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Predicting gentrification: CU Denver research model predicts neighborhoods likely to gentrify

Posted: 9:50 AM, Jul 29, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-29 11:50:05-04
US construction spending tumbled in April

DENVER — Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver unveiled a new research model that helps predict which U.S. neighborhoods are likely to gentrify.

The model includes several factors, including policy, place, and people.

The study found that policy had one of the greatest impacts.

“If there’s zoning in place that can be substantially up-zoned so that it’s ok to tear down a single-family home or smaller apartment building and put in a three- or four-story building, those zoning perimeters signal to the market that this is a place where you can invest,” said CU Denver Assistant Professor in City and Regional Planning Carrie Makarewicz.

Makarewicz said when it comes to the place factor, the study looked at access to transit, access to jobs, and distance to downtown.

The people factor found that less racially diverse neighborhoods are less likely to be gentrified.

Also, individual preference plays a role.

Makarewicz said the goal of this study is to give urban planners, policy makers, and community leaders a resource to limit gentrification in vulnerable neighborhoods where gentrification may cause long-time residents to be priced out of their homes.

“We know that an increase of permanently subsidized affordable housing stock helps, and bolstering community groups can help to organize in the neighborhoods and find out what people’s needs are,” Makarewicz said.

Makarewicz said using this model, neighborhoods along RTD’s W Line in the western Denver metro area could be the next to gentrify.

“I think a lot of the places along the west line, the western corridor going out toward Lakewood, the gulch…Even though the ridership hasn’t been as high as some of the other lines, I think is becoming more attractive to people and the housing prices are still right.”

Makarewicz said using this model, city leaders can be proactive. They can welcome newcomers while making sure longtime residents don’t feel pushed out.