Housing and Community Development


Transit-Induced Gentrification: Who Will Stay, and Who Will Go?

Author: Dawkins, Casey and R. Moeckel


Synopsis: Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) has been promoted by planners and policy advocates as asolution to a variety of urban problems, including automobile traffic congestion, air pollution,and urban poverty. This paper addresses the question: How do TOD-based affordable housing policies influence the intra-urban location of low income households over time? This paper examined historical descriptive evidence along with land use forecasts generated by the Simple Integrated Land-Use Orchestrator (SILO) land use model to examine the impact of housing policies on patterns of sorting byincome within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The historical evidence suggests that inmost decades when Metro stations were opened, census tracts near transit stations saw higherincreases in median household income than other census tracts. We also find evidence thatincome growth around stations constructed in the 1970s and 1980s persisted over time, whileincome growth around stations constructed during the 1990s was largest in the following decade.Consistent with other studies (Kahn 2007), we interpret these findings as evidence that somedegree of transit-induced gentrification has been occurring in the Washington, D.C. region.


Mapping Opportunity: A Critical Assessment

Author: Eli Knaap, Gerrit-Jan Knaap, and Chao Liu


Synopsis: A renewed interest has emerged on spatial opportunity structures and their role in shapinghousing policy, community development, and equity planning. To this end, many have triedto quantify the geography of opportunity and quite literally plot it in a map. In this paperwe explore the conceptual foundations and analytical methods that underlie the currentpractice of opportunity mapping. We find that opportunity maps can inform housing policyand metropolitan planning but that greater consideration should be given to the variablesincluded, the methods in which variables are geographically articulated and combined, andthe extent to which the public is engaged in opportunity mapping exercises.


Reclassification of Sustainable Neighborhoods: An Opportunity Indicator Analysis in Baltimore Metropolitan Area

Author: Chao Liu, , Eli Knaap, Gerrit Knaap


Synopsis: The "Sustainable neighborhoods" has become widely proposed objective of urban planners, scholars, and local government agencies. However, after decades of discussion, there is still no consensus on the definition of sustainable neighborhoods (Sawicki and Flynn, 1996; Dluhy and Swartz 2006; Song and Knaap,2007; Galster 2010). To gain new information on this issue, this paper develops a quantitative method for classifying neighborhood types. It starts by measuring a set of more than 100 neighborhood sustainable indicators. The initial set of indicators includes education, housing, neighborhood quality and social capital, neighborhood environment and health, employment and transportation. Data are gathered from various sources, including the National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) data inventory, U.S. Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many government agencies and private vendors. GIS mapping is used to visualize and identify variations in neighborhood attributes at the most detailed level (e.g census tracts). Factor analysis is then used to reduce the number of indicators to a small set of dimensions that capture essential differences in neighborhood types in terms of social, economic, and environmental dimensions. These factors loadings are used as inputs to a cluster analysis to identify unique neighborhood types. Finally, different types of neighborhoods are visualized using a GIS tool for further evaluation.The proposed quantitative analysis will help illustrate variations in neighborhood types and their spatial patterns in the Baltimore metropolitan region. ¬†This framework offers new insights on what is a sustainable neighborhood.


Barriers to Development Inside Maryland's PFAs: Perspectives of Planners, Developers, and Advocates

Author: Casey Dawkins, Jason Sartori, and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (2012)


Synopsis: This study presents a summary of stakeholder perspectives on the effectiveness of Maryland's Priority Funding Areas and barriers to growth within PFAs. It relies upon responses to a telephone survey of forty-seven representatives from three key stakeholder groups‚Äîplanners, policy advocates and consultants, and developers.


Residential consumption of gas and electricity in the U.S.: The role of prices and income

Author: Anna Alberini, Will Gans, and Daniel Velez-Lopez (2011)


Synopsis: We study the residential demand for electricity and gas, working with nationwide household-level data that cover recent years, namely 1997‚2007. Our dataset is a mixed panel/multi-year cross-sections of dwellings/households in the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States as of 2008. We estimate static and dynamic models of electricity and gas demand. We find strong household response to energy prices, both in the short and long term. From the static models, we get estimates of the own price elasticity of electricity demand in the ‚àí 0.860 to ‚àí 0.667 range, while the own price elasticity of gas demand is ‚àí 0.693 to ‚àí 0.566. These results are robust to a variety of checks. Contrary to earlier literature (Metcalf and Hassett, 1999; Reiss and White, 2005), we find no evidence of significantly different elasticities across households with electric and gas heat. The price elasticity of electricity demand declines with income, but the magnitude of this effect is small. These results are in sharp contrast to much of the literature on residential energy consumption in the United States, and with the figures used in current government agency practice. Our results suggest that there might be greater potential for policies which affect energy price than may have been previously appreciated.


Community Associations at Middle Age: A New Bankruptcy Law and Other Proposals

Author: Robert Nelson (2010)


Synopsis: Community associations represent a major American shift toward collective privateownership of housing, following in the path of the rise of the private business corporation 100 years ago. The laws overseeing the chartering, organizing, governing, and other aspects of business corporation workings have been significantly revised many times. It has been a case of gaining experience with corporate forms of business ownership and then responding to the problems and opportunities as they have been discovered by businessmen, researchers, and other observers. As more and more community associations now reach middle age, it is time in this area of collective property ownership as well for a full retrospective assessment and new state laws and other institutional initiatives in response to the problems and opportunities as they are identified.


The Contagion Effect of Neighboring Foreclosures on Own Foreclosures

Author: Charles Towe and Chad Lawley (2010)


Synopsis: In this paper, we examine a highly localized contagion effect of foreclosures and find strong evidence that social interactions influence the decision to foreclose. We utilize a hazard model and a unique spatially explicit dataset documenting parcel level residential foreclosures in Maryland for the years 2006 through 2009. We combine these data with tax and assessment data, loan data, Census, and unemployment data. These data allow us to control for important factors influencing the likelihood of foreclosure within a given community, including the prevalence of subprime loans and the distribution of socioeconomic characteristics. Additionally, we use the tax data to construct variables describing individual homes, surrounding homes, and community. These variables include structural characteristics of houses, their price history, and length of ownership.


Community Associations: Decentralizing Local Government Privately

Author: Robert Nelson (2008)


Synopsis: The system of local government in the United States in being transformed by the rise of the private community association. Local government in the pubic sector is increasingly limited to large county and municipal governments--also sometimes large special districts--that assume responsibilities of a regional and metropolitan scope. The regulation of land to protect neighborhood environmental quality, and the delivery of small-scale services, is increasingly the responsibility of a private government. Previous studies have described these new patterns of governance, but little literatuer is available to understand the full reasons for such changes. This chapter offers several hypotheses relating to the magnitude of transaction costs under alternative forms of land tenure.


Housing Market Impacts of Inclusionary Zoning

Author: Gerrit-Jan Knaap, Antonio Bento, and Scott Lowe (2008)


Synopsis: Many communities across the country face affordable housing challenges. An increasing number of communities are considering inclusionary zoning as a response. Inclusionary zoning programs, which require developers to sell a certain percentage of newly developed housing units at below market rates to lower income households, are politically attractive because they are viewed as a way to promote housing affordability without raising taxes or using public funds. Standard economic theory, however, suggests that such programs act like a tax on housing construction. And just like other taxes, the burdens of inclusionary zoning are passed on to housing consumers, housing producers, and landowners. As a result, inclusionary zoning policies could exacerbate the affordable housing problem that they are designed to address.Although debate over the merits of inclusionary zoning has continued for nearly three decades, there have been no rigorous studies on their effects on housing prices and starts. We offer such an analysis here, estimating the effects of inclusionary zoning policies on single family housing prices, single family and multifamily housing starts, and the size of single family housing units in California over the period from 1988 to 2005. In our analyses, we are able to isolate the impacts of inclusionary zoning programs by carefully controlling for spatial and temporal conditions, such as the neighborhood or school district within which the house is located, and changing market conditions over time.We find that inclusionary zoning policies had measurable effects on housing markets in jurisdictions that adopt them: the share of multifamily housing increases; the price of single family houses increases; and the size of single family houses decreases. These results are fully consistent with economic theory and demonstrate that inclusionary zoning policies do not come without cost.Overall, we find that inclusionary zoning programs had significant effects on housing markets in California from 1988 to 2005. Although cities with existing or new programs during the study period did not experience a significant reduction in the rate of single family housing starts, they did experience a marginally significant increase in multifamily housing starts. More specifically, we found that in municipalities with inclusionary housing programs, the share of multifamily housing starts increased seven percent. The reasons for this shift are relatively clear when viewed in the proper context. Housing markets in California expanded rapidly over the 1990s as pent up demand exploded following the 1991 recession. The imposition of inclusionary zoning requirements was not strong enough to slow the overall rate of housing production but did cause a measurable shift from single family to multifamily housing production. We further found that the magnitude of this shift varied with the stringency of the inclusionary requirements.We also found that housing prices in cities that adopted inclusionary zoning increased about 2-3 percent faster than cities that did not adopt such policies. In addition, we found that housing price effects were greater in higher priced housing markets than in lower priced markets. That is, housing that sold for less than $187,000 (in 1988 dollars1) decreased by only 0.8 percent while housing that sold for more than $187,000 increased by 5.0 percent. These findings suggest that housing producers did not in general respond to inclusionary requirements by slowing the rate of single family housing construction but did pass the increase in production costs on to housing consumers. Further, housing producers were better able to pass on the increase in costs in higher priced housing markets than in lower priced housing markets.Finally, we found that the size of market rate houses in cities that adopted inclusionary zoning increased more slowly than in cities without such programs. Specifically, we found that housing in cities with inclusionary zoning programs was approximately 48 square feet smaller than in cities without inclusionary programs. Further, most of the reductions in housing size occurred in houses that sold for less than $187,000. These findings suggest that inclusionary zoning programs caused housing producers to increase the price of more expensive homes in markets where residents were less sensitive to price, and to decrease the size of less expensive homes in markets where residents were more sensitive to price.


Evaluating the Impacts of the Community Legacy and Neighborhood BusinessWorks Programs: A Review of Twelve Selected Communities

Author: John Frece, Jason Sartori, and Rebecca Lewis (2008)


Synopsis: The Community Legacy program was established in 2001 through a bill introduced by the administration of former Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening as part of the larger Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Initiative. The Community Legacy program and its companion effort, the Neighborhood BusinessWorks program, were specifically created to direct state resources to existing community-scale neighborhoods as part of the state's broader effort to reverse a decades-long trend of urban disinvestment and abandonment. Considered somewhat unorthodox when they were started, these programs have since become readily accepted by local governments as mainstays of their revitalization strategies.


Lets Not Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water: The Role of Urban Villages in Housing Rural Migrants in China

Author: Song, Y., V. Zenou, and C. Ding


Synopsis: In the era of China‚Äôs economic growth and urbanisation, providing adequate and affordable housing for rural‚Äìurban migrants in urban areas is crucial for the success of China‚Äôs multifaceted reforms. Yet the urban housing provision system has overlooked the needs of rural migrants since the reforms. Urbanising villages, a unique product of China‚Äôs urbanisation and land reform, provide affordable housing for rural migrants. However, these urbanising villages are rejected by policy-makers due to their associated social and environment problems. In this paper, a multinomial logit model of housing type choice is adopted, in which people choose from a number of mutually exclusive housing types. Regression results indicate that rural migrants are shunned by the urban housing market. It is argued that, without accompanying programmes that include rural migrants in the urban housing market, policies that focus on demolishing urbanising villages could be misguided.


Smart Growth, Housing Markets, and Development Trends in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor

Author: Gerrit Knaap, Jungyul Sohn, John W. Frece and Elisabeth Holler (2003)


Synopsis: Maryland is a dense and rapidly growing state. For this and other reasons, Maryland has been a national leader in a movement known as smart growth. Smart growth has many objectives, but concentrating urban growth in well defined areas while protecting rural land from development are perhaps its primary goals. Though public support for smart growth continues to rise, so do concerns that policies used to promote smart growth could have adverse effects on land and housing markets. To evaluate these concerns, this study provides information on housing markets and development trends in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.The study finds that housing demand in the nation and in Maryland is strong, as revealed by rising prices and homeownership rates as well as by falling vacancy rates and housing-to-jobs ratios. In general, the housing market in Maryland exhibits trends similar to those in comparable jurisdictions, such as neighboring Virginia. The performance of specific housing markets in Maryland, however, varies widely, with strong growth in the suburbs, variable growth in rural areas and persistent weakness in Baltimore City. Further, in the Baltimore and Washington suburbs, housing prices are rising rapidly while housing starts remain sluggish. Though this study does not prove that housing markets and development trends in Maryland have been adversely affected by land use policies, there is evidence to suggest that state and local constraints on development are contributing to problems of housing affordability and deflecting growth to outlying areas. The result could be more, not less, urban sprawl. Moreover, neither the state government nor most local governments in Maryland currently have adequate policies in place to monitor or address this problem. While the Maryland Smart Growth initiative has been successful in protecting natural areas and agricultural lands from development, it has not had similar success in assuring a steady, future supply of affordable housing. Local governments, meanwhile, appear to have little incentive to address this problem.To address this problem the state needs to assure that local governments address development capacity and housing affordability issues. This does not mean it should eliminate or immediately expand Priority Funding Areas. It does mean that the state should require local governments to include housing elements in their comprehensive plans, provide periodic estimates of housing and employment capacity, and develop modern and publicly accessible data on the location and capacity of developable land. Local governments must be active and willing participants in this process and the Maryland Department of Planning should provide whatever technical assistance may be needed.


An Inquiry into the Promise and Prospects of Smart Growth

Author: Gerrit Knaap (2002)


Synopsis: Prepared for Presentation at the International Workshop on Urban Growth Management: New Approaches to Land Management for Sustainable Urban Regions University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan, 29-31 October 2001Smart growth is a term rising rapidly in use and ambiguity. The origin of the term is uncertain, though some credit Harriet Tregoning, former Director of the Development, Community and Environmental Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and now the smart growth Czar in the cabinet of Maryland‚Äôs Governor Glendening. Even if fiction, this story has a certain allure, since the USEPA and the State of Maryland have done much to make smart growth an agenda item of many states, local governments, and interest groups. Despite its popularity, however, the concept of smart growth remains ephemeral. Much has been written about smart growth in the popular press and newsletters of advocacy organizations, both pro and con, but little has been written about it in the academic literature (early contributions include Burchell et al. 2000, Downs 2001, and Nelson 2001). As the newly appointed Director of Research for the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, it will be my job to do just that -- not just with papers of my own, but with papers written by scholars with a variety of disciplinary backgrounds. This paper, therefore, represents a first step towards that end. But my goals for this paper are more ambitious; they include the articulation of an agenda for research on smart growth. This is a formidable task, since the ambiguity of the term leaves little in the realm of land use to eliminate as beyond the scope of the subject. To narrow my scope, therefore, I ignore all discussions about what constitutes urban sprawl and whether sprawl, however defined, is good or bad. Instead, I focus my analysis on smart growth policies adopted by the State of Maryland.


Internally Connected, No Commercial, With a Touch of Open Space: The Neighborhoods of New Homes in the Portland Metropolitan Area

Author: Yan Song and Gerrit Knaap


Synopsis: For many years, neighborhoods have been classified as either ‚Äúsuburban‚Äù or ‚Äútraditional.‚Äù But new homes today are built in many different types of neighborhoods with many different design features. In this paper, we develop a quantitative method for classifying the neighborhoods of new homes in the Portland metropolitan area. We proceed in three steps. ¬†First we measure urban form attributes of neighborhoods around newly developed homes. ¬†We then use factor analysis to identify a small set of factors that capture essential differences in urban form. Finally we use cluster analysis on these factor scores to identify distinctly different neighborhood types. Applying these methods to neighborhoods around new single family homes in the metropolitan Portland, Oregon, we are able to identify eight factors of urban form and six neighborhood types. We then show that most new single family homes in metropolitan Portland are built in new suburban neighborhoods but a substantial portion is occurring in traditional urban neighborhoods.