Research Brief on Housing Production and Displacement
Debate over the relative importance of subsidized and market-rate housing production in alleviating the current housing crisis continues to preoccupy policy makers, developers and advocates. This research brief adds to the discussion by providing a nuanced analysis of the relationship between housing production, affordability and displacement in the San Francisco Bay Area, finding that:
- At the regional level, both market-rate and subsidized housing reduce displacement pressures, but subsidized housing has over double the impact of market-rate units.
- Market-rate production is associated with higher housing cost burden for low-income households, but lower median rents in subsequent decades.
- At the local, block group level in San Francisco, neither market-rate nor subsidized housing production has the protective power they do at the regional scale, likely due to the extreme mismatch between demand and supply.
Although more detailed analysis is needed to clarify the complex relationship between development, affordability and displacement at the local scale, this research implies the importance of not only increasing production of subsidized and market-rate housing in California’s coastal communities, but also investing in the preservation of housing affordability and stabilizing vulnerable communities.
Download the Research Brief here.
Executive Summary of the Urban Displacement Project
Literature Review on Gentrification and Displacement
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.
This literature review has also been published as a working paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco available here.
As part of the Regional Early Warning System for Displacement project funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, UC Berkeley conducted regional data analysis to better understand the nature and drivers of gentrification and displacement, which was validated through 9 neighborhood case studies. From this analysis, and with careful review and input from an advisory committee, we developed 8 neighborhood typologies to help communities better characterize their experience and risks in an effort to raise awareness and stimulate action.
Previous Work: Susceptibility Report
In 2009, we developed an early warning toolkit for gentrification with funding from the Association of Bay Area Governments.