The Urban Displacement Project is a research and action initiative of UC Berkeley in collaboration with researchers at UCLA. The project aims to understand the nature of gentrification and displacement in the Bay Area. It focuses on creating tools to help communities identify the pressures surrounding them and take more effective action.
In 2015, researchers at UC Berkeley and UCLA completed a review of the academic and practitioner literature on gentrification, displacement and its relationship to public and private investments. This review highlights many limitations in the literature and provides detail on the following findings:
- Neighborhoods change slowly, but over time are becoming more segregated by income, due in part to macro-level increases in income inequality.
- Gentrification results from both flows of capital and people. The extent to which gentrification is linked to racial transition differs across neighborhood contexts.
- Commercial gentrification can also transform a neighborhood’s meaning, but research is mixed on whether it is positive or negative for existing residents and businesses.
- New fixed-rail transit has a generally positive effect on both residential and commercial property values, but its impact varies substantially according to context.
- Proximity to high quality schools and parks, as well as access to highways, increases home values.
- Displacement takes many different forms—direct and indirect, physical or economic, and exclusionary—and may result from either investment or disinvestment.
- Despite severe data and analytic challenges in measuring the extent of displacement, most studies agree that gentrification at a minimum leads to exclusionary displacement and may push out some renters as well.
- Previous studies have failed to build a cumulative understanding of displacement because they have utilized different definitions, compared different populations, and adopted a relatively short timeframe; there is not even agreement on what constitutes a significant effect.
- Existing studies rarely account or proxy for regional market strength, which undermines their relevance to particular contexts.
Project Director: Miriam Zuk, Ph.D.
Principal Investigators: Karen Chappel, Professor of City and Regional Planning, UCB; Paul Waddel, Professor of City and Regional Planning, UCB; Dan Chatman, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning, UCB; Paul Ong, Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare and Asian American Studies, UCLA and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Professor of Urban Planning; Associate Dean of the School of Public Affairs, UCLA.
Community Based Organizations, Regional Planning Agencies and the State of California’s Air Resources Board.