Policy Development

Policy Development

Building a Framework.

To develop our policy toolkit, we first developed a theory of how gentrification changes neighborhoods. This "logic model" helped us identify all the places policy can intervene: changing the playing field (neighborhood variables), changing the rules of the game (market transactions and other interactions between all the players in a city) and targeting the players themselves (especially vulnerable populations). We spent a great deal of time brainstorming population and neighborhood variables that could be important to the process of gentrification. Our case study cities offered many clues about what these variables could be. Access to transit, community organizing capacity, and neighborhood history came up again and again. Then, we thought about challenges and opportunities that could affect policy responses in each city, including state-level restrictions, funding, and political climate. We also recognized that gentrification occurs in stages; policies that might be effective early-on could be useless or even counterproductive in the late stage of gentrification.

Three Tiers for Action.

Our next step was to think carefully about how policy is actually created. We developed the diagram below to illustrate how different levels of governance - from the federal down to the very local - can contribute to change. We also believed that policy at each level should support positive change at lower levels of government, in order to create a truly transformative system. This process led us to create both a practical policy toolkit for neighborhoods and cities and a much bolder national agenda.

Policy Goals.

Finally, we came up with a set of goals that we thought our policies at every level of government should accomplish. They boiled down to four things: increase the supply of housing; increase the affordability of housing; increase purchasing power for those with unstable housing; and build revenue sources to get all of this done. You can read more about our goals specifically for neighborhoods here.