Developing a New Methodology for Analyzing Potential Displacement

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) selected a project led by a team of UC Berkeley researchers composed of IURD Associate Director Karen Chapple and IURD faculty affiliates Daniel Chatman and Paul Waddell and a team led by Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris and Paul Ong, of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs to develop ways to measure and predict the potential displacement of low-income communities of color as a result of investment in transit-oriented development (TOD). The proposal is titled Developing a New Methodology for Analyzing Potential Displacement.

The award was announced at the ARB's June 27 meeting, where a total of 11 research projects was approved.

The TOD displacement project, which will run two-plus years at a cost of $696,000, is intended to assist agencies as they move to finalize their Sustainable Communities Strategies under SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, passed in response to AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. TOD is one of the major tools that regions are employing to meet AB 32's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. Yet there is scant knowledge of the effect of new development around transit on people already living in these areas, especially low-income communities of color.

The displacement methodology project is part of a larger displacement impact/prevention package that will receive an additional $600,000 in funding and in-kind staff support from the state's two largest metropolitan planning organizations, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission/Association of Bay Area Governments (MTC/ABAG) ($250,000), and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) ($350,000) to support refinements of parcel databases and analysis tools and community engagement as part of a planned "early warning system" for displacement.

Abstract: In 2008, California passed Senate Bill 375 requiring metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to develop Sustainable Communities Strategies to illustrate how integrated land use, transportation, and housing planning will achieve regional greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Pursuing more compact, transit-oriented development is a main strategy being pursued by regions to achieve these reductions. As regions across California finalize their first Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS), communities are increasingly concerned about how new transit investment and related new development around transit stations will affect the lives of existing residents, particularly low-income communities of color. Surprisingly little is known about the relationship between transit-oriented development and social equity, in part because of the challenge of studying displacement. This research project will fill this gap by examining the relationship between transit-oriented development (TOD) and displacement in California. The first stage of the research will develop a tract- and parcel-level database in order to model past patterns of neighborhood change, including overall demographic change, mobility, and displacement, in areas with and without transit-related investment. We will use the results to develop a model that predicts change and displacement based on different types of transit investment. We will then incorporate our findings into the UrbanSim model used by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission/ Association of Bay Area Governments (MTC/ABAG) and the PECAS model used by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). For both models, we will develop a series of enhancements, based in part on the predictive neighborhood change model, to create a reusable tool for analyzing potential displacement impacts in the development of SCSs, and to assess the differential effects of alternative policy interventions. We will also translate both the neighborhood change model and UrbanSim/PECAS models into a user-friendly, off-model tool for practitioners that will help practitioners quantify the potential magnitude of displacement under different investment scenarios and market conditions. Finally, the project will identify anti-displacement strategies in use and examine their effectiveness in different neighborhood contexts.

Final products will include the off-model tool and documentation, as well as a report that documents the neighborhood change analysis, model enhancements, and anti-displacement strategies. Because we are conducting the research project in close collaboration with MTC/ABAG and SCAG, we anticipate that the tools will be incorporated into the modeling for future SCSs and made quickly available to practitioners, including member cities and community-based organizations.