«Mixed Messages on Mixed incoMes Volume 15, Number 2 • 2013 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development | Office of Policy Development and ...»
One clear policy to help ensure greater political equity in mixed-income living environments is to establish inclusive resident associations that incorporate the views of low-, middle-, and high-income residents. Many mixed-income developments supported with HOPE VI funds have separate resident associations for subsidized renters and market-rate homeowners, even within the same building or development. Market-rate homeowners typically control common areas and spend the homeowners’ association assessments on priorities that match their preferences, whereas the subsidized residents are often unable to vote in the distribution of resources that affect their immediate living environment. This political segregation and inequality within mixed-income developments can exacerbate preexisting inequalities and stimulate conflict rather than cooperation among residents of various income levels. Creating equitable resident power structures that promote mutual interest and inclusivity may be vital to having stable and just mixed-income environments. Such a structure might stimulate more meaningful social interactions across race and class.
Minimizing Cultural Displacement If political equity is not maintained, the built and social environments in a transitioning mixedincome community might develop in a way that favors and reflects the preferences of the more affluent group (Hyra, 2012b). If the emerging built and social environments represent the preferences of only newcomers, longstanding residents may lose their attachment to place and be more inclined to move out of the community. The exodus of low-income people might result in a homogenous community that is not economically or culturally diverse. In transitioning mixed-income communities, steps are necessary to preserve community symbols important to low-income residents.
Furthermore, representatives of lower income groups should, for the most part, spearhead the cultural preservation effort (Lin, 2011). If external community interests head the preservation effort, some community residents might not embrace it, particularly if the preservation initiative is perceived as stimulating displacement (Inwood, 2010).
Facilitating Meaningful Social Interactions Many studies indicate that low- and high-income residents who live in close proximity will not interact much without facilitation (Chaskin and Joseph, 2011; Chaskin, Khare, and Joseph, 2012;
Tach, 2009). In mixed-income communities, it is important to have events that bring people together around a common purpose so they begin to learn about one another and build trusting relationships. These events can be community gardening, as noted by Fraser, Chaskin, and Bazuin, or beautification initiatives, cultural festivals, or other events important to both new and longtime residents. Organizing these events might be facilitated by the creation of an inclusive resident association of the kind I described previously, in which all tenants have an equal say in setting the social agenda of the mixed-income living environment.
Public and private community common spaces are often branded and associated with certain income or other demographic differences, and it is important that “third spaces” are developed within mixed-income communities (Oldenburg, 1999). In transitioning mixed-income communities, it is important to develop new, neutral third spaces where all people feel safe and take ownership of the space, such as new libraries, community centers, or coffee shops. These places can be breeding grounds for the development of what Elijah Anderson has identified as the “cosmopolitan canopy,” wherein tolerance for racial, income, or other differences seems to proliferate (Anderson, 2011).
126 Mixed Messages on Mixed Incomes Mixed-Income Housing: Where Have We Been and Where Do We Go From Here?
Ensuring Income Diversity Sometimes, the built environment dictates the income mix within a community. In mixed-income communities, it is important to have housing that serves an array of income types. Occasionally, the income mix is too polarized, with extremely affluent people living next to very impoverished folks. For instance, in a HOPE VI site in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, households that make more than $150,000 a year live next to those that earn less than $15,000 a year. In these situations, the social class difference might be too great to foster common understanding and interests on a range of topics. A housing stock that serves middle-income folks and bridges the two extreme income levels might be important (Chaskin, Khare, and Joseph, 2012;
Pattillo, 2007). Mixed-income policies should ensure that high-, middle-, and low-income people are served by the existing and newly built housing stock in mixed-income communities.
Tackling and Addressing Ethnic, Racial, Religious, and Other Differences Mixed-income policies often do not directly address ethnic and racial differences, although income diversity often signals racial diversity because of preexisting inequalities (Oliver and Shapiro, 1995).
Beyond class differences, mixed-income community policies must tackle challenges stemming from racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual-orientation differences (Brown-Saracino, 2009; Maly, 2005;
Modan, 2007). Mixed-income policies should consider ways to address disputes that arise from distinctions associated with income but that are not solved through promoting income equality.
One approach is to create or bolster existing civic organizations in and around mixed-income developments that help to educate and promote tolerance for difference and celebrate diversity.
Where Is the Future of Mixed-Income Development in the United States and Abroad?
During the past 20 years, the mixed-income neighborhood focus has been mainly in the inner-city areas where poverty once concentrated. In the past decade, many of these inner-city areas have been redeveloped and gentrified through a process I labeled the “new urban renewal” (Hyra, 2012a,
2008) and others have called the “great inversion” (Ehrenhalt, 2012). While development of the inner city has occurred, poverty has become more heavily concentrated in certain inner suburbs (Allard, 2009; Allard and Roth, 2010; Kneebone and Garr, 2010; Orfield, 2002). In Western Europe, some inner suburbs have dense concentrations of public housing (Gilbert, 2011; Wacquant, 2008). In the coming decades, the new pioneering, emerging housing market areas will be in lowand moderate-income inner suburbs (Charles, 2011; Dunham-Jones and Williamson, 2011).
The future of mixed-income development will be in inner suburbs, where the housing stock is outdated and there are concentrations of poverty and people of color. For instance, one of the largest U.S. suburban mixed-income projects is occurring in Alexandria, Virginia. In one city section known as the Beauregard area, more than 2,500 units of low- and moderate-income, private-market rental housing will be razed to make room for higher income market-rate housing. In the Beauregard area, people of color comprise approximately 70 percent of the population. Of the 2,500 housing units to be razed, 800 will be preserved and incorporated as mixed-income housing. Most of the
affordable housing will be financed through city and developer contributions, but some will likely entail LIHTC financing. Because HOPE VI is, for the most part, no longer operating, mixed-income developments will most likely be accomplished with LIHTCs and New Markets Tax Credits.
In the United Kingdom and France, much of the public housing is in the urban periphery and inner suburbs. Through a combination of razing some subsidized buildings and upgrading others, certain fringe urban areas are beginning to gentrify and achieve greater income mixes (Bacqué et al., 2011).
Examples of this pattern of periphery redevelopment can be witnessed in Hackney on the outskirts of London, England (Wessendorf, 2011), and in Vénissieux on the outer edge of Lyon, France (Gilbert, 2009). It seems likely that mixed-income housing in both North America and Western Europe will increasingly occur in the outer urban periphery and inner suburban areas as opposed to the urban core.
Summing Up Mixed-income housing policies have been associated with residential displacement. Although preventing residential displacement is an important step, it is insufficient for ensuring that lowincome people benefit from income mixing. The promise of mixed-income communities assumes that people of various backgrounds will cooperatively interact to provide greater opportunities for economic and social advancement. Policymakers, scholars, practitioners, activists, and residents should consider several mixed-income policy alternatives to better ensure that people interact in meaningful and constructive ways. Preventing residential, political, and cultural displacement and developing neutral spaces of civic engagement are good places to start to ensure that people of diverse incomes, backgrounds, and experiences prosper in inclusive and equitable urban and suburban living environments.
Acknowledgments The author thanks Jim Fraser, Deirdre Oakley, and Diane Levy for organizing this important symposium and acknowledges the Cityscape staff for their helpful editorial assistance.
Author Derek Hyra is an associate professor of urban affairs and planning at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
References Allard, Scott W. 2009. Out of Reach: Place, Poverty and the New American Welfare State. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Allard, Scott W., and Benjamin Roth. 2010. Strained Suburbs: The Social Service Challenges of Rising Suburban Poverty. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.
128 Mixed Messages on Mixed Incomes Mixed-Income Housing: Where Have We Been and Where Do We Go From Here?
Anderson, Elijah. 2011. The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life. New York:
W.W. Norton & Company.
Bacqué, Marie-Hélène, Yankel Fijalkow, Lydie Launay, and Stéphanie Vermeersch. 2011. “Social Mix Policies in Paris: Discourses, Policies and Social Effects,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35 (2): 256–273.
Been, Vicki, Mary Cunningham, Ingrid G. Ellen, Adam Gordon, Joe Parilla, Margery A. Turner, Sheryl V. Whitney, Aaron Yowell, and Ken Zimmerman. 2010. Building Environmentally Sustainable Communities: A Framework for Inclusivity. New York; Washington, DC: The Furman Center; Urban Institute.
Bennett, Larry, Janet L. Smith, and Patricia A. Wright, eds. 2006. Where Are Poor People To Live?
Transforming Public Housing Communities. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Blanc, Maurice. 2010. “The Impact of Social Mix Policies in France,” Housing Studies 25 (2): 257–272.
Bridge, Gary, Tim Butler, and Loretta Lees. 2012. Mixed Communities: Gentrification by Stealth?
Bristol, United Kingdom: Policy Press.
Briggs, Xavier de Souza, Susan J. Popkin, and John Goering. 2010. Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment To Fight Ghetto Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press.
Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, Greg J. Duncan, and Lawrence Aber. 1997. Neighborhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children. Vol. 1. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Brown-Saracino, Japonica. 2009. A Neighborhood That Never Changes: Gentrification, Social Preservation, and the Search for Authenticity. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Castañeda, Ernesto. 2012. “Place of Stigma: Ghettos, Barrios, and Banlieues.” In The Ghetto: Contemporary Global Issues and Controversies, edited by Ray Hutchison and Bruce D. Haynes. Boulder, CO: Westview Press: 159–190.
Charles, Suzanne L. 2011. “There Goes the (Suburban) Neighborhood: Gentrification in the InnerRing Suburbs of Chicago, 2000–2010.” Paper presented at The Suburbs and the 2010 Census Conference, Arlington, VA.
Chaskin, Robert J., and Mark L. Joseph. 2011. “Relational Expectations and Emerging Reality:
The Nature of Social Interaction in Mixed-Income Developments,” Journal of Urban Affairs 32 (2):
Chaskin, Robert J., Amy Khare, and Mark L. Joseph. 2012. “Participation, Deliberation, and Decision-Making: The Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion in Mixed-Income Developments,” Urban Affairs Review 48 (6): 863–906.
Cisneros, Henry G., and Lora Engdahl. 2009. From Despair to Hope: Hope VI and the Promise of Public Housing in America’s Cities. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Davidson, Mark. 2010. “Love Thy Neighbour? Social Mixing in London’s Gentrification Frontiers,” Environment and Planning A 42: 524–544.
DeFilippis, James, and Jim Fraser. 2010. “Why Do We Want Mixed-Income Housing and Neighborhoods?” In Critical Urban Studies: New Directions, edited by Jonathan S. Davies and David L.
Imbroscio. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press: 135–147.
Dikeç, Mustafa. 2007. Badlands of the Republic: Space, Politics and Urban Policy. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell.
Dunham-Jones, Ellen, and June Williamson. 2011. Retrofitting Suburbia. Updated edition, Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Ehrenhalt, Alan. 2012. The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City. New York: Knopf.
Erickson, David J. 2009. The Housing Policy Revolution: Networks and Neighborhoods. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
Fraser, James C., and Edward L. Kick. 2007. “The Role of Public, Private, Non-Profit and Community Sectors in Shaping Mixed-Income Housing Outcomes in the U.S.,” Urban Studies 44 (12):
Freeman, Lance. 2006. There Goes the Hood. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Fullilove, Mindy T., and Rodrick Wallace. 2011. “Serial Forced Displacement in American Cities, 1916–2010,” Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 88 (3): 381–389.
Galster, George C. 2010. “The Mechanism(s) of Neighborhood Effects Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications.” Paper presented at the ESRC Seminar: “Neighbourhood Effects: Theory & Evidence,” St. Andrews, United Kingdom.
Gilbert, Pierre. 2011. “‘Ghetto,’ ‘Banishment,’ ‘Neighborhood Effects.’ A Critique of the ‘Ghetto’ Image of French Housing Projects,” Metropolitics 23: 1–7.