Race, Class, Gender & Diversity

Does Preservation Accelerate Neighborhood Change? Examining the Impact of Historic Preservation in New York City

Does Preservation Accelerate Neighborhood Change? Examining the Impact of Historic Preservation in New York City

Brian J. McCabe and Ingrid Gould Ellen
04/05/2016

Problem, research strategy, and findings: A number of studies have examined the property value impacts of historic preservation, but few have considered how preservation shapes neighborhood composition. In this study, we ask whether the designation of historic districts contributes to changes in the racial composition and socioeconomic status of New York City neighborhoods. Bringing together data on historic districts with a panel of census tracts, we study how neighborhoods change after the designation of a historic district. We find little evidence of changes in the racial composition of a neighborhood, but report a significant increase in socioeconomic status following historic designation.
Takeaway for practice: Our research offers empirical evidence on changes in the racial composition and socioeconomic status of neighborhoods following the designation of a historic district. It suggests that historic preservation can contribute to economic revitalization in urban neighborhoods, but that these changes risk making neighborhoods less accessible to lower-income residents. Planners should consider ways that the city government can work to preserve the highly valued amenities of historic neighborhoods while mitigating the potential for residential displacement.

Race, Poverty, and Federal Rental Housing Policy

Race, Poverty, and Federal Rental Housing Policy

Ingrid Gould Ellen and Jessica Yager
01/14/2016

The chapter examines HUD’s complex and, at times, contradictory goals of creating and preserving high-quality affordable rental housing, spurring community development, facilitating access to opportunity, combating racial discrimination, and furthering integration through federal housing and urban development policy. It discusses HUD’s mixed success in fair housing enforcement and examines five key tensions running through all of HUD’s work.

Race and the Housing Cycle: Differences in Home Equity Trends Among Long-Term Homeowners

Race and the Housing Cycle: Differences in Home Equity Trends Among Long-Term Homeowners
Housing Policy Debate

Jacob Faber and Ingrid Gould Ellen
01/10/2016

During the past decade, housing markets across the United States experienced dramatic upheaval. Housing prices rose rapidly throughout much of the country from 2000 until the start of 2007 and then fell sharply during the next two years. Many households lost substantial amounts of their equity during this downturn; in aggregate, U.S. homeowners lost $7 trillion in equity from 2006 to 2009. Aggregate home equity holdings had fallen back to 2000 levels by early 2009. While this intense volatility has been well documented, there remain unanswered questions about the variation in experiences across racial groups, particularly among those who purchased their homes before the boom and kept them through the collapse of the market. Did this housing market upheaval widen the already large racial and ethnic gaps in housing wealth? Using the American Housing Survey, we analyze differences in the changes in home equity experienced by homeowners of different races and ethnicities between 2003 and 2009. We focus on homeowners who remained in their homes over this period and find that blacks and Hispanics gained less home equity than whites and were more likely to end the period underwater. Black-white gaps were driven in part by racial disparities in income and education and differences in types of homes purchased. Latino-white disparities were most dramatic during the market’s bust.

Housing, Neighborhoods, and Children’s Health

Housing, Neighborhoods, and Children’s Health
Future of Children, Volume 25 Number 1 Spring 2015

Ingrid Gould Ellen and Sherry Glied
09/17/2015

In theory, improving low-income families’ housing and neighborhoods could also improve their children’s health, through any number of mechanisms. For example, less exposure to environmental toxins could prevent diseases such as asthma; a safer, less violent neighborhood could improve health by reducing the chances of injury and death, and by easing the burden of stress; and a more walkable neighborhood with better playgrounds could encourage children to exercise, making them less likely to become obese.

Yet although neighborhood improvement policies generally achieve their immediate goals— investments in playgrounds create playgrounds, for example—Ingrid Gould Ellen and Sherry Glied find that many of these policies don’t show a strong effect on poor children’s health. One problem is that neighborhood improvements may price low-income families out of the very neighborhoods that have been improved, as new amenities draw more affluent families, causing rents and home prices to rise. Policy makers, say Ellen and Glied, should carefully consider how neighborhood improvements may affect affordability, a calculus that is likely to favor policies with clear and substantial benefits for low-income children, such as those that reduce neighborhood violence.

Housing subsidies can help families either cope with rising costs or move to more affluent neighborhoods. Unfortunately, demonstration programs that help families move to better neighborhoods have had only limited effects on children’s health, possibly because such transi- tions can be stressful. And because subsidies go to relatively few low-income families, the presence of subsidies may itself drive up housing costs, placing an extra burden on the majority of families that don’t receive them. Ellen and Glied suggest that policy makers consider whether granting smaller subsidies to more families would be a more effective way to use these funds.

 

Desvinculado y Desigual: Is Segregation Harmful to Latinos?

Desvinculado y Desigual: Is Segregation Harmful to Latinos?
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science July 2015 vol. 660 no. 1 57-76

Ellen, Ingrid Gould, Jorge De la Roca, and Justin Steil
09/17/2015

Despite the high levels of metropolitan-area segregation that Latinos experience, there is a lack of research examining the effects of segregation on Latino socioeconomic outcomes and whether those effects differ from the negative effects documented for African Americans. We find that segregation is consistently associated with lower levels of educational attainment and labor market success for both African American and Latino young adults compared with whites, with associations of similar magnitudes for both groups. One mechanism through which segregation may influence outcomes is the difference in the levels of neighborhood human capital to which whites, Latinos, and African Americans are exposed. We find that higher levels of segregation are associated with lower black and Latino neighborhood exposure to residents with college degrees, relative to whites. We also find support for other commonly discussed mechanisms, such as exposure to neighborhood violent crime and the relative proficiency of the closest public school.

The Introduction of a Supermarket via Tax-Credits in a Low-Income Area: The Influence of Purchasing and Consumption.

The Introduction of a Supermarket via Tax-Credits in a Low-Income Area: The Influence of Purchasing and Consumption.
Elbel B, Mijanovich T, Kiszko K, Abrams C, Dixon LB. The Introduction of a Supermarket via Tax-Credits in a Low-Income Area: The Influence of Purchasing and Consumption. American Journal of Health Promotion. In press.

Elbel B, Mijanovich T, Kiszko K, Abrams C, Dixon LB.
09/10/2015

Corner store purchases in a low-income urban community in NYC.

Corner store purchases in a low-income urban community in NYC.
Kiszko K, Cantor J, Abrams C, Ruddock C, Moltzen K, Devia C, McFarline B, Singh H, Elbel B. Corner store purchases in a low-income urban community in NYC. Journal of Community Health. In press.

Kiszko K, Cantor J, Abrams C, Ruddock C, Moltzen K, Devia C, McFarline B, Singh H, Elbel B.
09/10/2015

We assessed purchases made, motivations for shopping, and frequency of shopping at four New York City corner stores (bodegas). Surveys and purchase inventories (n = 779) were collected from consumers at four bodegas in Bronx, NY. We use Chi square tests to compare types of consumers, items purchased and characteristics of purchases based on how frequently the consumer shops at the specific store and the time of day the purchase was made. Most consumers shopped at the bodega because it was close to their home (52 %). The majority (68 %) reported shopping at the bodega at least once per day. The five most commonly purchased items were sugary beverages, (29.27 %), sugary snacks (22.34 %), coffee, (13.99 %), sandwiches, (13.09 %) and non-baked potato chips (12.2 %). Nearly 60 % of bodega customers reported their purchase to be healthy. Most of the participants shopped at the bodega frequently, valued its convenient location, and purchased unhealthy items. Work is needed to discover ways to encourage healthier choices at these stores.

Neighborhood Effects

Neighborhood Effects
Faber, Jacob W. and Patrick Sharkey. 2015. “Neighborhood Effects.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition), 443-449.

Jacob William Faber and Patrick Sharkey
09/10/2015

Social scientists have long been concerned with the role of space in systems of stratification. While scholars in the field of ‘neighborhood effects’ have typically focused on how a community affects the life chances of its residents, we argue for a broader view of neighborhood effects that considers how spatial stratification serves to maintain and reproduce inequality across multiple dimensions. This article outlines major theoretical arguments exploring how local residential contexts affect social and economic outcomes at the level of individuals and communities, drawing attention to the empirical challenges to measuring neighborhood effects.

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