As the Puget Sound region invests billions in a new light rail system, many stakeholders, including community leaders, workers, equity advocates and planners, are asking – who will benefit? Will the advantages of living along light rail be shared by households of all incomes and people of all races and ethnicities?
Transit oriented development (TOD), holds tremendous promise and opportunity for communities of color and low-income households. But, strong evidence of gentrification and the threat of displacement in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, accelerated by the light rail, threaten to undermine this promise. Rainier Valley represents one of the most racially diverse areas in the Puget Sound and is also one of the first communities to receive light rail.
Ensuring that TOD results in real equity outcomes requires a sharp focus on what equity means and a steady determination to achieve those outcomes. By including a racial justice framework in TOD planning and…
What Does This Guide Do?
This guide is intended to provide Southern California housing advocates with an understanding of certain opportunities and legal tools for influencing affordable housing and land use polices at four distinct phases of sustainable transit planning and development: the regional, local, neighborhood, and project-specific levels. To address some of the risks that are specific to the Southern California region, and to capitalize on some of the opportunities that come with transit-oriented development, this guide specifically focuses on laws affecting affordable housing and regional and local planning, zoning, and land disposition policies. Additionally, although this guide discusses tools available throughout Southern California, it also specifically identifies opportunities in the City and County of Los Angeles.
This report includes a synopsis of the history of barriers to local coordination of housing and transportation resulting from HUD and DOT statutes and regulations, a summary of efforts to date to identify barriers within each agency’s programs, and a description of efforts underway to address these barriers. We conclude the report with a list of provisions in HUD and DOT statutes and regulations, grouped into four categories. These categories correspond to key areas where improved coordination would better support local strategies to plan and implement sustainable communities:
Many metropolitan areas are struggling with how to accommodate future population growth—and are looking to transit-oriented development (TOD) as a potential solution. TODs, in which densely-built, mixedincome housing is placed near transit to create walkable neighborhoods complete with amenities and retail, could house as many as a quarter of the country’s new households in coming years.1 Yet one barrier to building a significant amount of TOD housing is the unwillingness of many local residents to support some of the components of TOD, particularly higher-density construction and mixed-income housing. Often called NIMBYs (short for Not-In-My-Backyard), opposing residents can stop such developments in their tracks.
Introduction to H+T
Significance of Transportation Costs and the Lack of Transparency
Today, the real estate market knows how to incorporate the value of land into the price of the home—based on its location and proximity to jobs and amenities—but there is less clarity about how the accompanying transportation costs also contribute to the desirability of a location. In most cases, the very same features that make the land and home more attractive, and likely more expensive per square foot, also make the transportation costs lower. Being close to jobs and commuter transit options reduces the expenses associated with daily commuting. And being within walking distance of an urban or suburban downtown or neighborhood shopping district allows a family to replace some of their daily auto trips with more walking trips. Walking, bicycling, taking transit, or using car sharing instead of driving a private automobile reduces gasoline and auto maintenance costs, and may even allow a family…
One approach to urban areas emphasizes the existence of certain immutable relationships, such as Zipf's or Gibrat's Law. An alternative view is that urban change reflects individual responses to changing tastes or technologies. This paper examines almost 200 years of regional change in the U.S. and notes that few, if any, growth relationships remain constant, including Gibrat's Law. Education does a reasonable job of explaining urban resilience in recent decades, but does not seem to predict county growth a century ago. After reviewing this evidence, we present and estimate a simple model of regional change, where education increases the level of entrepreneurship. Human capital spillovers occur at the city level because skilled workers produce more product varieties and thereby increase labor demand. We nd that skills are associated with growth in productivity or entrepreneurship, not with growth in quality of life, at least outside of theWest. We also nd that skills seem to…
In 2009 and 2010, the Office of Governor Ted Strickland and the Center for Neighborhood Technology formed a partnership with regional leaders in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. The project, called BROADENING URBAN INVESTMENT TO LEVERAGE TRANSIT (BUILT) IN OHIO, sought to identify smart growth strategies for each region by building on existing urban assets. Leaders in Cincinnati convened twice to discuss the impact of recent development trends and a policy blueprint for a new way forward. This report is an outcome of those discussions.
The purpose of this white paper is to create a well-supported yet simple illustration of the relationship between household energy consumption and residential development patterns. For the purpose of this illustration, residential development patterns are generally described by housing location and housing type. The paper also takes into account energy efficiency measures in homes and vehicles as factors that aff ect household energy use.
Housing that is located in a walkable neighborhood near public transit, employment centers, schools, and other amenities allows residents to drive less and thereby reduces transportation costs. Development in such locations is deemed to be “location efficient,” given a more compact design, higher-density construction, and/ or inclusion of a diverse mix of uses. If American families can reduce their necessity to drive through better housing and transportation options, then commute times and household energy costs will drop.
On September 1, 2010, Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute and Center for Housing Research brought together more than 50 national experts and policy advocates for a one-day research roundtable with leaders and staff from HUD’s Office of Planning, Development and Research (PD&R) and Office of Sustainable Communities and Housing (OSHC). Participants were tasked with identifying the top research priorities that would support HUD and the Federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities as they develop and implement policies and programs that promote more sustainable communities.
Sustainability covers a wide range of potential policy and research topics. In light of Virginia Tech’s expertise and HUD’s policy and programmatic domains, the following three areas were selected as special breakout groups for the roundtable:
Accessible and Affordable Housing – strengthening the policy connections between transportation and housing;
Green and Energy…
This report examines specific, actionable non-statutory changes that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—and partner agencies—could adopt to better facilitate and encourage the development and preservation of affordable and workforce housing in location-efficient areas. These are areas near transit, employment centers, or other essential services that allow families to reduce the number and extent of necessary car trips. Transit as defined in this report encompasses reliable bus, bus rapid transit, street car, light and heavy rail commuter service and subway. Transit-oriented development (TOD) refers to new residential, commercial, and mixed-use development and the preservation, renovation, or rehabilitation of real estate within walking distance of these modes of transportation.
We gathered the challenges and policy options included in this report in the summer of 2010 from practitioners and thought leaders from around the country, including…