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More Cities Pressing Pause on Development as Gentrification, Displacement Concerns Persist

Chicago and Atlanta both approved development moratoriums in areas surrounding new urban amenities this year. Other cities could soon add to the number.
September 7, 2020, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Seeking to curtail gentrification and displacement, Atlanta and Chicago put construction and demolition moratoriums in place early this year," according to an article by Haisteen Willis that examines these two examples as evidence of larger trends in the policy response to gentrification in neighborhoods facing new development interest.

The Chicago and Atlanta examples both have linear parks on old rail rights-of-way in common—the Beltline in Atlanta and the 606 in Chicago.

"In Atlanta, construction permits were banned until Dec. 4 to slow investor activity near the western portions of the Beltline, a trail system under construction that is laid over old railroad tracks and driving up the value of real estate everywhere it winds," according to Willis. 

"Chicago made a similar move, prohibiting until February 2021 demolition of old two- and four-flats, which were being torn down in favor of large single-family houses, in the western portions of the 606 trail." (Planetizen picked up news of the Chicago moratorium when it was still a proposal in the City Council.)

According to Willis, neighborhoods in New York City and Gainesville, Florida could soon also add development moratoriums in response to housing projects proposed in low-income neighborhoods of color. 

While local neighborhood groups and some politicians support the moratoriums in the name of preserving community identity and preventing displacement caused by rising rents and taxes, developers and construction companies say that moratoriums create too much drag on an already sluggish economy.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, September 3, 2020 in The Washington Post
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