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Housing and Urban Planning (Research)

Transit-Oriented Displacement? The San Jose Flea Market and the Opportunity Costs of Smart Growth

TOD San Jose Flea Market

As California’s population continues to expand and places like the Bay Area metropolitan region experience new development pressures, land use and transportation planners, economic development agencies and policy makers must carefully weigh the economic and environmental benefits and costs of growth. If we focus new growth in higher-density developments served by public transit, what might be the impacts of such “smart
growth” on low-income households, the racial diversity of communities, and the viability of small or family-owned businesses? In San Jose, the largest city in the Silicon Valley high-tech industry cluster, there has long been pressure to better match housing availability – for workers of all
income levels – with jobs availability. Such efforts seek to reduce the time workers must spend commuting to and from their jobs, mitigate the air pollution and global warming effects of such automobile travel patterns, preserve greenfield lands in less urbanized locales, improve quality of life for workers, and prevent worker productivity declines attributable to burdensome commute times. These goals can, however, get buried under the counter-pressures a city faces to retain and expand its job base, while also increasing tax revenue from non-residential developments such as retail power centers or office parks (Elmer et al. 2006). Toward these multifaceted ends, San Jose has joined a growing number of cities that are experimenting with transit-oriented development around light or heavy fixedrail transit stations. Over the long run, the city is looking forward to the addition of four new BART stations that will comprise the commuter rail agency’s Silicon Valley extension into Santa Clara County. The first of these four San Jose stations will be built at the site of the current San Jose Flea Market in the Berryessa neighborhood.

Growth & Opportunity: Aligning High-Quality Public Education & Sustainable Communities Planning in the Bay Area

Growth & Opportunity

CC&S and ABAG partnered to support and inform local and regional innovation connecting schools to the Bay Area’s regional development and conservation strategy (FOCUS) and the Sustainable Communities Strategy as mandated by California’s climate change legislation, Senate Bill 375. Our new report identifies tangible policy levers at both the regional and municipal levels that realize the co-benefits of pursuing complete communities and high-quality education in tandem. We describe the regional educational landscape and develop recommendations about specific strategies to achieve cross-sector “win-wins.”
    * What are the educational impacts of non-school policies, such as housing, transportation, and other regional planning investments?
    * What are the impacts of educational efforts on non-school issues, such as housing choice, sustainable transportation utilization, and community-building opportunities?
    * How can the region’s policy and practice interventions and investments in housing and transportation be made to strategically support improving school quality?

Miles From Home: The Traffic and Climate Impacts of Marin's Unaffordable Housing

NPHNon Profit Housing Association of Northern California recently released a report that connects the region's traffic and climate impacts to Marin's need for affordable housing. Much has been written about the role of affordable housing in providing security, choice, and upward mobility for its residents. Businesses increasingly
understand the connection between housing costs and retaining a quality, competitive workforce. Neighbors see the positive impact of affordable housing when derelict properties are replaced with attractive, well-managed homes that provide stability during times of economic setback.

Miles from Home, a new report from Live Local Marin, explores the impact that the lack of workforce housing in Marin has had on traffic and our environment. It addresses the role that affordable housing can play in taking cars off the road and protecting against climate change—two issues that are particularly important in Marin. We think you'll agree it provides vital data supporting the need for new affordable housing opportunities in Marin County. It is our hope that the report will inject new context into the discussion about affordable housing, and refocus the debate on how to help people with strong roots in Marin live closer to where they work.


The Foreclosure Generation: The Long-Term Impact of the Housing Crisis on Latino Children and Families

La RazaThe National Council of La Raza (NCLR) partnered with the Center for Community Capital (CCC) at the University of North Carolina to conduct 25 interviews with Latino families who had recently experienced a foreclosure. Interviewers asked in-depth questions on a variety of issues related to the overall well-being of the family with a special emphasis on the status of their children. Interviews were conducted in July and August 2009 in five regions: southeastern Texas, southeastern Michigan, the west coast of Florida, northwestern Georgia, and the Central Valley of California.

Putting Schools on the Map: Linking Transit-Oriented Development, Families, and Schools in the SF Bay Area

Putting Schools On the Map

In the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area region, municipal and regional leaders are grappling with how to plan for the expected growth of the coming decades. Because of the projected increases in residents under 18 years of age, access to high quality schools – defined by both the educational quality of school programs and a school’s role as a local, place-based community asset – will continue to play a strong part in where families choose to live in the region. Interest in Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) has grown across the country in the last decade and is increasingly employed as a strategy to achieve environmentally sustainable infill development and auto use reduction. The Great Communities Collaborative (GCC) in the San Francisco Bay Area has developed an aspirational vision for guiding new development that aims to increase equity, support families, and create mixed income communities. Given the GCC’s “aspirational” TOD strategy, this paper looks at what must happen to realize these goals. In particular, we examine the connections between TOD and families, which, by extension, includes making the link among TOD, schools, and expanding educational opportunities for all children. This paper is the first of its kind; there is very little research on TOD and families and virtually no research on the relationship between TOD and schools. Therefore, we take an exploratory approach to understanding and framing these interconnections, and provide a rationale for the linkages at this nexus. The findings in this paper are the result of extensive case study research, interviews, and focus groups conducted throughout the Bay Area.

Mapping Susceptibility to Gentrification: The Early Warning Toolkit

The Bay Area is one of the most expensive and challenging housing markets in the country.[1] On average, local households spend 48% of their income on housing, compared to 29% for the country as a whole, and just 12% can afford the median priced home.[2] A quarter of Bay Area renters meet HUD’s definition of severely housing burdened, dedicating more than 50 percent of their income to housing.[3] Anticipated growth will place even more pressure on the region’s housing market. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) projects an additional 1.9 million people and 1.6 million jobs by 2035.[4] Meanwhile, new funding for transit approved by Bay Area voters will add 100 new stations, many in already built-up areas, to the region’s existing 300 rapid transit stations and transit corridors.[5] Although the planned new transit facilities will help to accommodate much of the population growth, they also present a challenge. Researchers generally agree that new transit investment will bring higher property values to the surrounding area (except in the immediate vicinity of the transit station).[6] This could spur a process of gentrification, which will be beneficial to some – but not to those who cannot bear rent increases and are forced to leave the neighborhood. This report was prepared for ABAG as part of its Development without Displacement project funded by an environmental justice grant from CalTrans.

Factsheet: Housing Overlay Zones

Housing Overlay Zones (HOZs) provide a package of incentives to developers who include in their projects homes that people can afford. Based on carrots rather than sticks, HOZs encourage production of affordable homes rather than requiring it. They are called “overlay” zones because
they layer on top of established base zoning regulations, leaving in place opportunities for property owners to develop within these existing rules. Rather than imposing restrictions, HOZs present developers with more choices by offering additional benefits to projects that increase the supply of
homes that people can afford. HOZ incentives may include increased density, relaxed height limits, reduced parking requirements, fast-tracked permitting, and exemptions from mixed-use requirements. HOZs may also permit residential construction in zones otherwise restricted to commercial uses. In order to qualify for these incentives, developments must include a certain percentage of homes for lower income households, generally between 25% and 100% of the units. Ultimately, the more valuable the developer incentives included in a Housing Overlay Zone, the more effective the HOZ will be in encouraging production of homes that people can afford. Desirable incentives both motivate developers to take advantage of the HOZ, and reduce development costs to allow construction of more affordable homes. Because zoning decisions have financial value to developers but do not require direct city expenditure, HOZs can create value, which can be used to build more affordable homes without relying on either public or privatedollars.


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