To bring life back. The act of redeveloping a area to initiate growth.
To displace. The act of using the effects of real estate development as a tool (weapon) to uproot and force out the existing residents of a area.
In any area slated to be revitalized, a stipend to rehab the existing residents homes should be created and funded by:
1. Companies looking to profit 100's of millions from developing that area.
2. Banks thru their Community Reinvestment Act responsibility.
3. Federal, State, and Local Government.
...so that existing homes in bad condition will not adversely affect property values of newly rehabbed and newly built homes, while simultaneously making the existing residents part of the growth of their community.
Also there should be measures put in place to protect existing residents who cannot afford increases in property taxes, such as the establishment of Community Land trust.
REVITALIZATION DOES NOT EQUAL GENTRIFICATION. GENTRIFICATION EQUALS CARELESS GREED.
A big unanswered question concerns the proportion of owner-occupants to owner-investors/renters in any given area. Should investor-owners be subsidized? I do not see any principled basis for doing this. Another big question is what to do with owner-occupants who accept the subsidy (regardless of its source) and then immediately sell their properties to make a windfall? Should they be prohibited from selling their properties for a number of years? Seems unamerican to me.
A couple things:
1 - Though your definitions aren't "wrong" they are sensationalized and of your own words. Doing this does not help anyone. It makes the residence think that all gentrification is evil and all the investors are evil & greedy and anyone that is involved is just as evil as well (i.e. the architects, the contractors, the banks, the politicians, etc.). This leave no room for trying to negotiate and have healthy conversations and dialog between the residents and the developers so that everyone comes out happy at the end.
2 - I don't necessarily disagree with your definitions of gentrification and revitalization, because your definitions can fit many of those projects perfectly, but I think if we, as REI professionals, want to not only see change in how projects get developed but see communities get involved in a constructive way (not just a bunch of people shouting NIMBY!) we have to not come across as biased to one side or another.
3 - Though these two descriptions do describe two different things, the line dividing those two is very thin and can easily be blurred. Simply describing one project as Revitalizing vs Gentrifying can really come down to just a marketing ploy. Because even the best well-intentioned Revitalization project can uproot and displace people. So even if the other 95% of the project is a true Revitalization project the other 5% will see it as Gentrification. I'm not saying I have an answer here. Just that there will always be haters to every project, no matter how well-intentioned it is.
4 - I can get on board with trying to create some kind of incentive for banks/developers/governments to provide some kind of subsidy to fund affordable housing or rehabbing existing buildings but thats easier said than done. Developing a project based on the intent to demo everything vs demo AND restoring are two completely different things and its not easy to mix them together or make one switch to the other. Doing so using will completely kill the project (usually budget wise not that its not physically possible). Rehab, especially in much older buildings, is almost always more money in the end. How does one go about getting all the needed parties on board to promote something like this.....I dont know, but know it can be done. It just can't be done by only one party controlling those talks.
5 - "...so that existing homes in bad condition will not adversely affect property values of newly rehabbed and newly built homes, while simultaneously making the existing residents part of the growth of their community.
Also there should be measures put in place to protect existing residents who cannot afford increases in property taxes, such as the establishment of Community Land trust."
What you are basically asking here is for the government to come in and control the economy by establishing a set market value for properties. You can't force market values on something like this. You can't say crappy build A is going to have a set value of X why new build B, that is right next door, is going to have a value of Y. And the market can't have any effect on these values. Hello Socialism.
Property taxes, in most cities, are already based on assessed value, both in land and building value. So taxes can be easily control already without introducing yet another government or private HOA type agency into the mix. Cities can in act a new law or new code stating that certain areas assessed value will only increase at it current rate until a time that there is a rehab or re-development done on the property. Or something to that effect, I'm not a code writer. Much simpler than adding another governing agency of sorts.
5 - "In any area slated to be revitalized, a stipend to rehab the existing residents homes should be created and funded by:"
This would not work out as well or as easy as it may seem. Where do you draw the line at what houses get money towards rehabs? House A is on one side of the street (and gets money) while house B is on the other side (but gets none) and they are both just as crappy? Thats going to lead to a lot of pissed off residents. Plus how do you distribute the money evenly and how do you make sure its used for rehabs? How is this controlled and by who? Does everyone get a check for $10k and hope they spend it improving their property (assuming the poor person living there actually owns it and is not a renter)? Do you hire a contractor to give everyone a brand new kitchen, even though the rest of the house is literally rotting away, and hope they don't do crappy work and/or steal money? This is just another one of those good intentioned ideas that just never works out in reality.
I agree that there are a lot of developers that only care about their bottom dollar and will do anything to anyone to get there. When you look at these two things at a broader scale (revitalization and gentrification) they are really just to sides of the same coin. Their end goals are almost identical. Classifying every re-development project as just a giant cash grab by a developer is not going to bring about the change we both wish for. There are several for-profit developers that do re-development for low-income and affordable housing. As an architect I see the dollar driven mindset of the developer. I get to see what makes and breaks developments. I see what makes cities grows and what drives that growth (from a development stand point). I see the need for more affordable and low-income housing. But the fact of the world is that if you want to see change you have to make deals with these people you are calling "greedy". Just shouting at them, making tons of laws and rules or taking them to court just pushes this money elsewhere. I've seen so many developers get taking to court for the only real reason of "NIMBY". They still win in the end but then decide to move elsewhere or just stop the project because they used up a good chuck of their money fighting people that are just screaming at them. I'm sure those developers would've rather given up a small portion of their project towards some good cause, instead of court fees, to have their project go through. Theres a lot of work to get developers to pay more attention to the areas and the people their project will effect, and I'm all for pushing for that, but just labeling them all as greedy and careless does nothing to improve anyone's lives. All it does is keep them in the exact same situation they are currently in.
Again, I know there are developers out there that meet that description to a "T" and I hate them with a passion. Both from an ethically point of view as well as my professional view as an architect...those developers usually come up with the shittiest, ugliest plans I've ever seen that make no common sense other than they were trying to save a buck. But until we find the billionaire philanthropist that doesn't care about making a penny and has the drive to come in and fix-up depressed areas...we are stuck trying to work with these rich developers. Make strides to changing their way of doing things one small change at a time; project at a time. Showing them that these little things not only improve their project but improve as many lives as possible in as many different groups as possible.
In California Prop 13 that went in about 40 years ago already address's the property tax situation quite well.
AS for gentrification.. no one puts a gun to anyone's head.. if folks want to live in their dilapidated home while homes all around them are being either replaced with new or significant remodel.. that's their right..
Keep in mind gentrification leads to huge win falls for those being displaced they are being paid FAR above what the value would be if there was no gentrification.
Charleston SC down town perfect example of that off of America st.. Aiken st.. on the north side of town.. across the tracks as it were.. gentrification created values that the existing homeowners could have only dreamed of.. 5 to 10 years ago.. and when they are forced out or since I don't believe any are forced out.. they choose to sell they usually up grade their personal living situations with a win fall of cash.
Yes, I'm sure the government is just going to bend over backwards for poor minority populations in America and pass that legislation yesterday. It has such a great track record to date doing that, after all.
And Greece should have its debt forgiven by Germany because it's the right thing to do after ten years of forced austerity driving the suicide rate up, sending a whole generation to work abroad, destroying the very fabric of Greek culture!
Those are two things that are simply never going to happen, Avee-Ashanti, so let's agree not to hold our breath together and wait for them, OK? Now more than ever, nobody cares about poor, dispossessed people. This is a time of absolutely no shame in politics, after all.
Instead of trying to write political policy and push it on the strong from a position of weakness, why don't you go out and make some big bucks and bribe some politicians to write the policy the way you want it? That is, after all, the time-honored way the current policies were written in the first place.
"...you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."
Thucydides, circa 400 BC (still as relevant today as it every was)