Uprooted: Residential Displacement in Austin’s Gentrifying Neighborhoods and What Can Be Done About It

New report from UT identifies Austin’s gentrifying neighborhoods and strategies for addressing the displacement of residents

A new report by UT researchers identifies a wave of gentrification sweeping through Austin neighborhoods, displacing low-income African-American and Hispanic renters.

The report, Uprooted: Residential Displacement in Austin’s Gentrifying Neighborhoods and What Can Be Done About It, is authored by UT professors Heather Way, Elizabeth Mueller, and Jake Wegmann, and is the result of a year-long study commissioned by the City of Austin. The report includes an interactive mapping tool, where users can access detailed information on each Austin neighborhood, to see whether the neighborhood is gentrifying and which groups are impacted the most by rising housing costs.

“The maps we produced show striking levels of change, including an alarming loss of low-income persons of color from several areas in Austin’s eastern crescent,” said Jake Wegmann, a professor in the School of Architecture and one of the lead researchers on the project. The maps created by the UT research team identified 16 neighborhoods that are actively gentrifying or in the late stage of gentrifying, and another 23 neighborhoods that are susceptible to gentrification. These neighborhoods appear in an arc from parts of North Austin through East Austin and the eastern edge of South Austin.

The study included an in-depth examination of anti-displacement policies used in gentrifying neighborhoods across the United States through the development of three case studies. The report also includes a framework for evaluating and comparing different policies. “To be effective, city actions will need to focus on solutions tailored to neighborhood conditions,” said Elizabeth Mueller, a professor in the UT School of Architecture and a report author.

According to the report, Austin’s gentrifying neighborhoods will become enclaves primarily for white and wealthier residents, without intervention by the City. “To address these disturbing changes, the City of Austin needs to think big and act boldly,” said Heather Way, a professor at The University of Texas School of Law and co-author of the report.

Uprooted and the interactive gentrification and displacement maps will be presented to the Austin City Council at its work session on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, and made available at that time at the following link:  https://sites.utexas.edu/gentrificationproject/.

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