How will you guarantee that this project won’t gentrify the Rondo neighborhood?

– Coordinate a neighborhood/regional economic development approach that takes into account the current need areas (crime mitigation, green space, housing, jobs,etc) that includes a redevelopment strategy that is not contingent upon the land bridge’s development or completion.

– Develop a “Smart Growth” strategy for Rondo that piggybacks upon Mayor Carter’s agenda for the City of Saint Paul, which takes into account current development conditions, the emerging trends around sustainability, and the future community-economic development potential based upon industry changes, etc.

– Address the policy-related issues surrounding gentrification, and adopt similar solutions as the cohort in Atlanta that created a 20-year fund to take care of the increased property tax burden of the residents as development occurs.

– Leverage the resources of local neighborhood partners in the purchase of vacant lands or properties, to shut-off the potential displacement caused by outside developers.

What Is Gentrification?

Some define gentrification as a profit-driven racial and class reconfiguration of urban, working-class and communities of color that have suffered from a history of disinvestment and abandonment.

The process is often characterized by declines in the number of low-income, people of color in neighborhoods that begin to cater to higher-income workers willing to pay higher rents.

Gentrification is driven by private developers, landlords, businesses, and corporations, and supported by the government through policies that facilitate the process of displacement, often in the form of public subsidies.

Gentrification happens in areas where commercial and residential land is cheap, relative to other areas in the city and region, and where the potential to turn a profit either through repurposing existing structures or building new ones is great.

Gentrification can be stopped! 

Gentrification is not the inevitable result of economic development. Quite the opposite, it is the result of fundamentally unjust economic development policies, widespread public disinvestment in historically marginalized communities, and lack of protections for existing residents.

By advancing a vision of human development that is based on true community development, this report makes clear that community organizing, collective power-building, and community self-determination must be the foundation for any strategy to prevent or reverse gentrification and displacement. The recommendations stand in contrast to popular “equitable development strategies,” such as transit-oriented development (TOD), mixed-income development, and deconcentration of poverty approaches.

Rather than focus primarily on physical improvements or require the movement of existing residents, we suggest policies that empower local residents and communities with rights, protections, and a voice in determining the development of their own neighborhoods.

We also recommend policies that regulate government, landlord, and developer activity to promote equitable investment, affordability and stability, and maximum benefits for existing residents.

The policy recommendations below are based upon review of key literature, existing policies, and interviews with experts, allies, and affected residents.

1. Multiple policies must be advanced in order to effectively prevent gentrification and displacement.  Here are six key principles for preventing displacement from a housing rights perspective. These principles address distinct but complementary policy goals, including:

– Baseline protections for vulnerable residents, including policies that protect tenants and homeowners in the face of gentrification pressure and ensure access to services, just compensation, and the right to return in cases of displacement;

– Preservation and production of affordable housing, including efforts to preserve the overall supply and affordability levels of existing housing;

– Stabilization of existing communities, through ongoing and equitable investment in all homes and neighborhoods;

– Non-market based approaches to housing and community development, including development of cooperative housing models;

– Displacement prevention as a regional priority, including the creation of regional incentives, data, and fund-ing to support local anti-displacement efforts; and

– Planning as a participatory process, including practices to build greater participation, accountability, and transparency into local land use and development decision-making.

2. Policies should be advanced at the appropriate stage of gentrification, based on an analysis of neighborhood and city-level change, in order to effectively meet local needs.

3. Resident outreach, community organizing, and leadership development are essential to any anti-displacement strategy, in order to secure and strengthen rights and opportunities for vulnerable residents, ensure communities are informed and involved in key development decisions, and contribute to successful policy design and enforcement.

4. Affordable housing policies and programs should serve the needs of people in the same neighborhood. This can be achieved by prioritizing longtime, low-income residents for eligibility within new affordable housing, earmarking taxes and fees triggered by development for use in the same neighborhood, and establishing affordability requirements in new developments that are based on local neighborhood income needs.

5. Equity impacts should be central to the policy debate about development and neighborhood change. This can be achieved by requiring community health impact analyses for all new development projects above a certain threshold. These analyses should address impacts for longtime residents and trigger mitigations for potential displacement.

6. All policies would benefit from the below components:

– Pro-active enforcement efforts, including penalties for non-compliance, so that the burden of enforcement does not fall onto vulnerable residents;

– Protections for vulnerable populations, including policy design features to minimize displacement, rights for residents faced with eviction, just compensation in cases of displacement, right to return if temporary relocation is required, and access to information about rights and opportunities;

– Mechanisms to trigger relocation funding, particularly for policies that aim to minimize loss of affordable housing and mitigate displacement impacts; and

– Dedicated staff and funding for enforcement, which can be supported by local, regional, state, and federal funding sources.

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