Urban Displacement Project Expands, updates its Northern California maps
By Kathleen Maclay
UC Berkeley News
16 November 2017
Image courtesy of UC Berkeley News
The Urban Displacement Project, which was co-founded by Professor of City & Regional Planning Karen Chapple, has recently been expanded, refined and updated, thus illuminating the severity of the latest state of gentrification and displacement in the Bay Area. The project has been conducted in collaboration with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
Since the project was first released, the maps have been updated to reflect publicly available data rather than previously used proprietary information. This update makes it easier for the maps to be kept up-to-date.
Furthermore, in 2015, the maps only reflected the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Napa, and Contra Costa. Since then, four new counties have been added to the original database: Yolo, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, and Sacramento.
The updated maps provide further evidence that the displacement and gentrification crisis is growing more severe. For example, the 2013 maps demonstrated that more than 53 percent of low-income households lived in neighborhoods at risk of or already experiencing displacement and gentrification pressures. However, the 2015 maps demonstrate that 62 percent of low-income households across the region lived in neighborhoods at risk of displacement or already experiencing it.
“These maps confirm what many of us already know: Gentrification and displacement continue to be a crisis, and the crisis is touching the entire megaregion,” said Chapple’s co-founder Miriam Zuk (Ph.D. City & Regional Planning ‘13), director of the Urban Displacement Project and the Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley.
The latest maps present which communities are at risk for gentrification and displacement, where such processes are currently occurring, and which neighborhoods are in such advanced stages of gentrification that while considered low-income in 2000, today are considered moderate- or high-income.
The updated maps also demonstrate the ramifications of anti-displacement policies in the Bay Area. Policy briefs on rent control, inclusionary zoning and condominium conversion regulations provide additional detail on how some of these policies work, and case studies illustrate how these policies and community organizing strategies can be combined to mitigate displacement. Chapple believes that the maps may be a helpful resource for affordable housing developers to make improved and more informed decisions regarding subsidized housing sites.
“Policy design should be tailored to the conditions on the ground, and this means taking a community’s stage of gentrification and displacement into account. These maps allow advocates and decision-makers to assess a community’s current condition and formulate solutions based on that assessment,” Zuk said.
The project’s researchers found that in comparing the 2013 maps with the 2015 maps, the rate of gentrification and displacement accelerated most quickly in Oakland communities, while the rate of exclusion accelerated most quickly in San Francisco.
Another significant finding discovered by the researchers is that in the Mission District of San Francisco, there has been a notable decrease in the number of families and Latino residents in a traditionally, family and Latino community. At the same time, Mission district rents for a two-bedroom apartment jumped from $3,800 in 2014 to $4,500 in 2016.
An additional difference between the 2013 and 2015 maps is that the researchers have added the category of exclusion to the project to classify moderate to high level income neighborhoods according to their exclusion levels. The maps demonstrate that the Bay Area’s moderate- and high-income neighborhoods lost 40 percent more low-income households than did low-income neighborhoods. This indicates that exclusion is more prevalent in the Bay Area than gentrification.
Displacement pressures have numerous adverse effects including the increase in people experiencing homelessness, the creation of the super commuter, as well as the general lack of tenant protections. Therefore, the Urban Displacement Project will continue to research and further explore the field of displacement and fair housing to hopefully create long-term solutions for these adverse effects.