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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “gentrification”

Increasingly Whites are moving to Historically Black Neighborhoods

www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/27/upshot/diversity-housing-maps-raleigh-gentrification.html

An interesting article from the New York Times. Sort of a form of gentrification. Values will increase which is good for residents but historic nature of neighborhoods will change. We are seeing some of this in north Webster Groves. Written by Paul Dribin

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Gentrification?

Professor Todd Swanstrom wrote a wonderful article that I read in Urban Observatory. In that article he very intelligently took apart much of the misinformation in St. Louis. Advocates have decried any effort at city development that does not specifically address poor people. They complain that gentrification is moving poor people out of the central corridor and the Tower Grove area. Professor Swanstrom points out the data does not support this assumption. True gentrification requires a substantial increase in housing costs that drive out poor people. This is not happening in St. Louis. The contrary problem has taken place; depopulation of many areas of the city.

You would think we would welcome development with open arms. Oh well!

Can Affordable Housing Development Lead to Gentrification

nyti.ms/2OOexgN

An interesting article from the Times. A New York City neighborhood builds more mixed income housing in an effort to increase affordable housing. Some neighborhood residents complain they will be pushed out. There do not seem to be any good answers. Written by Paul Dribin

Olive U City Development

www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2018/06/28/commentary-taxpayer-largesse-unnecessary-wasteful.html

A good editorial that appeared in the St. Louis Business Journal opposing a TIF for this project. Show Me Institute was author of article.

The Not-So Hidden Truths About the Segregation of America’s Housing – Shelterforce

There are sometimes audible gasps in a room as Richard Rothstein talks about his book, The Color of Law, and the United States government’s work to create, encourage, and enforce racial segregation in housing in the 20th century.

Excellent interview with richard rothstein about housing segregation
— Read on shelterforce.org/2018/05/22/the-not-so-hidden-truths-about-the-segregation-of-americas-housing/

University City Development

www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2018/05/29/university-city-development-proposal-mirrors.html

A very thoughtful article in the Business journal about the proposed development at 170 and Olive in University City. This is a big project and many homeowners could be displaced. They would receive just economic benefit but the overall cost to them and the community is large. Written by Paul Dribin

Opportunity Zones

A good article today from Brookings about Opportunity Zones. These are federally designated neighborhoods for which investors can derive large tax benefits by investing. The goal is capital appreciation rather than jobs or other more social indicators. The problem is that the program may lend itself to over gentrification and may actually drive poor people out of these neighborhoods. The jury is still out. In St. Louis, I don’t believe gentrification is much of a problem. Written by Paul Dribin

City Reverse snobbery

For many year I have worked with so called urban pioneers who tend to be relatively affluent white people who live in marginal neighborhoods in cities by choice. I have found they tend to look down their noses on people who live in the burbs or make other choices. This is somewhat ironic because they often accuse suburbanites of the same type of snobbery they display.

We need to get past this issue. We all need each other. No one has a monopoly on truth or morality. People should not have to live in dangerous environments to prove their virtue. Troubled neighborhoods need middle class investment. Gentrification is not all bad; I don’t know of a neighborhood that has improved that has not gentrified. Written by Paul Dribin

Development Subsidies in St. Louis

I attended a neighborhood housing board meeting in one of the neighborhoods of St. Louis recently. The group discussed a rehab job on a vacant house that will cost in the neighborhood of $250,000 to rehab and then sell for $120000. Development subsides will cover the gap.

This process makes no sense to me. I see the need for development subsidies in communities that are comprehensively redeveloping their housing stock and do not yet have housing values to break even in the process. These subsides should be limited to a reasonable percentage of the ultimate value. In the case I cited the subsidy of $13000 is more than the value of the property. This is crazy and it has been done thousands of times in St. Louis. Instead of comprehensive rehabilitation, aldermen or community activists pick out a property to rehab which has not overall effect on improving the community. Someone needs to take a good look at the whole process. Milwaukee where I previously lived and worked required that any housing with rehab costs higher than the end value be demolished. Written by Paul Dribin

Designing a More Inclusive City

A way for St. Louis to prosper is to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible. An article I just read in the New Yok Times describes how often through subtle measures we exclude people. An example the author cited was the lack of comfortable seating in public spaces. These measures of course by themselves are not game changers but are part of an overall package that make cities appealing. Written by a Paul Dribin

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