In 2015, researchers at UDP collaborated with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development to better understand and predict where gentrification and displacement was happening and would likely occur in the Bay Area through a community-engaged research process. These efforts culminated in the creation of interactive gentrification and displacement typology maps that summarized housing market dynamics and displacement and gentrification risk into categories (“typologies”) at the census tract level. The goal of these maps, as well as complementary in-depth case studies of 9 Bay Area communities was to help frame conversations around issues of gentrification, displacement, and exclusion and to inform strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of housing instability.
Building upon continued gentrification and displacement analysis for other regions both nationally and internationally, in 2018, UDP partnered with the Strong, Prosperous, and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) to assess local dynamics around gentrification, displacement, and exclusion in four of its six target regions, specifically Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, and Memphis. Working in collaboration with local research and community partners, UDP made the following high-level improvements to the original typologies:
- Used mixed income categories and market type designations to classify tract-level income levels.
- Added new typologies, including the ‘Ongoing Displacement,’ ‘Stable Moderate/Middle Income’, and ‘Stable Advanced Exclusive’ categories.
- Included short-range shifts in rental and home value data to accompany long-range change measurements
- Considered ‘extra-local’ factors, including rent gap measures and the change in rent of surrounding tracts.
Reapplied to the Bay Area, this methodology helps shed light on recent neighborhood change dynamics, as well as patterns undisclosed in original typology maps. We note, however, that our results do not always coincide with impressions "on the ground" for several reasons. For example, though we categorize census tracts as just one neighborhood change type, different types of change may be occurring in particular blocks or block groups. Also, we do not account for public or subsidized housing in the analysis; including these low-income stable residents in the analysis may push the neighborhood out of the gentrification category into another low-income type.
The main takeaways from this analysis are included below.