Crime and Community Development
Community development has traditionally focused on investments in housing, commercial revitalization, and physical improvements. Although all three are clearly critical to communities, the field has largely ignored (or paid too little attention to) one of the key factors that shape the quality of the everyday life: public safety.
The Changing Racial and Ethnic Makeup of NYC Neighborhoods
This analysis from the 2011 State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods report finds that 28 percent of the city’s census tracts were racially integrated in 2010, up from 22 percent of tracts in 1990. The percentage of neighborhoods that are mixed-minority also rose, from 17 percent of all tracts in 1990 to 24 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, the share of neighborhoods that are majority white declined sharply, from 40 percent of all census tracts in the city to 23 percent.
Pathways to Integration: Examining Changes in the Prevalence of Racially Integrated Neighborhoods
Few researchers have studied integrated neighborhoods, yet these neighborhoods offer an important window into broader patterns of segregation. We explore changes in racial integration in recent decades using decennial census tract data from 1990, 2000, and 2010. We begin by examining changes in the prevalence of racially integrated neighborhoods and find significant growth in the presence of integrated neighborhoods during this time period, with the share of metropolitan neighborhoods that are integrated increasing from just under 20 percent to just over 30 percent. We then shed light on the pathways through which these changes have occurred. We find both a small increase in the number of neighborhoods becoming integrated for the first time during this period and a more sizable increase in the share of integrated neighborhoods that remained integrated. Finally, we offer insights about which neighborhoods become integrated in the first place and which remain stably integrated over time.
The Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Racial Segregation
This paper addresses a critical but almost unexamined aspect of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program—whether its use (and in particular, the siting of developments in high poverty/high minority neighborhoods), is associated with increased racial segregation. Using data from HUD and the census, supplemented with data on the racial composition of LIHTC tenants in three states, we examine three potential channels through which the LIHTC could affect segregation: where LIHTC units are built relative to where other low income households live, who lives in these tax credit developments, and changes in neighborhood racial composition in neighborhoods that receive tax credit projects. The evidence on each of these channels suggests that LIHTC projects do not contribute to increased segregation, even those in high poverty neighborhoods. On net, we find that increases in the use of tax credits are associated with declines in racial segregation at the metropolitan level.
Overview of Affirmative Marketing and Implications for the Westchester Fair Housing Settlement
This report summarizes a Feb. 14, 2011 Institute for Affordable Housing Policy roundtable on affirmative marketing of affordable housing in Westchester County. The Furman Center received grant funding to provide independent research and expert assistance on implementation of a federal housing settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, Westchester must develop at least 750 affordable housing units in municipalities with overwhelmingly white populations, and must affirmatively market this housing in geographic areas with significant non-white populations. The roundtable and this review explores strategies to identify and reach potential residents, with an aim of providing insight for Westchester County in the implementation of its obligations under the settlement, as well as to provide guidance to other municipalities that share the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.
Crime and Urban Flight Revisited: The Effect of the 1990s Drop in Crime on Cities
For most of the twentieth century, concerns about safety and high crime rates have beset U.S. cities. Researchers and policymakers pointed to these high urban crime rates as one of the chief ‘urban blights’ from which middle class, mobile (and typically white) households fled during the post-War period, fueling suburbanization. But this picture changed dramatically in the 1990s, a decade during which the crime rate in the U.S. fell by a remarkable thirty percent, and crime rates in many U.S. cities declined even further. This paper builds on the ‘flight from blight’ literature, and considers what effect (if any) the 1990s drop in crime rates had on urban population changes.
Building Environmentally Sustainable Communities: A Framework for Inclusivity
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has decided to include two key goals in all of its programs: encouraging sustainable communities and enhancing access to opportunity for lower-income people and people of color. This paper examines the relationship between these two goals through a literature review and an original empirical analysis of how these goals interact at the neighborhood and metropolitan area levels. We also offer policy recommendations for HUD.
The High Cost of Segregation: The Relationship Between Racial Segregation and Subprime Lending
This study examines whether the likelihood that borrowers of different races received a subprime loan varied depending on the level of racial segregation where they live. It looks both at the role of racial segregation in metropolitan areas across the country and at the role that neighborhood demographics within communities in New York City played.
Underused Lots in New York City
Despite a robust real estate market for most of this decade, researchers and policymakers have observed that many areas of New York City have remained built out well below their zoning capacity. This study aims to contribute to our understanding of urban redevelopment by compiling and analyzing a large database of underdeveloped lots in the City. We identify about 200,000 such lots as of 2003 that were built out at less than 50% of their zoning capacity, representing about a quarter of all residentially zoned lots. Of these, about 8% were redeveloped during the subsequent four years. Our preliminary analysis reveals that underdeveloped lots are primarily made up of low density 1-4 family houses and are disproportionately located in poor and minority neighborhoods. We plan to use this analysis as the foundation for further analysis to assess whether market failures and regulatory and other barriers impede desirable development in mature cities.
Can Homeownership Transform Communities? Evidence on the Impact of Subsidized, Owner-Occupied Housing Investments on the Quality of Local Schools
While recent evidence demonstrates that subsidized investments in owneroccupied housing can lead to increases in property values (Schwartz et al. 2006), the impact of such housing on other community amenities is largely unexamined. Yet, the response of local services to public investments is crucial for policy-makers and community development practitioners who view increasing subsidized homeownership as a mechanism to improve urban neighborhoods. Drawing on evidence from New York City, we examine the impact of subsidized housing on the quality of local schools by studying exogenous variation in city investments in owner and rental units. Specifically, we explore whether – and in what ways – publicly financed investments in owner- or renter-occupied housing made in the late 1980s and 1990s by the City of New York affected the characteristics and performance of local public schools. Our results suggest that the completion of subsidized, owner-occupied housing is associated with a decrease in schools’ percentage of free lunch eligible students, an increase in schools’ percentage of white students, and controlling for these compositional changes, a positive change in pass rates on standardized reading and math exams.