The Downside of Smart Growth

At an annual housing conference at UC Berkeleyhousing researcher Robert Lang of the Fannie Mae Foundation warned that by enacting smart growth revitalization strategies without ensuringaffordable housing and subsidy programs, gentrification occurs.

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September 28, 2000, 2:00 PM PDT

By California 2000


At an annual housing conference at UC Berkeley last week,housing researcher Robert Lang of the Fannie Mae Foundation warned thatby enacting smart growth revitalization strategies without ensuringaffordable housing and subsidy programs, gentrification occurs. A FannieMae Foundation conference scheduled in Atlanta on Nov. 1, titled "FairGrowth: Connecting Sprawl, Smart Growth and Social Equity," will addressthese hidden issues of smart growth. Fair-growth advocate Angela GloverBlackwell of Oakland-based PolicyLink notes that while smart growthgoals encompass principles of economic and social equity, discussionsand implementation strategies tend to focus on the environment and theeconomy and often leave out the possibilities of displacing oflow-income residents. A variety of strategies for cities, counties andnonprofit housing groups to support a more balanced resident base havebeen proposed by fair-growth advocates, including: forming communityland trusts and building for-sale housing on it that does not includethe cost of real estate; using profits from land speculation tosubsidize rent for low-income residents; or requiring new housingdevelopments to include a certain percentage of affordable homes forlow-income residents.

Thanks to California 2000 Project

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