mfioretti: gentrification*

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  1. Who decides what the city really needs and will operate going forward? With a smart city comes a significant amount of decision making on what to do, who will do it, why and when to do it. The answers to the questions are not easy and can have massive repercussions. Take, for instance, the challenge of gentrification and urban displacement, which has long been framed simply as a symptom of wealthier people moving in to communities and effectively nudging out lower-income individuals. However, public investment can play a critical role in this process too. Perhaps the most shining, unfortunate example of this is what San Francisco Federal Reserve researchers refer to as “transit-induced gentrification” in which public investment in transit—light rail, buses, subway—attracts affluent individuals. So much so that several studies have found that transit investments can alter the demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in pushing out lower-income individuals and creating new problems within the city. Potential outcomes like these should prompt questions about who should be making these decisions about public investments associated with smart cities. Finding pathways to figure out what the public wants from its city (and perhaps more importantly, what it does not) is critical. This requires citizen participation early in the process and throughout. The New Delhi-based Housing and Land Rights Network released a report, “India’s Smart Cities Mission: Smart for Whom? Cities for Whom?” The report highlights the massive problems with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to build 100 smart cities by 2020. Among the problems is the focus on technology of the future instead of issues of the present such as an agrarian crisis, insufficient civil rights for women, forced evictions to make room for the implementation of smart city projects, and so on.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...inconvenient-truth-about-smart-cities
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  2. Mallach’s non-profit focused on revitalizing distressed neighborhoods, particularly in “legacy cities.” These are towns like St. Louis, Flint, Dayton, and Baltimore, that have experienced population loss and economic contraction in recent years, and suffer from property vacancies, blight, and unemployment. Mallach is interested in understanding which neighborhoods are likely to continue down that path, and which ones will do a 180-degree turn. Right now, he can intuitively make those predictions, based on his observations on neighborhood characteristics like housing stock, median income, and race. But an objective assessment can help confirm or deny his hypotheses.

    That’s where Steif comes in. Having consulted with cities and non-profits on place-based data analytics, Steif has developed a number of algorithms that predict the movement of housing markets using expensive private data from entities like Zillow. Mallach suggested he try his algorithms on Census data, which is free and standardized.

    The phenomenon he tested was ‘endogenous gentrification’—this idea that an increase in home prices moves from wealthy neighborhoods to less expensive ones in its vicinity, like a wave. In his blog post, Steif explains:
    https://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/201...ms-that-predict-gentrification/516945
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  3. The successes in Saxapahaw and Kinston are as undeniable as they are laudable, but that does not mean they meet farm-to-table’s more ambitious claims of investing in the entire community. Perhaps there is some model—like the nonprofit Benevolence Farm, near Saxapahaw, which employs women recently released from prison—that provides viability while ensuring more equitable investment. But the lesson of Saxapahaw and Kinston seems to be that farm-to-table, no matter how idealistic, is not yet able to create the community change it promises—not for the entire community, anyway.
    http://www.citylab.com/politics/2016/...ource=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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  4. A inizio giugno la Commissione europea ha pubblicato le linee guida del settore, mettendo in guardia i governi contro barriere e ostacoli. E in Italia l’Intergruppo parlamentare sull’innovazione prepara una proposta di legge per promuovere l’economia della condivisione, che, in pieno spirito collaborativo, è stata oggetto di una consultazione pubblica. Eppure questa rivoluzione dei consumi che molte città chiaramente incoraggiano inizia a preoccupare. Il potenziale economico della sharing economy non va naturalmente soffocato ma è altrettanto importante mitigare alcuni squilibri che, prevedibilmente, stanno emergendo.

    Proprio il caso di Airbnb sembra essere diventato emblematico del dibattito sul potenziale economico e i rischi legati alla sharing economy. Complice l’aumento della domanda turistica, e l’opportunità di un guadagno relativamente semplice, le offerte di strutture crescono esponenzialmente. Solo a Roma sono oltre 12mila gli alloggi pubblicizzati sulla piattaforma.

    Sulle questioni più urgenti – dai problemi legati alla sicurezza, a quelli legati alla tassazione, dal diritto del lavoro fino all’antitrust – sembra esserci consenso: servono nuove norme e e standard, quindi le amministrazioni un po’ in tutto il mondo si stanno muovendo velocemente. In Italia il dialogo tra Airbnb e i Comuni sembra essere proficuo.

    Le implicazioni di lungo periodo tuttavia potrebbero essere molto più complesse. La frammentazione e dinamicità del settore rendono il lavoro dei ricercatori difficile, ma i dati sembrano indicare che spesso i benefici economici e di rigenerazione urbana sono concentrati in quartieri specifici, mentre la potenziale distorsione sul mercato immobiliare potrebbe estendersi a tutta la città.

    Il problema si fa particolarmente spinoso quando i privati acquistano immobili proprio per offrirli per soggiorni più o meno brevi attraverso piattaforme come Airbnb e smettono di prendere in considerazione i normali contratti di locazione di lungo periodo. In alcuni casi parliamo di società che controllano decine se non centinaia di strutture. Questo fenomeno ha chiaramente il potenziale di distorcere interi segmenti del mercato immobiliare.

    Il resto della storia non è difficile da ipotizzare: il numero delle residenze disponibili diminuisce, il prezzo degli affitti sale, e le comunità locali devono lentamente spostarsi. I quartieri, spesso quelli centrali o storici, in pochi anni perdono identità e autenticità e diventano un pittoresco diversivo per visitatori di passaggio.
    http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2016/...storce-il-mercato-immobiliare/2957613
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  5. As many as 30 percent of the available apartments in neighborhoods like the Mission have been taken off the market and used for short-terms rentals through platforms like Airbnb, a city study shows.

    There’s also a close correlation between then number of Airbnb rentals and the number of evictions, the report shows.

    The study by the Board of Supervisors Budget Analyst confirms what nearly every tenant advocate in the city has been saying for months: The regulatory legislation by then-Sup. David Chiu, which passed last year with the support of Mayor Ed Lee, has been a complete failure.

    The report makes a key distinction between “casual” short-term rentals – places where existing residents occasionally rent out a room in their home to visitors – and “commercial” rentals – apartments or houses that have been converted almost entirely to hotel rooms.

    If an entire place is listed on Airbnb for more than 59 nights a year, the Budget Analyst defined it as a commercial operation. For private and shared rooms in a place where a resident lives, the threshold was 89 nights a year.

    It’s impossible to know exactly how many units are rented out through Airbnb, VRBO, Flipkey or other services, since those hosting platforms refuse to release that date.
    http://www.48hills.org/2015/05/14/air...ng-crisis-much-worse-city-study-shows
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  6. Tuesday night, it came time for Mountain View to give Google the go-ahead, the city council instead gave the company a big middle finger.

    As the Silicon Valley Business Journal put it:

    The city council handed LinkedIn about 1.4 million square feet, the lion’s share of roughly 2.2 million square feet of available commercial square footage for the area. Google came away with 515,000 square feet — enough for just one piece of its futuristic four-part campus expansion.

    Seriously. LinkedIn! OK, it’s a very successful public company, but for many of us it feels like the Friendster of professional networking sites. LinkedIn did not promise Mountain View the smorgasbord of civic bling that Google did, but it had one key thing in its favor — not being Google. As Silicon Valley Business Journal‘s Nathan Donato-Weinstein wrote:

    Elected officials all praised Google’s stunning futuristic design, but also worried about choking off LinkedIn, which they consider a key ingredient for the city’s business diversity. (This is how a friend of mine put it to me today: “In Cupertino, the good news is you have Apple. The bad news is, you have Apple.”)

    In March, I wrote about how a few tech companies — but particularly Google — have been trying to rewrite the decades-old template of the office park. As Silicon Valley has continued to add office buildings, but refrained from building housing, the amount of car traffic through the area has skyrocketed — along with the number of commuters on Caltrain, the regional passenger rail system.

    Google has tackled this problem first through its bus network and now through

    Google has tackled this problem first through its bus network and now through housing — ideally, 5,000 units of it on the grounds of the new Googleplex. This solution may be a hit with fans of infill development, but it has not been a hit with Mountain View. As a Mountain View city council member put it three years ago, “Housing by companies went out with the mining towns.” Mountain View was more than happy to host the mine, but was unwilling to become the town.
    http://grist.org/cities/mountain-view...tion&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=feed
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  7. I don’t know how else to say it to the newcomers: You have moved into a city at war. People who have lived here a long time are in a constant state of intense stress over the possible, sometimes very real, loss of their homes – and it’s not a bit surprising when that stress boils over into anger.

    As long as the evictions continue, there is no visible truce at hand. I’m not sure at this point that peace is even possible.

    Please understand: If you moved to San Francisco in the past 24 months, and you live in an apartment or a TIC, theres a decent chance that someone was forced out to make room for you. Maybe not; there is turnover in any city. People give up apartments, sell condos, move out voluntarily. I hope you refused to move into any place cleared by eviction. I hope and want to believe that you support tenant rights and don’t want to see the evictions either.

    But many of the apartments on the market in the city today had prior residents who were driven out – by the Ellis Act, but landlord harassment, by bogus evictions they didn’t know how to fight, or with buyouts that seemed a better option and fighting a hard battle against an eviction.

    Many of the new restaurants and hip cafes that serve the tech workers took the place of much-loved local businesses forced out by higher rents.

    you should understand that the anger you are complaining about is not random, is not some kind of anti-tech sentiment. It’s a response to intolerable conditions that have been created by policymakers who decided that bringing in high-paying tech jobs was more important than protecting existing “unique culture.”

    I don’t want to argue again about whether we can build enough housing to make the difference. But there’s something we can all agree on, something that cannot be denied:

    San Francisco – and Cupertino and Mountainview and other cities – went out of their way to attract companies that would be importing tens of thousands of new workers from other parts of the country – without FIRST making sure there was enough housing for them. It was an epic failure of urban planning.
    http://www.48hills.org/2015/04/01/a-c...at-war-why-we-cant-all-just-get-along
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  8. What if Silicon Valley had emerged from a racially integrated community?

    Would the technology industry be different?

    Would we?

    And what can the technology industry do now to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past?

    This is a story of how two neighboring communities followed entirely different trajectories in post-war California — one of enormous wealth and power, and the other of resilience amid deprivation. It’s about how seemingly small policy choices can have enduring, multi-generational consequences.

    Integration would turn out to be a double-edged sword.

    “Before blacks could live anywhere else outside East Palo Alto and Belle Haven in Menlo Park » , everybody lived in the same community,” Hoover said. “But once integration came, the middle-class and professionals left. So you were left with a low-income, poorly educated community with opportunities only for very low-wage jobs. Not only are your role models and economic engine gone, your leadership is too.”
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/10/east-of-palo-altos-eden
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  9. In the past few years, street gangs have been retreating from public view all over Southern California.

    “Being the member of a gang doesn’t have the panache it did,” says George Tita, a criminology. “Things have changed radically in the last five years.”

    IN 2002, BILL BRATTON, a veteran of law enforcement who had spent 1994 to 1996 as police commissioner of New York City, accepted a job offer from Los Angeles mayor Jim Hahn to take over as chief of the LAPD. If Bill Murphy and other LAPD veterans were hoping for a change, this was one. During a generally terrible decade for the LAPD, the NYPD, during and after Bratton’s tenure, had gone from success to success, cutting New York’s murder rate by more than half.

    Central to Bratton’s approach in New York was a system called CompStat, short for computer statistics. CompStat involved the real-time statistical monitoring of crime reports, giving cops, and their chain of command, data to which they could be held accountable. Bratton also believed in what has been called the broken windows theory, based on an argument (still much contested) put forward in 1982 by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, that broken windows or other forms of decay beget further deterioration, and that preventing serious crimes requires a focus on combating blight and petty forms of lawlessness.

    The gang injunction spent much of the 1990s in court before being narrowly ruled constitutional, but law enforcement valued it. Today, Los Angeles alone has at least 44 injunctions against 72 street gangs. Gang members seen on the street together can be jailed on misdemeanor charges. Other towns and counties followed LAPD’s lead.

    All this had a major effect: It drove gang members indoors. Drug dealing continued, and so did other forms of crime, including identity theft. Gang members became more adept at using the Internet to promote their gangs and belittle rivals. But boasting and threatening online doesn’t require the commitment or violence of classic L.A. street gang-banging, nor does it blight a neighborhood. “When you don’t have kids hanging out on the street,” says George Tita, the UC Irvine criminologist, “there’s no one to shoot or do the shooting.”

    COMPSTAT AND BROKEN WINDOWS were technocratic tools that Bratton could import from New York without too much modification, even if they were controversial. But his approach to public relations had to be different. Vast swaths of Angelenos hated and feared their own police department.

    Captains even began to lobby the city for services—street sweeping and tree trimming—that had nothing to do with law enforcement, transforming themselves into a miniature city government for neighbors who didn’t know who to call. They started to recognize that bringing crime rates down—their ticket to promotion—could happen only through alliances with the community. So Captain IIIs began to spend much of their time among pastors, librarians, merchants, and school principals. “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem” became their startling new mantra.

    Most of the Southern California RICO prosecutions have instead swept up large numbers of street gang members. Leaders of prison gangs like the Mexican Mafia usually aren’t even charged in these prosecutions, and are referred to as “unindicted co-conspirators.”

    “In prosecuting the members, you make prison-gang leaders » powerless,” Brunwin says. “If no one’s out there on the street doing their work, then they’re just guys in cells.”

    Southern California RICO cases have sent large numbers of street-gang soldiers to prisons in places like Arkansas or Indiana, where no girlfriend is coming to visit. In California prisons, inmates usually serve only half their time before getting out on parole, but federal prison sentences are long and provide for no parole.

    rising real estate prices have made properties in even the toughest neighborhoods valuable, and value has created peace. In place of insular barrios, for better or worse, neighborhoods have emerged in which people don’t know each other, and street life is nil. New arrivals—often white hipsters or immigrants from other countries—possess none of the history, or gang connections, of the departing families.
    http://www.psmag.com/navigation/polit...thern-california-epidemic-crime-95498
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  10. The city is not a company; community is not a brand; citizenship cannot be mistaken for consumption. .. The city is not a startup. It is not a market than needs to be disrupted in order to stimulate competition and growth. The city is not a platform that can be hacked. Despite the optimistic talk, it is an old language that is being spoken here: Startup Urbanism is gentrification by another name.

    Excerpted from Leo Hollis:

    “Can one re-imagine the dynamics of the city in the same way one thinks about a tech startup? The rhetoric of Startup Urbanism offer a new vocabulary that foregrounds disruption, open source, and connectedness as values that can be transposed from the Internet straight onto the organization of our cities streets. It supposes that, if you can get the code right, the script will run without glitches. However, such technological solutionism is simplistic, naïve at best, and, more likely, dangerously short-sighted.
    http://www.shareable.net/blog/why-startup-urbanism-will-fail-us
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