Project Connect promises to prioritize equity and inclusion with $300 million dedicated to anti-displacement efforts.
Austin's newly approved $7 billion transit expansion plan boasts an ambitious set of goals that, according to Mayor Steve Adler, meets "so many long-held needs." The project will expand bus and electric bike share services, build a transit tunnel, and install almost ten miles of commuter rail.
While efficient and popular with transportation planners, light rail has a darker connotation for many community activists like Susana Almanza. Almanza, who serves as director of environmental justice organization PODER, worries about the effects of the new transit infrastructure on local communities, citing a history of displacement that frequently follows new rail lines. As transit-adjacency transforms from an undesirable reality to a highly valued urban amenity, low-income communities near rail lines become displaced by luxury housing developments aimed at upwardly mobile workers. An NRDC study of California's major urban areas found that rent for a two-bedroom apartment within a half-mile of a transit stop averaged more than $3,000, well above affordability for most transit-dependent families.
Austin's leaders are addressing these concerns head-on with an equity plan and dedicated budget aimed at helping low-income residents stay in their homes and reducing the negative impacts of rail construction. The budget includes rent subsidies and homeowner assistance to help the communities that rely on transit the most and offset the neighborhood change inevitably brought by new transit infrastructure. As part of the equity plan, the city plans to create a neighborhood-level equity assessment tool and community advisory committee that will monitor performance progress once projects are underway.
Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think
Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.
New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives
The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.
‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters
As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.
More Funds to Transform the Puente Hills Landfill into a Regional Park
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors just approved an additional $28 million to support the development of the Puente Hills Regional Park at the landfill site.
Denver Freeway Widening Plans on Hold
The Colorado Department of Transportation’s plan to widen the Interstate 25 freeway through Denver is one of a few plans to widen urban freeways under consideration in the United States.
Public Perceptions of Sprawl and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Urban density has a bad reputation.
City of Redwood City
City of Rohnert Park
City of Hot Springs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.