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KCLBADave

Gentrification...

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KCLBADave    119

Lighthouse is beginning to REALLY step it up in the Madison Square Neighborhood. If you took the time to look over our design charrette plans that I linked to earlier you know what I mean.

In relation to this ambitious work we are beginning to hear cries of "Gentrification!" coming from various sectors of Grand Rapids..."you are going to displace the poor"..."you are driving out all the old time residents of the neighborhood."

Lighthouse uses the term Gentrification with Justice, which was coined (I think) by Bob Lupton of FCS Ministries, Atlanta. Here is what Bob says:

"Gentrification," Mr. Lupton has seen, is a term often thrown around unintelligently either as a hope or-for some low-income renters who will be displaced -a curse. But some neighborhoods have lived with displacement for decades as those with talent and legal ambition left, leaving drug dealers in charge: A new displacement is not the enemy if dealers and addicts are displaced by those ambitious for community renewal.

What about the worthy poor who may be displaced? That's where the development of mixed-income housing becomes essential. "Gentrification with justice" means that striving poor families can stay in their communities and live next to middle-class families who can help poor parents keep their children from the undertow of the streets. Mr. Lupton has come to oppose the "romantic notions" that a poor community's culture must be protected from outside values and that the affluent who become involved in inner-city neighborhoods must practice "servanthood." The better goal, he says, is "partnership."

What do you think?

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Rizzo    0

Well, if we all live together that might make different ideas all that much easier to understand. Ideas and ways of life may flow much more easier because of the compactness of the community.

Dave, what is the income level for this development? Is it mixed enough that it provides a snapshot of the enitre neihborhood or is it polarized with low income and high income?

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grcitydog    0

This is a subject that I am quite concerned about. First, I don't really like the term "gentrification" at least not as it is applied to any and all situations in which a poor neighborhood is rehabilitated and people with more means begin moving in. I feel that as an over-riding principal, any urban vitality and community is enhanced when there is diversity in the people who live there. This is not only racial diversity, but also economic and social diversity. Our society has for so long seen segregation a the way people move up the social ladder, this has the short-term effect of helping those moving up, but devastating to those left behind, and a longer term harm of all of society, including those moving up, but that is a separate issue. I think that if a neighborhood is to be redeveloped, there has to be intent from the start that the goal is to achieve integration and not displacement (I know that in some instances, the goal is displacement, and that is where the term "gentrification" can apply). How to achieve that? First is with the zoning and master plan, make sure that with the future buildings, some are to accomodate renters, some for small condos, some for single families, and so on. This will ensure that people who can afford only a small apartment will be able to live next door to a family with a rather large house. This will not only encourage people of different incomes living near eachother, but also people of different ages; kids can live next to college students and next to retirees. Second, when coming into a neighborhood, don't have an urban renewal attitude that you are going to level the place and rebuild it as utopia. Instead, partner with the current residents and totally involve them, so that as new people move in, they will not only be able to stay, but will want to stay. Third, the attitudes of the public have to change; we are so used to thinking that the only way to "make it" is to move to a bigger, better, newer house in the latest neighborhood. I don't know how to accomplish that, but until people see that diversity is better in everyone's interest than homogeneity, it will be difficult to build a truly integrated neighborhood. People have to learn not to be afraid of someone different than they are. Anyways, that's my $ .02

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mejane    2

Your post was worth way more than 2 cents, Citydog.

I was thinking of how to respond, but you said it better

than I could. I hope this project can fulfill the dreams

of all those who seek a better life both in terms of where

they live and how they live. And I hope a new paradigm

defines those terms for the future.

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KCLBADave    119

Well, if we all live together that might make different ideas all that much easier to understand. Ideas and ways of life may flow much more easier because of the compactness of the community.

Dave, what is the income level for this development? Is it mixed enough that it provides a snapshot of the enitre neihborhood or is it polarized with low income and high income?

Rizzo, much of the development we have planned is scheduled to be market rate. We are trying to make the Madison Square Neighborhood a neighborhood of choice. This will be difficult due to the reputation the neighborhood has. One of the things that we think will help is a re-naming. Towards that end a group of us, including the neighborhood association have come up with the name Southtown. I know a bit cheesy, but you have Downtown, Eastown, Uptown...why not Southtown?

For the past 4 years Lighthouse and our partner organization Midwest Development has been developing a fair amount of affordable rent apartments. By the end of this year we will have completed about 130 apartments which, due to the grant dollars we got to do the development, have to be affordable for the next 30 years. These are just the apartments Lighthouse has developed. It does not take into consideration the 100's of affordable apartments in Southtown owned by the GR Housing Commission, ICCF, and Community Rebuilders.

Our strategy is to establish long term affordable rent in the neighborhood, then go after the market. We feel we are close to a critical mass. Thus our current work to market the neighborhood as a neighborhood of choice. Our current conversatons are revolving around these questions,

"What do you want to see in the neighborhood in order to provide incentive for you to move in?"

and

"What components make up a viable thriving neighborhood?"

These questions are being asked of both the families that live in this neighborhood as well as folks that do not live here, but we would like to attract here. Our list of answers to these questions is growing. If anyone from UP wants to add to it, feel free to post here.

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Rizzo    0

Dave, what is this crititical mass you speak of? Is it density?

After seeing the renderings I would consider moving to this area. I like the idea of Southtown, no chessy at all. I think Wyoming and Kentwood along the Division Ave corridor took that unofficial name long time ago --Southtown, Southside, its all good.

:thumbsup: good job

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KCLBADave    119

Dave, What is this crititical mass you speak of, density?

After seeing the renderings I would consider moving to this area. I like the idea of Southtown, no chessy at all. I think Wyoming and Kentwood along the Division Ave corridor took that unofficial name long time ago --Southtown, Southside, its all good.

Lighthouse's goal is to ensure that every current resident who wants to stay in the neighborhood...can, regardless of where property values go in this neighborhood. In the last 5 years property values in the Southtown neighborhood have risen 240% faster than incomes. This is a neighborhood RIPE for gentrification if intentional steps are not taken.

Critical mass for us is kind of a relative term. We do not have it down to an exact science.

What we do know is that their are pockets in the Southtown neighborhood with some of the highest percentages of povery in the City. In one census tract 80% of the residents are low-income, which is below 50% Area Median Income. The area median income for a family of 4 is somewhere around $55-60k. Let's say it is $55k, to be classified Low Income a family of 4 would have to have a household income of less than $27,500.

I am not sure (the figures are at my office) but I think the total percentage of families in the Southtown neighborhood that are low-income is around 55%...I will double check on it tomorrow.

When we try to determine how much affordable rental an homeownership opportunities we need to preserve, all of these stats are taken into consideration.

Not sure if I answered your questions Rizzo... :blink:

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bwindi25    0

How to achieve that? First is with the zoning and master plan, make sure that with the future buildings, some are to accommodate renters, some for small condos, some for single families, and so on. This will ensure that people who can afford only a small apartment will be able to live next door to a family with a rather large house. This will not only encourage people of different incomes living near eachother, but also people of different ages; kids can live next to college students and next to retirees. Second, when coming into a neighborhood, don't have an urban renewal attitude that you are going to level the place and rebuild it as utopia. Instead, partner with the current residents and totally involve them, so that as new people move in, they will not only be able to stay, but will want to stay. Third, the attitudes of the public have to change; we are so used to thinking that the only way to "make it" is to move to a bigger, better, newer house in the latest neighborhood. I don't know how to accomplish that, but until people see that diversity is better in everyone's interest than homogeneity, it will be difficult to build a truly integrated neighborhood. People have to learn not to be afraid of someone different than they are. Anyways, that's my $ .02

Great post. Maybe you are implying this, but I would just add that this must apply to existing and new suburban developments as well. It's not just about rebuilding our inner city neighborhoods; it's also about planning new communities on the edge that integrate different types of housing and affordability. Most of this stuff is just a dream though until our city develops an urban growth boundary or an equivalent planning and zoning policy that encourages density and discourages sprawl. People will just keeping moving out farther and farther if they don't like being part of a diverse neighborhood.

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KCLBADave    119

Great post. Maybe you are implying this, but I would just add that this must apply to existing and new suburban developments as well. It's not just about rebuilding our inner city neighborhoods; it's also about planning new communities on the edge that integrate different types of housing and affordability. Most of this stuff is just a dream though until our city develops an urban growth boundary or an equivalent planning and zoning policy that encourages density and discourages sprawl. People will just keeping moving out farther and farther if they don't like being part of a diverse neighborhood.

I could not agree more. We all saw what happened when folk on the North Side around Huff School "thought" Lighthouse was going to build affordable housing. Imagine the NIMBY we would get if we did a Low Income Housing Tax Credit project in say...Cascade or Rockford.

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Rizzo    0

To think my property values would drop through the floor and then dig its way through Earth then into China and continuing out to space. Oh, and the fact affodable housing is affordably housing crime.

Are thoes valid arguments when moving away from affordable housing? Do property values plumit, and does crime jump?

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grcitydog    0

Great post. Maybe you are implying this, but I would just add that this must apply to existing and new suburban developments as well. It's not just about rebuilding our inner city neighborhoods; it's also about planning new communities on the edge that integrate different types of housing and affordability. Most of this stuff is just a dream though until our city develops an urban growth boundary or an equivalent planning and zoning policy that encourages density and discourages sprawl. People will just keeping moving out farther and farther if they don't like being part of a diverse neighborhood.

Thanks, and I agree with you on both points:1. If we desire to have a better society, we must apply this to new communities and suburbs as well, and 2. This is not feasible in our present state of zoning. I just think that the inner cities are a good place to start because first of all, and I might be stereotyping, but the people who live in the city are more open-minded to a "new" living situtation than the suburban types and also the infrastructure of the inner city lends itself to community atmosphere way better than a street with no sidewalks and lots of cul-de-sacs. I think that once people see that a truly integrated neighborhood, they will see that it isn't all that bad and will start to want to live there. (I'm not naive, however, and realize that for some, this will never happen- they will always want to live in their enclave with the exact people like themselves).

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GaryP    0

Interesting article monsoon posted on the main page. http://www.governing.com/articles/3houston.htm

Is gentrification, despite what the academics say, really a problem of displacement? Is it a natural and unavoidable consequence of market forces, or does it result from specific policies? Is it a problem of low wages or one of high-priced real estate? Does it require government intervention? That such a debate is playing out in Houston

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KCLBADave    119

Interesting article monsoon posted on the main page. http://www.governing.com/articles/3houston.htm

Is it a problem of low wages or one of high-priced real estate?

Great find Gary thanks. In regard to the above line from the quote, I would say low wages more than high-priced real estate is the case here in GR.

In the Madsion Square neighborhood property values have risen 240% faster than family income.

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twoshort    8

"What do you want to see in the neighborhood in order to provide incentive for you to move in?"

and

"What components make up a viable thriving neighborhood?"

These questions are not easily answered, obviously. My finace and I are looking to buy in one of Lighthouse Communities' target neighborhoods, as Dave knows. So what were we looking for (besides something we could afford ;))? We're looking for everything that Lighthouse, ICCF and the othes are doing. It's a good mix of people. It's affordable. Its neighborhood rejuvenation in front of our eyes. It's a strong sense of community that can't be found elsewhere. It's not an apartment in Rentwood.

There is (or will be) retail, and commercial, and food, and entertainment a stones throw away. Uptown Village is going in around the corner. There's (hopefully) a new bar going in at Diamond and Wealthy. Bazzani has been going through the neighborhood building by building it seems. All of this is very exciting. Certainly more exciting than watching the houses at the end of the culdasac get roughed in. To be honest, we couldn't afford a house out in Cascade or Byron Center... but at this rate, why would we want to? But the fact is, if it wasn't for UrbanPlanet, I wouldn't know much about any of this.

So what are we hoping for? A strong neighborhood association. Community events. More new neighbors... Oh, and a nice green yard :D.

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