for us why you’re so upset at the notion of a community that is accessible to all, and at the notion of accessibility aided by government policy. I rather like Luther Blissett’s term “magic market fairy dust” ™ the cure that heals all. Are you telling us that magic market fairy dust ™ will fix Asheville’s income disparities? I’ve yet to see any proof of that. What I see is wealthy people from God knows where buying second (and third, and fourth) homes in Asheville, driving up prices for those of us who actually live here, and taking housing stock off the market when they don’t even use it ninety percent of the time. The market’s not going to fix that. Left to its own devices, the market will let those circumstances run to their natural conclusions, with the rich living in and near town, with everyone else pushed out to the hinterlands and driving in to serve them. That not’s a healthy community, nor one any rational person should want to live in.
What’s your solution? Let’s hear one without the needless, and baseless, personal attacks, please. Act like a grownup.
I wish my neighborhood would become gentrified. I’m tired of the renters who don’t take care of anything. The rednecks who park in the yard, the thugs who walk up and down the street looking into parked cars. I welcome gentrification with open arms!
Geez if I robbed cars for a living, I’d want to be in a nice WASPy gentrified neighborhood personally (better stuff to rob). I hear you about landlords though, it seems as if when we keep our heads down, at least they forget about raising the rent on us (for now).
What neighborhood is this?
Sounds exactly like my neighborhood.
I wonder why progressive solutions always involve more government intervention and restriction of property rights?
Call me when the free market gives a damn about anyone but the wealthy.
We don’t have a free market. We have cronyism.
Ah, the old chestnut: “capitalism is perfect, it just has never been properly tried.”
Capitalism, not cronyism, is the only system in the world that provides one the opportunity to rise from abject poverty to the highest levels of achievement. My guess is that you haven’t tried capitalism. Go live in Venezuela for awhile and then report back.
I think Harry’s comment below needs a caveat- the only ‘legal’ system. Are you telling me all those Scorcese movies about starting small by knocking over cigarette trucks, moving up to racketeering, extortion and bribery of public officials are BS? Organized crime, the black market, etc. over the years have produced more millionaires than capitalism only for capitalism being a newer theory of economics.
“Go live in Venezuela for awhile and then report back.”
Oh, the ghost of Joe McCarthy is in the building.
How are the Gini index and those income mobility stats looking? Not good for the USA.
Turns out that the societies that actually allow people to end up richer than their parents through their own efforts have mixed economies with broad social safety nets. For some reason, it’s easier to capitalize on your talents when you don’t have to worry about being turfed out of your home or bankrupted by illness.
Can I get an Amen!
Because the system’s not working as is, dumbass. I assume you’re doing fine, and I am too, but I have a concern and eye to the future. Income inequality is out of control. We’re one of the world’s wealthiest nations, plus we’re smart, resourceful, driven, and have a ton of resources in land and people, so I believe we can do better for each other.
I live in one of these gentrifying neighborhoods, right amongst a group of ungentrified homes where I wish I had better neighbors. But I’d rather have a neighborhood and city that is vibrant and diverse, that takes care of each other, rather than the opposite.
Very interesting article. Glad that there’s some attention being paid to this issue by the city. Will be interesting to see how they choose to best address it.
Making builders provide affordable housing? So do understand this correctly that if a builder wants to build something nice they have to provide affordable housing. To whom it’s affordable or to Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8. What does that do to property value?
Should I do some research before buying an upscale condo in the city as an investment?
Only an idiot *wouldn’t* do research before buying property. The purpose of city government is to create and maintain the city as a thriving economic engine and safe, vibrant home for the greatest number of people. It does not exist solely to enable you to buy a disposable house (notice I didn’t call it a “home”) and then flip it for the next parasite looking to make a buck.
Inclusionary Zoning does not affect the price of the high end condos in a building. Here is an explanation of it from the DC planning dept.-” Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) is a land use technique for developing diverse mixed-income communities by requiring each new residential development make a percentage of the new units affordable to targeted incomes. It often lets developers build more units through a “density bonus” along with other incentives to help the program operate better. IZ is used in cities across the country and states have made it part of their law. Montgomery County, MD was the first to implement IZ back in the 1970s. Since then, IZ helped create over 11,000 units of affordable housing in the county.” These units are merely in the same building as the other more expensive units. They use pared down finishes and appliances as opposed to what the “market price” units receive. They do not affect the builder or developer’s bottom line and can in fact, benefit them. Most of all the benefit is to the community, who is not displacing low income residents and replacing them with the wealthy.
The statement that they don’t impact bottom lines is, of course, nonsense. The massive subsidies encourage the developer to agree to a number of below market units, not a few $ saved on finishes and appliances.