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For Less Displacement, Build More Housing

New research finds lower displacement rates in neighborhoods with more new housing development. Slowing or stopping new development has the opposite of the desired effect, constricting housing supply, driving up rents, and displacing residents.
August 28, 2018, 2pm PDT | Todd Litman
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Payton Chung

An article by Joe Cortright makes that by preventing development, communities concerned about displacement exacerbate the problems they had hoped to avoid. New development, according to Cortright, s necessary to prevent displacement.  

"Slowing or stopping new development, particularly new housing development has exactly the opposite of the desired effect. It constricts the housing supply, drives up rents and fuels displacement."

"We’ve seen this time and again. A couple of months back, we profiled two Oakland neighborhoods, Uptown and Fruitvale. Both experienced almost identical increases in rents and home values as the Bay Area city boomed. But Fruitvale, which has built more housing has seen dramatically less demographic change, while Uptown which has built almost no new housing, has seen its population shift."

"The same holds for two neighborhoods in Washington DC’s 20003 zip code, Capitol Hill and the Navy Yard. Historic Capitol Hill has organized to largely block most new development; the Navy Yard area (near the new Washington Nationals ballpark) has seen thousands of new apartments built in the past decade. As Greater Greater Washington describes, the addition of new apartments has helped push down rents in the Navy Yard (the orange line) while rents in Capitol Hill (purple) continue to climb."

"If you don’t build new housing, you intensify the shortage, raise the rents, and amplify the displacement."

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Published on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 in City Observatory
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