Increase Neighborhood Control


Increase community agency in shaping neighborhood change and growth.

Grant Ave., Chinatown, San Francisco by Dannsandrade via Wikamedia Commons

One of our must crucial fundings is that gentrification is a matter of political control, not just one of financial or economic power. As cities rapidly grow, low-income neighborhoods may receive relatively little investment. Other times, a neighborhood may receive new public investment and increased housing development, but have no say in how it occurs. This leaves certain neighborhoods and people feeling disenfranchised.

This power imbalance is systemic. Communities with higher incomes and education levels have more ability to participate in city government and shape how development takes place, often blocking it altogether. This problem is pronounced when high-earning, well-educated newcomers wield political power in their adopted neighborhoods in ways that are at odds with the desires and needs of long-time residents.

City policy must improve neighborhood capacity, and change governance structures so that lower-income neighborhoods have as much voice in planning processes as higher-income areas. Such a restructuring would not necessarily allow neighborhoods to avoid growth entirely, but to harness its forces for their own advantage.

Policy Innovations

To achieve this goal, we propose policies that provide communities with information and enable community members to negotiate with private developers and with the public sector. We also propose enabling communities to manage their own housing development. Click below to learn about each policy.

Policy Inspirations

Low-income, immigrant residents may choose not to participate in public processes for fear of being detained or deported. It is therefore vital that cities do all they can to protect the ability of such residents to take part in public life, for example by  maintaining Sanctuary City status. We believe that Sanctuary City policies serve as a baseline for combatting inequitable development.

While a Sanctuary City cannot prevent deportation entirely, it can certainly slow the process. In New York, Mayor de Blasio has made a very public commitment not to aid immigration officials in their search for undocumented residents, and the NYPD has turned down at least 724 requests to detain undocumented residents this year.

Designed for: Neighborhoods in Middle-Stage Gentrification​

Neighborhood Hallmarks: growing rapidly, lots of new construction, increasing prices, many original residents but lost many residents as well

For increased neighborhood control to be effective, there must be sufficient local growth to generate demand for new construction, but also enough vulnerable residents residing in the neighborhood to benefit from additional housing supply and access.