Book Release - A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently published A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality. The book features leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers examining different aspects of the complex and deeply rooted problem of residential segregation, and proposing concrete steps to achieve meaningful change. NYU Furman Center Furman Faculty Directors Vicki Been, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Katherine O'Regan each authored chapters on displacement, gentrification, and affirmatively furthering fair housing, respectively.
Ingrid Gould Ellen’s chapter on gentrification examines whether the trend of well-educated white professionals moving to urban centers can promote racial integration, and how policy makers can stabilize integrated neighborhoods to prevent displacement. She posits several theories to explain the disconnect between research indicating that gentrification does not generally cause displacement, and the views from the field that displacement represents a serious threat to low-income communities. She then discusses different policy tools and initiatives local governments can use to foster longer-run integration, including affordable housing preservation strategies, property-tax incentives, density bonuses, and the use of city-owned land. The chapter closes by highlighting the role community organizations play in breaking down the social and sometimes physical barriers between neighbors of different backgrounds and income levels.
In a chapter on displacement, Vicki Been outlines a robust research agenda to answer the many outstanding questions about gentrification, displacement, and the tools available to policy makers to protect residents. She groups a series of research questions under four main categories:
- Preservation of affordable housing;
- Protection of tenants at-risk of displacement;
- Inclusionary zoning; and
- Revenue generation and incentives.
The current gaps in knowledge about the basics of who gentrification and displacement affects and how to help them effectively leave policy-makers with blunt tools that risk unintended consequences. The chapter concludes by calling on researchers, foundations, and policy makers to establish a strategic approach to prioritizing and answering the questions outlined, and argues that this research could add significant value to the task of creating equitable, inclusive cities.
Katherine O’Regan’s chapter on HUD’s Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) rule prophetically warns of the risk that HUD will dismantle the nearly eight-year rulemaking effort which led to the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) process. In August, HUD issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, signaling that this possibility is very real. (Read the NYU Furman Center’s public comments opposing HUD’s approach here.) O’Regan examines the history of the mandate to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing and then reviews the key issues and challenges to meaningfully increase inclusion under the AFH framework. In her analysis she highlights the work of fellow authors (Raphael Bostic, Michael Allen et al., and Elizabeth Julian) to provide a preliminary roadmap for building a more equal society given the lowered federal expectations.