The focus of this research project is to examine the process of gentrificalion and revitalization as a nationwide-city phenomenon and determine how that process relates to the process in Denver.
The main question to be addressed in this paper is what adverse social side effects, if any, does the private revitalization process have on Denver's neighborhoods and its low income residents. Two particular revitalizing neighborhoods have been chosen for this study; Curtis Park and Baker neighborhoods. The final focus of this research project is to determine what solutions are available or appropriate for guiding the reinvestment process in order to limit its side-effects.
The first step of this reserch project was to review and analysize available studies, observations and conclusions about the private revitalization process nationwide. By examining this literature common indicators of change in a revitalizing neighborhoods were chosen to be used iri examining Curtis Park and Baker neighborhoods. The Curtis Park and Baker neigborhoods were chosen because they were considered to be undergoing the most private revitalization and displacement of all Denver neighborhoods, (according to local planners). The next step in this research project was to compile all the secondary data available on these two neighborhoods. .Sources of information included: A longitudinal study on revitalization of neighborhoods in six cities (including Denver) conducted by the Research Triangle Institute, A Princeton study on displacernent-which included the Baker neighborhood, Neighborhood Plans and Annual Housing Reports from the Denver Planning Office, The Eastside Summary of Conditions and Neighborhood Improvement Plan prepared by the Department of Community Renewal Program (1972), Housing Development Strategies-Denver: the 801s prepared for the Denver Housing Authority(1902). The majority of the data used was taken from the U.S. Census tract and block data. Also used were relevant news clippings.
After the secondary information was compiled and tabulated an analysis was done to determine if any significant trends were taking place in Denver, specifically in the Baker and Curtis Park neighborhoods. Also examined was whether the common problems that occur in other revitalizing neighborhoods were present in Baker and Curtis Park neighborhoods.
The next step in the research project was reviewing available literature on ways to guide the revitalization process thereby lessening its adverse impacts on low-income residents.
The final phase of the research projects was to determine what programs or policies would be appropriate or feasible for guiding Denvers private reinvestment process.
Key Bindings and Conclusions
Private revitalization and gentrification of city neighborhoods is a complex process with many variables influencing the process. Studies and research conducted on the subject have not always been conclusive about the actual impacts of gentrification and the course that the process takes. This inconclusiveness stems, in part, from the diversity of situations and conditions from city to city and even v/ithin different neighborhoods in each city. It therefore is imperative that local officials evaluate the process occurring within its own individual neighborhoods.
Two main concerns that emerge from the research literature on gentrification are displacement and the social integration and cohesiveness of neighborhoods undergoing gentrification. The displacement of existing low-income residents in a gentrifying neighborhood is one adverse side-effect of the private revitalization process. The broader scope of this problem is the permanent loss of affordable housing,in the inner city, for low and moderate income households and eventually even the lower middle class households. The national
policy of housing filtering down to eventually become affordable to low income groups, is dampered by the existence of reinvestment in older city neighborhoods. The housing that has filtered down in the past to low income residents is being reclaimed by the grown children of the generation that fled to the suburbs.
This reversal has important implications for the future planning of housing policies for lower income groups.
The other major concern is the integration and social cohesiveness of neighborhoods undergoing private revitalization. The issue raised is whether race and class integration is a product of private revitalization or just a transitional phase of the process. Many neighborhoods, in the midst of the reinvestment process, have experienced conflicts between incumbent residents and newcomer This conflict often arises over land use in the neighborhoods, particularly low income housing. As the revitalization process proceeds, often the gentrifiers become concerned about protecting their investment and seek a more homogenous neighborhood through zoning and land use controls.
Key Findings for Curtis Park and Baker
Key indicators for revitalization are evident in Curtis Park and Baker. These indicators include; spiraling increases in housing prices, the presence of multiple sales and speculation, the widespread conversions of multifamily housing back to single family units, the presence of the gentrifying age group, a large percentage of houses rehabilitated, a loss of the elderly population in Baker and the displacement of residents in Baker. Curtis Park has experienced conflicts among its residents over land use issues.
Key Finding for Denver
Denver has the predeposition characteristics of a city that is prime for private reinvestment in its neighborhoods. The
qualities assumed to be needed for a neighborhood to have private reinvestment include; a substantial old well constructed housing stock, a capacity to employ a sizeable group of professional and/or managerial people, absentee ownership and a scarcity of housing in the surrounding areas. Additionally, Denver has a population of downtown employess who are open to moving in or near downtown.
Phillip Clay has studied many gentrifying city neighborhoods across the nation and has observed that once the process of private revitalization has started it does not reverse itself.
It would be safe to assume that the revitalization process in Baker and Curtis Park and other revitalizing neighborhoods will continue. After the recession in 1974 and 1975, Baker and the greater Curtis Park area experienced the most sales, speculation and renovation activity compared to the other years of its revitalization. As the interest rates drop,the pent-up demand for housing near and in downtown will likely emerge in the form of more sales and revitalization activity in these and other neighborhoods. As the demand for middle income housing increases in the city of Denver, the prices will be likely to increase also and low and moderate housing will continue to be permanently removed from the housing market.
The process of revitalization of a neighborhood is complex and involves many factors, therefore the guiding process will also be comprehensive and complex. Many programs and regulations are available to cities to use, if they are interested in guiding the reinvestment process. Providing new housing downtown for the upper income groups would help lessen the demands on the existing housing stock in city neighborhoods.
Dispersing the demand to non-gentrifying neighborhoods would be another way to help lessen the speculation activities in any one neighborhood. Many programs and regulations exists that could be used to protect low and moderate income housing in the city and to help keep housing affordable in the city of Denver.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I Private Revitalization
A. The Issues and Effects
B. Federal of Local Responsibility
II Curtis Park and Baker Neighborhoods in Denver
B. Curtis Park
C. Comparisons with Gentrifying Neighborhoods Nationwide
D. Summary of Effects
II Overview of Situation at the City Level
C. Curtis Park
D. Curtis Park and Baker
V Conclusion and Summary
THE ISSUES AND EFFECTS
Gentrification and the displacement it is presumed to cause is an issue that many authorities have studied and written about but few seem to agree upon its extent and impact. Gentrification refers to the coming back of the "gentry" to the city. It is a term used to describe the "back to the city" movement of the white middle and upper classes. Private revitalization accompanies this influx into certain inner city neighborhoods. Actually gentrification is partially a misnomer because studies show that of those renovaters buying homes in revitalizing neighborhoods nearly half have moved from within the city. New Orleans conducted a study which found that 80% of those moving into a revitalizing neighborhood moved from within the city of New Orleans.1 Many of these inmovers are presumed to be first time homeowners making the transition from rental to homeownership. A "back to the city" movement does, however, exist in that many of the young professional "inmovers" who grew up in the suburbs are now choosing
the inner city over suburban living.
Various studies have found several different reasons for the
prime impetus for renovators to move into revitalizing inner
city neighborhoods. A recent study done by HUD's Office of
Policy Development and Research found that the majority of
residents of rehabilitated housing were first time homeowners
and that economics was their main reason for moving to a
revitalizing area. For the remaining sample of the study a
preference for an urban life style was given as their reason
for relocating in a revitalizing neighborhood. A study done in ten revitalizing neighborhoods in New Orleans found neighborhood attractiveness a central issue in housing selection, closely followed by architectural quality and/or size of the house. Convenience to work and cultural activities which is often thought of as a prime motivation for choosing a house in the city was found to be important to only ^ of their sample.^
Bill West, author of Curtis Park, A Denver Neighborhood, states
that initially it is the Victorian architecture of the houses
in Curtis Park that attracts the white middle class to move
there and renovate their houses.
The National Clearinghouse for Legal Services reports in a July 1981 issue a fairly complete list of possible reasons for this "back to the city" movement:
a) A general deterioration in the U.S. economy which leads consumers to place a premium on lower cost housing.
b) Escalating costs of new suburban construction as a result of rising land costs, growth contracts, environmental regulations, rising materials and labor costs.
c) A new anti-suburban ideology among children of the suburbs.
d) A priority on residences close to work centers because of uncertainties about the availability and price of gasoline;.
e) Demographic changes: more singles and childless families whose locational preferences are not tied to the location of good (suburban) schools.
f) Increasing appreciation of the architectural qualities of older housing.6
Eileen Zeitz, in her book Private Urban Renewal, sites two more reasons for the "back to the city" movement:
a) The baby boom is adding pressure to the housing market.
b) The original motives that made the suburbs attractive may no longer be applicable i. e. the quality of public education is declining, the existence of busing and more and more formerly perceived urban social problems are emerging in suburban areas,'
Eileen Zeitz from her observations concludes that there are several factors that must exist before the revitalization process will occur:
1) A city must contain a substantial old well constructed housing stock, (preferably of historic interest but it is not essential).
2) A city must have the capacity to employ a sizeable group of professional and/or managerial people.
(This group she sees as the most likely to consider urban living by choice).
3) Absentee ownership which is automatically accompanied by high vacancy rates or tenant populations, an area where the existing population can be displaced,
4) A scarcity of housing in the surrounding areas.8
The two Denver neighborhoods that will be discussed in this paper, Curtis Park and Baker, appear to fit the above criteria. Curtis Park which has been designated a National Historic District contains a well constructed housing stock, mostly Victorian. The Baker neighborhood also has a well constructed housing stock of historical interest because of its many Victorian style houses built around the turn of the century. Baker neighborhood has also applied for designation as a National Historic District.
As evidenced by the mammoth growth of office buildings in the last decade, Denver clearly has the capacity to employ a sizeable group of professional and/or managerial people.
Both Curtis Park and Baker neighborhoods had a relatively small percentage of owner occupied units in 1970 (prior to the start of revitalization). The Curtis Park neighborhood falls into two Census tracts and in 1970 these Census tracts showed a low 17% and 18% owner occupancy rate. The Baker owner occupancy rate was 26% compared to the city's average of 61.5% in 1970.^ Curtis Park and Baker both appear to
have had the type of population (tenant) necessary for revitalization to take place.
No conclusions have been drawn by this research project as to whether a scarcity of housing existed in the surounding area at,-the start of revitalization in Curtis Park or Baker neighborhoods.
Contrary to Zeitz' four basic factors for pre-conditions, a study
of 967 Census tracts in nine cities found that gentrifiers tended
to select neighborhood with fewer vacant units, more owner occupied
units and more professional households already living in them.
They also concluded from their study that during the i.l 970's the
gentrifiers did not penetrate predominantly poor and minority
neighborhoods. Phillip Clay, author of Neighborhood Renewal,
studied revitalization in thirty major cities and found the
opposite to be true. Clay found that 52% of the revitalizing
neighborhoods hadjbeen mostly white or all white and that 48% had
been mostly black or all black. He found that 82% of the gentrified
neighborhoods are now dominated by whites. Additionally he claims
that most of the neighborhoods had mostly blue collar workers prior
to gentrification and that only 5% had mainly white-collar
neighborhoods before gentrification. In Residental Displacement; An Update to Congress (published in 1981) the conclusion drawn from several studies was that: "the common assumption that neighborhoods withlthe poorest quality housing and the lowest SES are more likely to revitalize than other neighborhoods was not substantiated" In their travel around the country, however, the National Legal Sevices found that many, neighborhood groups throughout the country have expressed the view that a "second generation" gentrification is likely to move into more deteriorated areas and black areas.^
There are differing views on why and where gentrification is taking place, so also are there differing views on how the process of gentrification is taking place.
Eileen Zeitz explains it as a prototype five step process which revitalizing neighborhoods follow:
1) Pioneers call attention to a particular area.
2) Real estate agents become involved and committed to inner city sales: speculators and builders follow.
3) Lending institutions enter the area.
4) Area property owners acheive local control over zoning decisions and/or historical preservation status.
5) Prices rise, population changes and living conditions improve dramatically. Entrance to the area becomes limited to the relatively affluent and pioneers are forced to seek new places to begin the process again. 4
The findings of the Report to Congress again contradicts those of Eileen Zeitz. They concluded from studies that indicators of revitalization do not change in an orderly or predictable fashion. They also felt that the start of revitalization was not characterized by a sharp or abrupt change in sales or rehabilitation activity and that no single type of change serves as the most reliable indicator of the start of
The Report to Congress also indicated that the pattern of activity in revitalizing neighborhoods appears to be directly related to macroeconomic forces and metropolitan housing trends. While they found this to be true of non-revitalizing areas, activity in the revitalizing neighborhoods was found to be considerably greater and more than simply a reaction to
macroeconomic forces. Macroeconomics cannot be downplayed
in its influence, however, because according to a study by
the Research Triangle Institute done from 1970 to 1979; the
volume of rehabilitation declined sharply during the national
housing slump of 1974 and 1975 and increased dramatically after
the recession, with the largest volume of renovations occurring
after the end of the recession.
In the Baker and Curtis Park neighborhoods sales activity picked up considerably after the 1974-1975 recession, with 1978 and 1977 being the most active years for sales of single family houses. Figures show that macroeconomics,
(. the national recession) has slowed down the sales activity somewhat in these neighborhoods. A walk through either neighborhood will show, however, that the revitalization process is still going strong as evidenced by the many posted permit signs.
Who is doing the revitalizing and renovating of inner city neighborhoods? As was previously mentioned most "inmovers" are first time homeowners already living in the city. Inmovers are much easier to study than the outmovers, so more information is available about them. The National Clearinghouse for Legal Services has summarized some of the more recent findings about inmovers. The typical household of "gentrifiers" was composed of one or two unmarried or married young adults, without children, was white (90%), had one or more members employed in a professional or managerial occupation, and had above average incomes.
In An Update Report to Congress, October 1981 it was noted that after reviewing the evidence it was found that conventional theories about inmovers was substantiated. Early inmovers to revitalizing neighborhoods are most likely to be single individuals and if they are owner occupants they are likely to renovate their homes. However, it was found that inmovers later in the revitalization process are more
likely to be husband-wife families and to come from the 90
EFFECTS AND IMPACTS
There is much heated debate over the effects that the "gentrification process has on neighborhoods and the people living in them. No one seems to disagree over the attributes of revitalizing inner city neighborhoods, but the main focus of debate and disagreement is over who is going to reap the benefits and also the sociological effects it will have on the low and moderate income people currently living in the city.
Advocates of the revitalization process speak of its many benefits to the city. Eileen Zeitz's states that "despite its shortcomings private urban renewal is the first success among many efforts to rehabilitate inner cities". The government has tried for years to revitalize inner city neighborhoods with some of the earliar programs going back as far as the Eisenhower Administration. Martin Anderson, (who is now Ronald Reagan's Domestic Advisor) during the Eisenhower years was skeptical of urban renewal and claimed that it would take the federal program 1800 years to rehab-
ilitate the existing inventory of substandard homes. The
Nixon administration and Edward Banfield, author of The
Heavenly City, both shared the view that there is little that
public policy or public funds can do to generate needed
private investment. The private market on a small scale appears to be doing what the government has futilely been trying to do for decades. This seems to be one of the main reasons why federal and local officials are reluctant to formulate any public policies that may limit or control gentrification.
The bright side of revitalization is that it can improve the housing quality and increase the housing stock of an area,by
restoring vacant and abandoned housing to the market. In view of the large quanitities of marginal housing stock in most
major cities, the cost effectiveness of rehabilitation can be
considered a prime element of an overall stability effort.
HUD is currently emphasizing the potential that the revitalization process has for acheiving racial and social intergra-
tion on a voluntary basis.
Another benefit of revitalization of inner city neighborhoods is that "middle income housing can be an important economic and fiscal balancing factor as well as a social attribute, in the central city milieu". Local officials view revitalization as a way to increase the amount of taxes the city may collect through increased property tax assessment.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (one form of revitalizing neighborhoods) conducted a study of four historic preservation neighborhoods and made the following findings:
The successful revitalization of so many American cities reflects the variety of economic and social benefits that are directly related to preservation. Renovated areas attract businesses, tourists, and new residents. Crime tends to go down in successfully rejuvenated neighborhoods, at the same time, the overall quality of life improves. Preservation creates jobs and tax revenues. Cultural activities flourish in rehabilitated districts and community pride invariably increases. Preservation results in esthetic social and economic benefits which accrue to indiv- duals, businesses, local governments and entire communities. Often physical improvements within the district inspire similar projects in other parts of the city. Tax revenues rose considerably in revitalized areas, revenues from both sales taxes and property taxes have increased in the four districts studied. There is also an increase in the supply of convenient sound downtown housing in most cases accessible to people with various levels of income.30
Concerns and Problems
Not everyone views the current revitalization process so
positively. Howard J. Sumka, who has studied revitalization,
has come to believe that the debate over the issue is solidly
founded on deep ideological rifts among participants. He
states that the issue may not be subject to rational resolution;
more data and analysis are unlikely to inform the debate.
Many authorities claim that more careful studies are needed before any policies about revitalization can be formed, (including HUD). Others claim that enough studies have been conducted and that policies need to be formulated now to protect low and moderate income residents in revitalizing neighborhoods.
Reduction of low and moderate income housing
One major problem with the process of revitalization is that the downward filtration of housing no longer occurs. One national housing policy has been a system of the downward filtration of housing to lower income groups. The premise for this policy was that as upper income housing aged it depreciated and eventually would become affordable to the lower income groups. Now revitalization of inner city neighborhoods is changing trickle down to trickle up as the more affluent move back to the city and move into the older housing, reclaiming housing that had trickled down to become affordable to lov/er income families.
Another problem associated with gentrification has been the conflicts between incumbent residents and inmovers. The National Urban Coalition states the problem in strong terms:
"The benefits of a strengthened tax base and some of the gains in residential and commercial revitalization are clashing with
the deprivation, frustration and anger of those who are becoming the new urban nomads." William Murtagh of the National Register of Historic Places knows the benefits of revitalization but warns other preservationists that "except for minor exceptions, preservationists have failed the other segments of our society and often have forced unwanted changes upon them. For the young and upwardly mobile changes sometimes caused by preservation can be beneficial. For others,.usually the poor and the elderly, such change is often not good or questionable at best."*^ Rolf Goetze, author of Understanding Neighborhood Changes, states the problem in simplistic terms: "Now some Super-Haves as well as some Haves are interested in urban neighborhoods currently occupied by Have-Nots. A sharp clash between these residents and newcomers is shaping up. It seems the ever-expanding pie of opportunites has slowed leading to fights about the size of the slices.This conflict Goetz has articulated will be generated because the low and upper middle class households will be competing in the same housing market.
Deborah Auger who has studied conflicts in Bostons revitalizing neighborhoods has observed that: "Threats posed by middle class superior economic and political power generated uneasiness and fears on the part of incumbents regarding issues of displacement escalate to the point where these threats begin to be realized, the community divides against itself. Dislocation and intensifying conflicts in the neighborhood produce anguish, truama and deep seated ill will among neighbors that can destroy the social fabric of the community. The deepening dissension that follows an escalated middle-class influx places a counterproductive strain on local politics as neighborhood factionalism and instability take hold."-^
HUD and other optimists about gentrification,as mentioned earliar, see revitalization as a unique opportunity for racial integration. Not everyone, however, shares this optimism.
In theory voluntary integration seems like a desirable
occurrance after all isn't that what planners and public officials have been hoping for and trying to accomplish for years? There are skeptics who feel that this is not what is happening or going to happen in the future. The National Clearinghouse for Legal Services after reviewing many studies and visiting many neighborhoods viewed the prospect of peaceful and harmonious integration quite differently than HUD does.
They saw evidence of intense confict between renters and owners, blacks and whites, working-class and professional residents, and many different lifestyle groups(gays). Examples of conflicts they sited included a gentrifying neighborhood in Philadelphia where white street gangs attack blacks passing through and even drove out one black family that bought a home there. Additionally gentrifiers in New Orleans and Boston's South End are fighting assisted housing in their neighborhoods' and black and Hispanic groups are resisting gay gentrification in San Fransisco.
An important.question;is.whether integration really occurs
during private revitalization or if the coexistence of
different races and different socioeconomic levels is just
a temporary condition occuring during a transitional period.
A study done of New Orleans revovators showed that almost ?
of the new homebuyers expect their neighborhoods to be all or
mostly white, and professional or middle class in five years.
The higher the economic status of the homebuyer the higher
the correlation for expecting an all middle class white 37
The National Clearinghouse Review for Legal Services states that a "process of integration for a few at the expense of a majority of blacks is not an occurrence to be uncritically applauded". Regarding class integration they state that "where different classes share the same physical turf but
interact very little, it is unclear what degree of integration has occurred, or what its value is."^ Eileen Zeitz sees a potential for acheiving social and racial integration through private revitalization. At a given point in time racial and social integration exists because the new population has not totally displaced the existing population. Zeitz contends that this is when local and federal governments need to intervene
and assist in the maintenance of heterogenity of a neighborhood.
Another argument for gentrification is that it supposedly stabilizes deteriorating neighborhoods. The Urban Land Institute contends that the stabilization process suceeds more often through retaining existing households rather than attracting new ones. The stabilization process they contend will be as hard to control as it was in the past to control the conversion of neighborhoods to habitation by low income households.^0
All the problems mentioned thus far in relation to private revitalization have been clearly tied to the main issue that surrounds the gentrification controversy and that is the displacement of residents living in the revitalizing neighborhoods. A comprehensive definition of displacement comes from a book titled Displacement-How to Fight It, a publication of the National Legal Services. Its authors describe displacement as being what happens when forces outside the household make living there impossible, or hazordous or unaffordable. It is a process by which lower income people are engineered out of their traditional neighborhoods, to make way for new occupants deemed more desirable because of the color of their skin, the taxes they will pay, or the "life style" they lead. Their definition also describes a rapid whittling away of society's stock of low and moderate income housing. The main source
of displacement they feel are the acts of profit seeking humans, blended in with the work of planners, administrators and legislators who give higher value to the interests of the wealthy than to the shelter needs and neighborhood attachments of people with smaller pocketbooks
In gentrification displacement of households is caused by sharply increased tax bills or hiked rents. Often tenants are displaced so that buildings can be renovated, and sold or just sold to be renovated later. Many buildings are sold numerous times at a higher price for each transaction, without any improvements made, this process is called speculation. Speculation often runs rampant in revitalizing neighborhoods. Many homeowners in these neighborhoods hastily jump at the chance to sell their houses at a price higher than they ever expected to receive, many may become disappointed to find out that what they thought to be a good price will not buy them anything of equal value elsewhere.
Displacement can also be caused by converting units such as rental units to condominiums or multi-family unit houses back to single family homes. A 1980 study done by HUD shows that in Denver 8.8% of the rental housing has been converted to condomiums, making Denver the leader in the nation in conversions of those cities studied. The national average was 1.3%. h Condo conversions however are not yet taking place in Curtis Park or Baker neighborhoods at any significant level.^ Another form of conversion is that of Single Room Occupancy Hotels many of which are occupied by single elderly who can't afford to live elsewhere. These hotels are usually located in or near the Central Business District on prime real estate property. Often times they are demolished or converted for more profitable uses.
Extent of Displacement
There is a growing disagreement over just how much displacement is taking place and the effect it is having on those who are displaced. The government figures for 1979 are that .8% to 1.1% of the population was displaced during that year.^ They perceive this figure as indicating that displacement is a minimal problem} a necessary evil in order to revitalize our nations cities. The incidence of displacement, however is larger in cities and especially in neighborhoods experiencing revitalization than the nation as a whole. Prom 1% to 1% of all households in selected cities were displaced. Of the households that move the percentage of displacees is greater in cities that are revitalizing than the national figure;which is 4% to 6% of all U.S. mover households. Figures from revitalizing neighborhoods range from 10% to 25% with some as high as 57%.^ In a recent study done by Princeton, it was discovered that 35% of the movers from the Baker neighborhood from 1979 to 1980 were displaced.^
Denver's Displacement Report estimated that approximately
1% of those households living in Denver's Revitalization
Area in 1978 were displaced. This figure, however, did
not include those displaced due to increasing utility costs
and rents because it could not be readily measured.
I-IUD's Displacement Report of 1979 estimated that 500, 000
households or approximately 1.4 million persons per year 4 ^
are displaced. This figure also does not include those displaced for cost-induced reasons. The National Legal Service estimates that an additional 1 to 1.4 million persons per year are displaced for cost-induced reasons. They offer a figure of about 2.5 million persons annually being displaced, which they consider to be a conservative estimate.^
HUD found that displacement disproportionately effects those that are the most vulnerable such as minorities, low income
households, female-head families and renters. Other
studies conducted have found the elderly to he included
in this group.A 1977 study done by the National Urban
Coalition found that "the most significantly impacted
segnent of society in neighborhood displacement is the
elderly irrespective of the size or location of the city,
and renters would be second.
Since displacement figures vary and are hard to get a real handle on at the national level and since disinvestment is still a leading cause of displacement in many cities it should become the responsibility of local governments to examine the impacts that private revitalization is having at the local level.
Two major issues of private revitalization are:
1) Displacement of existing lower income residents; with the broader scope of the problem being a lessening
of affordable housing for lower income residents within the city.
2) The social-community integration within a revitalizing area is another important issue. Conflicts between incumbent residents and newcomers often emerge.
Also a debate exists over whether true racial and class integration occurs in revitalizing neighborhoods.
A controversy exists over whether the federal government should he involved in generating public policies concerning displacement in revitalizing neighborhoods and if so, what their role should be.
.Arguments for Federal Involvement
The main argument given in support of Federally generated policies is that local decision makers will be reluctant to take any steps least they squelch any benefits that revitalization brings to their cities. Local officials have tried for years to fight furthur flight to the suburbs by the middle class and they would not want to stop any reversal of this trend. Another argument for federal policies is that local governments for fiscal reasons will not give the indigenous poor a very high priority. Some advocates for federal responsibility view displacement as being a product of a highly abnormal market and therefore the federal government should play a leadership role in addressing the problem of displacement.
Arguments Against Federal Involvement
The basic argument against federal policies and involvement in revitalizing neighborhoods stems from the concept that each city and neighborhood presents different types of situations and problems and therefore need different solutions. The solutions for one city or neighborhood may be vastly different than for another city or neighborhood, therefore the specifics of the policy design belong at the local level. Whether or not the process of private urban renewal will occur depends very much on local and regional conditions.
There also exists a fear that Federal programs or policies would be inappropriate and heavyhanded. Howard Sumka, a
critic of too much federal involvement, argues that casting anti-displacement tools indiscriminately into a sweeping national policy risks hurting more people than it helps.
In 1979 Congress required HUD to report on the nature and extent of housing displacement and to state a course of action to address the problem. In their first report entitled The Displacement Report, HUD reported on the nature and extent of housing displacement. According to the July 1981 issue of the National Clearinghouse for Legal Services, HUD's basic conclusions were:
1) few voluntary displacements are occurring ,2) proportionally few of all households moves are involuntary
3) displacement is a common, continual market process, not a new problem
4) private displacement accounts for most, 4/5 of all displacement
5) there is little government can do about private displacement.
6) a small and shrinking number of persons are publically displaced.
7) persons displaced by public action are well taken care of by existing relocation services.
8) displacees find comparable housing and are not hurt by displacement.
9) positive effects of revitalization cannot be accomplished without displacement and outweigh any harm done by displacement.
10) revitalization provides an opportunity for racial integration in gentrifying neighborhoods.55
In their Pinal Report on Displacement HUD's purpose was to state a course of action to address the problem of displacement, HUD stated that displacement "is a very serious problem in areas of our major cities and creates hardships for those who are affected" and also that "it is especially difficult for lower income families." Despite this admission they did not waiver
from the basic premise of their first report on the magnitude and seriousness of the displacement problem.
They concluded that the solution to the displacement problem rests with the availability of an adequate supply of decent affordable housing. Two of their recommendations for the Federal government were:
1) in order to provide incentives to cities to undertake activities that encourage revitalization in a responsible fashion, consideration should be given to allocation bonus set-asides of Section 8 or Section 312 authority in certain cases.*
2) Displacement remains essentially a local problem, the dimensions of which differ from city to city. In this regard HUD should offer increased technical assistance and counseling to cities. Nevertheless, HUD should also moniter more closely the performance of cities in housing and community development to insure thatgthe displacement problem is dealt with sensitively.
More recently a governmental Task Force called the Local Government Panel on Displacement Research released a Report that came to basically the same conclusions as the previous HUD publications. They concluded that because displacement affected 1% of the population annually that it was nationally a minimal problem. Their basic statement of the problem and solution was that displacement reflects a general shortage of affordable housing. The best solution they concluded was to stimulate the provision of more housing throughout the jurisdiction or even throughout the metro area. Anything short of
this long tezm solution they termed Band-Aid approaches.
Recent Efforts by HUD
HUD has undertaken some programs and actions directed at the problem of displacement these include:
1) undertaking a number of regulatory and other actions to ensure that HUD or HUD assisted programs and activities that might generate displacement provide appropriate levels of relocation assistance.
* Funding for these programs has been discontinued.
2) 12 local governments are utilizing HUD innovative Grants for creative projects designed to assist low and moderate income residents of revitalizing neighborhoods to remain in their communities.
3) HUD Technical Assistance funds used to develop local strategies for managing revitalization and minimizing displacement in several cities.
4) a number of antidisplaement counseling projects.
Amount of Federal Involvement Needed
Chester Hartmen, an author and urban planner, states that the
origins of HUD'S current position on private revitalization is
similar to those of 25 years ago during urban renewal, i.e.
it is too valuable a product in their view to be undermined by
excessive concern with the consequences of those in the way of 58A
Deborah Auger offers the following suggestions for more federal involvement:
1) greater federal resources must be committed to strengthen the hands of incumbent city residents to allow rehabilitation of their own neighborhood and more strictly target those programs currently available to meet the needs of less advantaged families in neighborhoods where middle class immigration is beginning to occur.
2) strict income ceilings must be placed on rehabilitation loan and grant programs initiated under CDGG to assure these funds will find their way into the hands of the most economically disadvantaged homeowners.
3) more rental susidies with priority to families faced with eviction as a result of government finance rehabilitation.
4) Federal policymakers must get out of the business of aiding middle-class newcomers to enter city neighborhoods. Federal interest in rehabilitating city housing stock and enhancing the tax status of localities must not be allowed to override the nation's committment to protecting the social and political interests of the poor.
Along very similar lines The National Legal Services urges that there is a need for the elimination of the incentives for investment and speculation in real estate that currently exist in federal and state income tax legislation. They claim that government plays a role indirectly and subtly in much of the displacement, by providing favorable financing, tax incentives, and other aids for private developers, infrastructures exist which assist private redevelopment and public projects which lead indirectly to displacement in adjacent neighborhoods. This is one of the reasons why they feel that the federal government can and should play a leadership role in addresssing the problem.^0
The author of this paper thinks that the Federal government should take a leadership role in malting sure that their programs are not directly or indirectly causing displacement and that they should continue their research and increase their efforts to provide counseling and technical assistence especially in those cities most directly effected by displacement. To expect more of the Federal government is unrealistic, especially under the current administration whose philosophy is to lessen federal regulations. The burden and challenge is going to be for the local officials and planners to take the initiative to attempt to balance reinvestment in such a way that will minimize displacement and conflicts. This may be extremely difficult in some cities, especially those that face abandonment of housing as their biggest form of displacement. The key will be to determine the problem early and choose the right comprehensive plan to guide the process.
CURTIS PARK AND BAKER NEIGHBORHOODS
A Brief History of the Curtis Park Neighborhood
Major residential growth away from the Central Business District
began after the flood of 1864. Since Denver's early growth
coincided with the height of the Victorian era it became one of
the countries most Victorian cities. Due to the Victorian
architecture found in the Curtis Park area it was awarded a
National Historic District designation in 1975. When it was
designated as a historic district the Curtis Park area was
comprised predominately of low and moderate income families,
the majority being Mexican Americans, some blacks and a few
Anglos and a few elderly Japanese Americans. Since 1975 the neighborhood's composition and appearance has changed these changes will be discussed in further detail in the next section of this paper.
Most of the Curtis Park Historic District was developed by the year 1887. Most of the expansion of the development took place between the late 1870's to the late 1880's.^ The area was first settled by the middle class with many predominate members of the community living in the neighborhood. The power elite shared the neighborhood with people of all kinds of backgrounds and occupations such as: blacksmiths, tailors, bank clerks, school teachers, grocers etc. These people were also considered middle class and were white, but they represented various ethnic groups and religions. Compared to other Denver neighborhoods Curtis Park was fairly well mixed.^
By the turn of the 19th century Capitol Hill (then called Brown's) Bluff) had become the place to live for the wealthy and predominate members of Denver. In 1898 very few people living outside of Capitol Hill were listed in the social register of
who was considered members of high society. Those who could afford to
moved from Curtis Park to Capitol Hill to improve their status.
Those considered less affluent moved into Curtis Park, hut it
was still considered a middle class neighborhood.
By the turn of this century blacks were moving into the Five Points area. The area designated as the Curtis Park Historic District remained ethnically the same, but represented a lower economic status then it had previously. During the depression before World War II the whites stronghold on the area declined due to the influx of Mexican Americans who had previously lived west of 23rd St. In 1940 the Japanese Americans began moving into the neighborhood. This group moved soon after the war when they possessed the means to do so. The Mexican Americans have remained in the area for several generations now. The most recent population influx to the area are presumed to be mostly the white middle class.^
A Brief History of the Baker Neighborhood
The Baker neighborhood is similar to Curtis Park in that it also contains many turn of the century Victorian homes. It is currently being considered for a National Historic District Designation. The Baker neighborhood,like Curtis Park, in its early days was occupied by prominent members of Denver such as mayors, doctors, dentists, business people and journalists.
Along with the three story mansions were also built modest working class structures. ^
The Baker neighborhood became part of Denver in 1883. The residential area of Baker was developed between the early 1880*3 and 1915. According to an article in the V/ashington Park Profile the Baker area originally became popular because transportation was good, cable lines ran along nearby Broadway. There was also a lovely mountain view, and the land was affordable. (Perhaps some of these same reasons could be used for why the resurgence and revitalization of Baker is occuring today.)
Recent construction in the Baker neighborhood has been limited
mostly to industrial development on the western edges and
public facilities in the center of the neighborhood to serve
the residential areas. Since 1970 housing units have been lost in Baker due to industrial development in the neighborhoods western edge and by commercial development adjacent to 70
Broadway. Both Curtis Park and Baker face the same problem of encroachment of the neighborhood by non-residential uses.
Prior to revitalization,-Baker like Curtis Park, had experienced physical deterioration of housing and the conversion of singlefamily houses to multi-family rental units by absentee landlords.
The sale prices and rents were low and there was an abundance
of housing opportunities. Due to public and private efforts
ironically Baker's major housing concerns today are the
potential of displacement of existing lower-income residents,
the loss of rental units and speculation driving up the prices
of rents and home sales.
The neighborhood group representing the Baker neighborhood
is the Organized Baker Residents which was formed in 1978
when several families foimulated concerns that needed to be
addressed particularly the increased speculation and displace-
ment in the neighborhood.
The following list are some of. the common indicators of gentrification and will he used in this research project as the basis for determining the extent of gentrification in Baker and Curtis Park;
increased sale price and activities (including speculative and multiple sales)
increased renovation activities
increased owner occupancy
decrease in renter occupancy
decrease in population
changes in demographics of neighborhood; racial, class, age, income, education level 7
Secondary data will be used to determine the extent of the above indicators. Additionally in this section will be an analysis of whether Curtis Park and Baker neighborhoods haved experienced common problems associated with gentrification. Also a comparision of these neighborhoods and other gentrifying neighborhoods nationwide will be made.
Statistics For The Revitalization Of The Baker Neighborhood
The Baker neighborhood has undergone many changes in the past
ten years. Many of these changes are directly or indirectly
related to the revitalization process which began approximately 72
around 1972. Statistics point out that indeed Baker has experienced revitalization accompanied by speculation and displacement. Some of the indexes of change include owner occupancy, renter occupancy, sales price, sales activity, conversions of rental property, and decrease in population. The following are some of the statistics that demonstate what changes have taken place in the Baker neighborhood.
The 1980 Census shows that the Baker neighborhood population has decreased by 19% since 1970. The population of Baker decreased 5.3% 'ibetween the I96 0 and the 1970 census years prior to the start of revitalization in Baker. The Spanish surname population may have decreased by as much as 35% since 1970, In 1977 the Denver Planning Office estimated the Spanish surnomed population of the Baker neighborhood to be 75.5% and the 1980 Census shows the Spanish surnamed population to be about 50%. The Spanish surnamed population in Baker is now at about the some level as it was during the 1970 Census, so it appears that the Spanish surnamed population in Baker has increased and then decreased quite dramatically in the ten years between census years. This, of course, is assuming that the Denver Planning Office estimate in 1977 was accurate.
The elderly population of Baker has also declined from 18.5% in 1970 to 13.7% of the population in 1980. ^ This decrease is especially significant because in the Baker neighborhood there
are t.wo buildings that were built to,:house senior citizens.
One building is the Hirshfield Towers which contains 250 units
and the other one is the Lutheran apartments which contains 118 units.^
U. S. Census Tract 21.00
BAKER SPANISH SURNAMED POPULATION
Young adults are indeed moving into the Baker neighborhood.
While every other age group experienced a loss between Census
years 1970 to 1980, the 25 to 34 age group increased*-a. dramatic 75
The median income for Baker did not rise significantly between 1970 and 1980. The median income for Baker in 1970 was $5,691 and by 1980 was $9,312 which represents an increase of 63.6% which closely compares to the 60.6% increase made in the median income for the City of Denver. The median income of Baker residents in. 1980 was considerably below the median income for Denver, which was $15,507*1^ This does not mean that gentrification is not taking place, but perhaps that the middle class influx is not yet large enough to offset the lower income figures.
Accompanying the loss of population in the Baker neighborhood
is a 15% loss of housing units between 1970 and 1980. There
was no significant loss in the overall.number of housing units
between I960 and 1970 prior to revitalization in the neighbor-77
hood. Single family units are, however, increasing, In.1980 there were 29% more single family units'in Baker than in 1970 Since no new construction of single family units took place between 1970 and 1980. It can, therefore, be assumed that the revitalization process in Baker has reversed an earlier trend of converting single family homes into multiunit apartments.
It appears that the Baker neighborhood may partially be losing housing units due to the reconversion of houses from multi-family units back to single family homes.
The percentage of homeowners in the Baker neighborhood is increasing, but the actual numbers of homeowners is declining
BAKER HOUSING UNITS
1960 ~ 1970 1980
U. S. Census Tract 21.00
*AKER POPULATION BY
0-4 5-9 10-14 1-5-19 20-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-59 60-64: 65-74 75+
U. S. CENSUS TRACT 21.00
slightly. The 1981 Denver Housing Report shows that 32% of Baker residents own the housing unit in which they reside.
The 1970 Census indicates that only 25% of Baker residents owned their homes while the 1980 Census shows that 28% owned their own home. These owner occupancy rates are below average for Denver which in 1980 had a 46% owner occupancy rate. While the percentage of homeownership is on the rise in the Baker neighborhood, the number of owner occupied units has declined slightly. The Denver Housing Report shows that the Baker neighborhood in 1980 had 2 less owner occupied units then when the 1970 Census was taken. The 1980 Census shows that the Baker neighborhood had 49 less owner occupied units compared to the 1970 Census. One explanation for this may be that some of the single family units were either being rented out or vacant (perhaps in the process of renovation) when the 1980 Census was taken.
The vacancy rate for the Baker neighborhood in 1980 was 10%
compared to 7% in 1970. The vacancy rate for the City of
Denver in 1980 was 7.1%. This is significant in that vacancy rates are often used to indicate the stability of a neighborhood.
Sale Prices and Activities
One key indicator of a revitalizing neighborhood is a sharp
increase in the price of housing. The Research Triangle Institute
found a rate of increase in price of housing in the Baker
neighborhood to be 443.8% from 1970 to 1979. The city's Consumer
Product Index for housing during this time period showed a 91%
increase. The 1980 Census also shows a substantial increase in the price of housing in the Baker neighborhood; a 334% increase since 1970. This represents an increase of about $32,000 per house. Along with these price increases has come speculative sales. The Research Triangle study found that 17% of the property sales in the Baker neighborhood from 1973 to
to 1979 were speculative. Their criteria for a speculative
sale was: a rapid turnover within a given time period, large
profits, and the absence of significant property rehabilitation
prior to property resale and the purchase of property with an
intent to make a large profit. In addition to the speculative
sales there were also multiple sales during that time period.
From 1973 to 1970.54% of,the properties in the neighborhood
experienced multiple sales.(sold more than once).
A Princeton study conducted in five cities has found that the Baker neighborhood experienced displacement of some of its residents during 1970. The study surveyed people who moved from a Baker address during 1979 and found that about 35% of the outmovers during that year were displaced. The nationwide average for outmovers who are displaced is only about 4 to 6%. The study further found that the majority of those displaced from a Baker address were Hispanic.^
OWNER AND RENTER OCCUPANCY IN BAKER
--- OWNER OCCUPANCY
U.S. CENSUS DATA
BAKER HOUSING PRICE INCREASE
Based on Research Triangle Institue Data
CURTIS PARK NEIGHBORHOOD
The Baker neighborhood is easier to analyze than Curtis Park because the Baker neighborhood is a complete Census tract while Curtis Park lies in portions of two Census Tracts (24.01 and 16.00 see map). This section will, therefore, first describe the change occuring in the general Curtis Park area which is part of a larger neighborhood known as Five Points. Then by using block data the changes that have taken place in the Curtis Park National Historic District will be examined.
Five Points and Curtis Park have experienced worse conditions and blight than the Baker neighborhood. In a report put out by the Denver Planning Office in 1970 the description of Five Points is that of a neighborhood that is blighted and one of Denvers poorest residential areas. They point out that the major problems of Five Points are indicated by virtually all physical, social and economic conditions measured in the neighborhood. The downward trend of most condition indicators during the 1960's was enough to suggest to the Planning Office that even more pervasive blight would occur in the 1970's.8^
In 1977 Five Points had the highest welfare recipient rate
and the third lowest median family income($4,207) in the city.8^
In 1970 the percentage of residents that were renters was 75%.
Also in 1970 the median education level was the lowest in the cityj only slightly above an elementary school level.8^
One of the most drastic changes that has impacted Five Points and Curtis Park in its recent history has been the continual decline in its population. From 1950 to 1980 there was a 6l.7% decline in the population in Census tract 16.00 which is the upper Five Points area. In the lower Five Points area, (Census tract 24.01) there was a 60.3% decline in population during the
FOR CENSUS TRACT I6.00
POPULATION BY AGE GROUP FOR CENSUS TRACT 16.00
same time period.88 Likewise the number of housing units has also declined, mostly due to the encroachment by the downtown commercial area. Since 1950 Census tract 16,00 has lost 48% of its housing units and Census 24.01 has lost 31.8% since 196 O.8^ The 1980 Census shows that this trend of population decline has slowed somewhat during the 1970s particularly in the upper Five Points area (tract 16.00). This area only experienced a 8.5% decline in housing units. The lower Five Points area.(tract 24.01) had a somewhat more significant decline in housing units and lost 24% from 1970 to 1980.
Other problems: have also faced Curtis Park and Five Points in the late 60's and the early 70's. One major problem which still faces the neighborhood is conflicting land uses. Its location makes it vulnerable to pressures from a number of potential and real encroachments such as parking lots and commercial developments."^
The deteriorating physical and environmental conditions is another problem that has faced the Eastside, because it is one of the oldest built-up areas in Denver. The oldest housing has been directed (in the past) to provide shelter for the low to moderate income families. According to the Eastside Summary of Conditions and Neighborhood Improvement Plan prepared by the Planning Office- Community Renewal Program the problem is that as housing units are converted from single to multifamily occupancy and as the housing stock changes from owner to renter occupancy additional pressures increase the tendency towards delapidation and blight."The combination of delapidated housing and a poorly maintained environment gives the Eastside a truly deteriorated effect."^1 This trend appears to be reversing itself in parts of the Eastside where revitalization is taking place. Many of the blocks in Curtis Park in 1972 had between 20 to 50% of the buildings showing major exterior structural defects. Today upon walking through the neighborhood few buildings can be seen that fit that description.
HOUSING UNITS FOR
1950 data not available for tract 24.01
CENSUS TRACTS I6.00 a 24.01
---- CENSUS TRACT 16.00
---- CENSUS TRACT 24.01
A study done by the Research Triangle Institute found that 51.5% of the properties in the combined area of City Park West, Whittier and Five Points were rehabilitated between 1970 and 1979. Also the price of a single family house increased 314.9% in this area from 1970 to 1979.92 These seem to be indicators that indeed the areas physical condition is improving. Accompanying that improvement are signs of speculation in the area.
The Research Triangle study shows that this East side area between
1973 and 1979 saw a 22% rate of speculation for single family
property sales and had a 52.3% rate of multiple sales.
Another ..sign of revitalization of the neighborhood is that both Census tracts (16.00 and 24.01) showed slight increases in the owner occupancy rates and a slight decline in the rental occupancy rate according to the 1980 Census.
"Gentrifiers are usually young professionals between the ages of 25 to 34*^ In both Census tracts (16,00 and 24.01) this age group represents the largest segment of the population. Between 1970 and 1980 there was a large decrease in the population of those 19 years of age and younger, perhaps indicating a decline of families with children in these two Census tracts.
Two other demographic indicators of a gentrifying neighborhood that did not significantly change,according to Census tract information, are the median income and a change in the ethnic composition of the neighborhood. In 1970 Curtis Park and Five Points were predominately-black and Spanish surnamed and the 1980 Census shows that the two Census tracts (16.00 and 24.01) .were still comprised predominately Spanish surnamed and black residents ( See chart).
SINGLE FAMILY HOUSE PRICE INCREASE 1970-1979
Based on Research Triangle Institute Dat
** Jefferson Park was the control neighborhood used in the study
POPULATION BY AGE GROUP FOR CENSUS TRACT 24.01
(U.S. CENSUS) (DPC ESTIMATE)(U.S. CENSUS) (U.S. CENSUS) (DPO ESTIMATE) (U.S. CENSUS)
The median incomes for both Census tracts did not significantly increase and both are way below the city's median income which in 1980 was $15,507. Census tract 16.00, with a median income of $5,896, had a 66% increase over 1970. This increase was slightly higher than the city's median income increase of 60.6%, Census tract 24.01, however, was way below the city's average increase and only increased by 16% giving them a median income, in the 1980 Census, of only $4,917. Due to the public housing in the area it will take time before the revitalization of Curtis Park will have an effect on the median income for these two Census areas. When more block data becomes available it will be possible to examine the median income of just those blocks included in the Curtis Park Historic District. Some block data, however, is available from the 1980 Census and the next part of this section will examine what is happening within this subarea of the larger Census tracts.
' J >
CURTIS PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT
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Indicators of Revitalization In the Curtis Park Historic District
A 23 block area, in which the Historic District is contained, will be examined. The following map indicates which blocks are to be included in this examination:
Indicates areas that are not included in the Historic District, but are included in the 23 block analysis.
Examining the Census block data shows that some of the same patterns of change have emerged in the Curtis Park Historic District that are evident in the Baker neighborhood. One of the most significant figures proving that revitalization took place is that the price of housing jumped 500% from the
1970 Census tolthe 1980 Census. Within the Curtis Park Historic District the percentage of homeowners increased from 19.6% to
29% between the Census years. Like the Baker neighborhood these iigures fall far below the city's average of homeownership which was 46.7% in 1980. The percentage of renters decreased
as did rental units. The percentage of renters fell from 70.4%
in 1970 to 49.2% in 1980. The number of single family units
increase considerably,at an even larger rate than did the number
of owner occupied units. The number of single family homes
increased by 48% from 1970 to 1980. Like the Baker neighborhood no new construction of single family homes took place in the area during that time. This situation closely parallels
the changes that have taken place in the Baker neighborhood; multiunit structures have been converted back to their original use, which was single family units. The rate of conversion, as in Baker, seems to be greater than the rate of increase of owner occupancy.
Another trend similar to the Baker neighborhood is the rise in the vacancy rate between 1970 and 1980. The Curtis Park Historic Districts vacancy rate rose from 9% in 1970 to close to 22% in 1980. The average rate of vacancy for Denver in 1980 was 7.1%. ^ The vacancy rate of a neighborhood is
often associated with the stability of that neighborhood.
Perhaps one explanation could be that the revitalizing units are the ones that were vacant when the 1980 Census was taken.
The vacancy rate may also be high due to several abandoned and burned down multi-unit structures in the Curtis Park area.
A population loss of 36.5% was experienced between 1970 and 1980. This is not extremely large considering the pattern of population losses the neighborhood has experienced since 1950. The Historic District also lost 269 housing units between 1970 and 1980, this represents a'25% loss of units for this area.
In 1980 the 23 block area of the Curtis Park Historic District showed that 15% of the population was white -and-others, which compares closely to the percentage of whites in Census tracts
16.00 and 24.01 in 1980. The 23 block area in 1980 was comprised of 75% Spanish surnamed, 1% black and 3% Asian and Pacific Islander this represents a 85% minority population. Despite revitalization in the neighborhood, whites still represented a very small portion of the population.in 1980. Ellen Zeitz says that in revitalizing nighborhoodsl.'more white people may be coming into the area, but they may remain a minority in the overall Census Tract for some time." However, after examining those blocks most likely to be gentrifying, the white population in 1980 was still relatively minor. The absence of large numbers of whites in the Historic District may partially be attributed.to special programs that have been available in the District to enable low and moderate income homeowners to renovate their properties. These programs had stipulations that the residents must live in their houses for several years. Now that the time limit has passed on many of these renovated houses it appears that many of them are now on the market to be sold. It remains to be seen if a white influx will now increase.
Some displacement may be taking place in Curtis Park due to the fact that many multi-family housing units are being converted back to single family houses. Although Curtis Park has undergone major amounts of revitalization, it is by no means completely revitalized. Many structures remain abandoned, especially those that have experienced fires. Recent observations indicate that Curtis Park may be undergoing another stage of revitalization in that several previously abandoned multi-unit apartment-structures are now being renovated. Prior to this most of the revitalization activity had been primarily limited to single family houses.
Curtis Park and Five Points before revitalization were considered to be one of the most blighted areas in Denver. This reputation
RACIAL POPULATION OF CURTIS PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT
WHITE BLACK SPANISH SURNAMED ASIAN
U. S. CENSUS BLOCK DATA
remains with the neighborhood today despite any revitalization
that has taken place. A study conducted in 1980 for the
Denver Housing Authority found that of those downtown workers
that wanted to move downtown or to a city neighborhood few
chose Curtis Park and Five Points as one of their choices.
Only 2.5% chose Curtis Park and Five Points as either their
first or second choice, while 65.7% of those surveyed indicated
that this area was an unacceptable place for them to live.
It appears that even after revitalizing, Curtis Park is not perceived as a desirable place to live.by many. downtown workers.
The following charts consist of three separate authors conclusions on what characteristics determine whether an area is likely to he gentrified. Curtis Park and Baker have been rated;.as to whether they fit the above authors' criteria.
Phillip Clay, Neighborhood Renewal
Areas less likely to revitalize spontaneously
A- Neighborhoods that have a substantial number of large multi-family housing structures especially public housing, or those that are publically assisted. B. Neighborhoods in unattractive locations i.e. victims of pollution, industrial or certain commercial encroachment. C. Areas with very mixed incompatible uses. D. Areas with structures not suited to the life styles of current housing consumers either upgrader or gentry
CURTIS PARK Yes Yes Yes ho
BAKER ho o ho ho
Michael Langy Gentrification Amid Urban Decline
Areas most likely to be chosen for revitalizing:
Good amenities such as parks and vistas. Good ambiance such as markets and craft shops. Good architecture Safety Centrality good transport linkage Adequate parking Adequate vacancy rates
Curtis Park (?) NO YES NO YES YES YES
Baker (?) YES (Broadway Revit.) YES NO YES YES YES
ELLEN ZEITZ, PRIVATE URBAN RENEWAL
CHARACTERISTICS THAT EXISTS PQR PRIVATE REVITALIZATIOR: -
Solid housing stock City with capacity to employ professional and/ or managerial population Absentee ownership Tight housing market
Curtis Park Yes Yes
Baker Yes Yes
Land Use Control by Gentrifiers
A common charateristic of a gentrifying neighborhood is their attempts to control the land use in and around the neighborhood.
An article titled "Urban Policy and Planning in the Wake of Gentrification-Anticipating Renovators" by Laslca and Spain, mentions that "in addition to displacing the traditional residents from their homes, another negative effect of gentrification may be the reduction of commercial and industrial land use".
In New Orleans, ['for example, two rezoning plans for,neighborhoods with considerable renovation,have been passed by the city council. Both plans specify the reduction of commercial and industrialiland use and the increase of low density residential use.^ Ellen Zeitz also alludes to this in her fourth step of the prototype revitalization of a neighborhhood. The fourth phase is the acheivement of local control over zoning decisions and/or historical preservation status by area property owners'!'00In an article titled "The Politics of Revitalization in Gentrifying Neighborhoods-The Case of Bostons South End",Deborah A. Auger points out that the more affluent newcomers who are concerned with their personal security and the protection of their financial interests have a contrary set of values<..and goals
from the existing low income community and this difference often
leads to conflict between the two groups. Also in her article Auger points out that low income housing is an issue that has caused a lot of conflict and controversy in Bostons South End.
There are,:,some indications that conflict over land use is emerging in Baker and Curtis Park. Last year the Curtis Park Block Council sought a downzoning to prevent apartment hi-rises in the neighborhood. They succeeded in downzoning a ten block area,to a R-2 zoning. Bitter conflict and polarization ensued over the controversy of this Curtis Park downzoning. The Curtis Park Block Council viewed the downzoning as a means of preserving
the current residental character of the neighborhood. Concerned Citizen's Congress of Northeast Denver, representing the rights of the poorer residents, viewed the downzoning as furthuring gentrification and displacement in the neighborhood.10'' The City Council urged.the two groups to meet and formulate some sort of compromise, which they were unable to do.
Besides the Historic Preservation Designation and the downzoning, Curtis Park Block Council also attempted to stop Mountain Bell from building a 31,500 square-foot switching station, which was eventually constructed at 25th and Curtis Street. A March 18, 1982 issue of the Downtowner reported that, ^Conflict is building between active and concerned homeowners revitalizing Denver's core city neighborhoods, close to downtown's business boom." The article stated that the Block Council's reason for fighting Mt. Bell was because they felt that the land could have housed six families and they are working to cultivate new residents so they can attract some of life's basic necessities, such as supermarkets. Additionally
they felt that a large brick cube would stick out like a sore
thumb among Curtis Park's vintage Victorian Homes. It
seems ironic that the neighborhood group is interested in increasing the density oflthe neighborhood to attract supermarkets, but yet sought a downzoning.
A disagreement over land use has also emerged in the Baker neighborhood over proposed low income housing. Some residents of the Baker neighborhood were upset over the possible development of low-income condos and townhouses proposed for a location at West Byers and Bannock. They felt that low-income housing "could threaten the upward swing of the. neighborhood", while others in the neighborhood felt that the developer would be very sensitive to feelings of the area as indicated by his commitment to affordable housing at a lower density than was allowed.10^ The neighborhood group in Baker, Organized Baker Residents, remained neutral on the issue however.
Phillip Clay,in his studies, found that in a few instances
neighborhood organizations formed by newcomers have complemented
efforts of1 organizations representing incumbents to improve
housing for low-income people in the neighborhood or nearby areas.
In most cases, however, the gentry have actively opposed efforts
to improve or expand housing for low and moderate-income families.
Thirty four percent of the neighborhoods he studied reported
significant conflict between new residents or their organizations
and incumbents and their organizations. The Curtis Park
Block Council has been active in securing funds to help low-income homeowners rehabilitate their homes. However, in light of the Curtis Park downzoning and the conflict in Baker over the;low income housing issue, sland use conflicts do exist in these neighborhoods.
SUMMARY OF EFFECTS
Summary of the Signs and Effects of Revitalization and Gentrification in Baker and Curtis Park
The most quantifiable indicator of revitalization in both neighborhoods is the large increase in housing prices. The amount of renovation of housing is another strong indication that revitalization is taking place in both neighborhoods. An increase in the number of single family units is an additional sign of revitalization occuring in these neighborhoods. In the Baker neighborhood there was a significant loss of housing units, which may be contributed to the conversion of multifamily units back to single family homes. Curtis Park also experienced a loss in housing units, however, this loss may not all be the result of gentrification in light of the continual loss of population and housing that this neighborhoood has experienced over the last several decades.
The age group distribution in these neighborhoods may also be an indication that gentrification is occuring. The most likely gentrifying age group is the 24 to 35 year olds and this group has maintained a stronghold or increased, while most other age groups showed a decline between 1970 and 1900,
No conclusive signs of decreasing ethnic groups in these neighborhoods can be drawn by comparing Census years 1970 and 1980. However, if the Denver Planning Offices estimate of the Hispanic population in the Baker neighborhood in 1977 is accurate, Baker has experienced a dramatic increase and then a dramatic decline in its Hispanic population. It is very possible that some of Baker's Hispanic population has been displaced, especially in light of the finding by the Princeton study which found that most of the outmovers who
were displaced in 1979 were Hispanic.
The median income of both neighborhoods had not changed signif-cantly by the time the 1980 Census was taken. Both neighborhoods remained below the citywide figure for median income. It is very possible that areas within the neighborhoods have experienced an increase, but that it is not yet enough to influence the overall median income for the Census tracts.
One common impact of gentrification is the development of factions within,':' the neighborhood between incumbents and newcomers. Often disagreements over land uses for the neighborhood occur. Signs of this occuring are apparent in both Curtis Park and Baker neighborhoods. Displacement another side-effect associated with gentrifying neighborhoods is evident in the Baker neighborhood. The loss of Baker's population of elderly should be further examined to determine whether it has been caused by gentrification.
Even though all the signs of gentrification and private revitalization are not yet apparent in these neighborhoods, enough evidence exists to conclude that the processes of private revitalization are indeed occuring. Phillip Clay observes that of those revitalizing neighborhoods that he is aware of none have reversed the process once it has begun.With this in mind planning for these areas seems essential to guide the process of revitalization in these neighborhoods to minimize the effects that it may have on low- income residents in the city.
In order to put into perspective the reinvestment and gentrification process in Baker and Curtis Park a general understanding of the factors involved city wide is needed.
Two main forces are occuring to promote private reinvestment
near and in downtown Denver. The office boom is having a
direct effect on the demand for close-in housing by downtown
office workers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Denver
had 15 million square feet of office space under construction
last year.10^ The other force occuring in Denver is a changing
attitude by downtown workers towards wanting to live in or
near downtown Denver. Findings,of a study conducted for the
Denver Housing Authority,shows that in 1981 the estimated
demand for downtown housing by employees working downtown was
3,878 units. The total demand among employees seeking new
housing in the City and County of Denver was estimated to be
14,192. By 1985 this figure is expected to rise to 20,293 unit
for Denver and 5,545 for downtown Denver, The most popular
type of housing choices are townhouses, detached houses or
highrises, but for those interested in city neighborhoods
detached houses are still preferred. Of the sample
of downtown workers surveyed 47% reported that they are
planning on moving within the next five years, of those
26.6% wanted to live in a Denver city neighborhood, 10%
want to live Mdowntown" and 6.9% want to live in either
a city neighborhood or downtown.
The majority of downtown employees are white, under 35 years of age and have household incomes exceeding $30,000 a year.1111 This group could be considered a prime gentrifying population.
The people surveyed expected to pay $10,000 less for Downtown housing and about $7,000 less for city neighborhood housing as compared to what they expected to pay for suburban housing.111
One significant finding'-of the Denver Housing Authority study was that Denver residents appear to he psychologically open to changing their residential location as well as their dwelling units. It appears that Denver residents move more from one neighborhood to another than in other parts of the country. Of those who want to move' downtown or to a city neighborhood the most popular choice is Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill, was picked by 30%, followed by "an area close to the CBD", which was chosen by 20$. Highlands neighborhood was another popular area with 17.5% choosing that neighborhood, followed by Jefferson Park which was chosen by 9.6% and Lincoln Park chosen by 6.5%. The Curtis Park/Five Points area was favored by only 2.5% tand was rated as the most unacceptable place to live. (Baker was not included in the survey).
According to the Denver Housing Report, r.as a whole the most unacceptalbe location for housing were those areas that have been asssociated with low-income and transient residential population, such as Five Points, North Capitol Hill and Lincoln Park.113
It appears that the image of downtown housing and the image of city neighborhoods is an important factor, especially considering that Denver residents are open to moving from one neighborhood to another. It is possible that once gentrification and renovation of neighborhoods becomes more widespread that even more downtown workers may be attracted to downtown and city neighborhoods. Even if this does not happen the estimated demand for 20,293 units by 1985 for Denver will put a strain on the city neighborhood housing market, especially since detached housing is prefered by those wanting to live in a city neighborhood. Unless Denver acts rapidly to accomodate this anticipated demand it seems inevitable that the low and moderate and even the lower middle class will be in competition for housing with the middle and upper classes.
In addition to gentrification, low and moderate income units
are also being lost to demolition and from conversions of
apartments to offices. In 1981 and 1982lthere were /'54 units
of residential hotels closed or demolished. Many fixed income
elderly residents were effected by these closures. Also during
these two years there were 901 units from multifamily structures
that were demolished and an additional 230 units converted to
office space. Totally these closures, demolitions and conver-
sions represent a loss of 1,882 unit3 in less than two years.
Rental units in Denver have also been lost by conversions to condominiums. A 1980 study done by HUD shows that in Denver 8.8% of rental housing had been converted to condominiums, making Denver the leader in the nation in conversions of those cities studied.11^ In 1979 alone 8,000 units were converted. In 1982, however, only 200 units were expected to be converted. The reason for the slump in conversions is believed to be a reflection of the real estate market in general. Janet Scarvo, who is a Denver real estate broker and a leading local authority on condominiums, predicts that once interest rates come down "you're going to see a wave of conversions like we've never seen before."11^
All these factors: conversions of rental units to offices and condominiums, demolitions of rental units and residential hotels and the conversion of multifamily housing units back to single family units puts a strain on an already tight rental market in Denver. A recent article in,the Denver Post reported
that Denver is currently ranked fourth in the nation for high rents. 117
Spiraling Housing Costs
Spiraling housing costs is the single most obvious sign of revitalization and gentrification in Baker and Curtis Park,
neighborhoods. Phillip Clay claims that the competitive
position of the central city versus the suburbs for the
middle class could be altered when city housing (with
poorer services) cost more than suburban housing.
The cost of city housing may already exceed that of
the surrounding suburbs in Denver. According to a
fact sheet put out by the League of Women Voters of Denver,
the average price of a home in the Denver Metro area in
September 1980 was $78,348 while in the City and County
of Denver the average price was $82,247. The
Denver Housing Authority report showed that the people
that wanted to move close to downtown expect to pay less
for their housing than in the suburbs. The economic
edge that the city once had to attract the younger middle
class may soon be gone if it is not already. Phillip
Clay predicts that rapid price increases lead to the
displacement not only of low-income families but event-
ually of young lower middle class as well.
The Denver office boom along with changing attitudes about living in the inner city is producing an increased demand for close-in housing in Denver. Many downtown workers would prefer detached housing in inner city neighborhoods, which suggests that the potential for more extensive gentrification of inner city neighborhoods exists. The existing housing stock in the inner city neighborhoods will most likely be in high demand which will cause further price increases for these housing units. It seems imperative that Denver increase its efforts to provide more housing in the inner city of Denver. Housing that will be affordable to all income ranges not just upper income groups.
In the Denver Displacement Report of 1979, the City Council Administration Committee recommended increasing the supply of housing as one of the strategies for combating displacement. This strategy must be continually promoted in the future. The role of this strategy is two-fold,one objective is to increase the amount of low and moderate-cost housing in order to provide affordable replacement housing available for those low and moderate income households which are displaced. The other objective is to provide new housing for middle and upper income households in order to temper the demantd for
existing housing occupied by low and moderate-income 122
households. In light of the Denver Housing Authority
study, this latter objective seems imperative. The
Pinal Report to Congress also emphasizes the need for
increasing the supply of housing as a means of combating
displacement and that anything short of that would be
a Band-Aid approach to the problem.
An article in the January issue of "Planning" points out
that "housing in downtown Denver has been a failure,
partly because people have been reluctant to live there,
partly because the Denver Urban Renewal Authority has
chosen to spend its tax dollars on high-rise luxury
condominiums that have sold poorly. Many downtown
employees are open to living downtown so the type and price of housing seem to be a more important factor than the reluctance of people to move downtown.
Some positive steps may be developing for the provision
of some of this needed housing. Richard Fleming,of the
Denver Partnership sponsored a two-day "housing retreat"
which addressed the issue of the lack of low and middle
income housing downtown. Iiis solution which others in
the retreat supported is to use the $15 million left
over from the Skyline Renewal Area to create incentives
for the private sector.
Besides the provision of additional housing there exist numerous other approaches to preventing displacement,one such approach is through the use of regulations formulated at the local level. The Denver Displacement Report in 1979 was not very supportive of regulatory approaches and only recommended one regulation to be used at that time.
The regulation they recommended was the removal of parking as a use-by right in the R-4 zone. The following are description of other regulatory measures that were not recommended at the time of the Displacement Report.
An anti-speculation tax could help control realtor speculation in revitalizing neighborhoods. At the present time only one city has such an ordinance and that is Washington D. C. Many other cities have proposed anti-speculation ordinances, but they have failed to pass. The purpose of an anti-speculation tax is to provide disincentive for the rapid turn-around investment, which may involve displacement of resident tenants and increase home sales prices. It would discourage the investment in housing futures as a commodity.
One model for speculation regulation is one that was proposed for Santa Cruz,California. It entailed using a variable tax rate on properties sold depending on how long Lho property was hold.and after four years the tax would not be applied. The first year the property was held the tax on* the sale would be 29% of the total sale price. The rate would drop to 18% after 3 years. Anytime during this four year period the owner is allowed to sell his house at a non-speculative rate, which they defined as a 3% increase annually. The proposal also had a built-in hardship appeal
for owners. Owners could present their appeals to an appeals board for such hardships as relocation due to employment, marital status change, etc.
Another recent proposal for anti-speculation regulation was
a proposal in San Fransico, California which also failed to
pass. This model would have taxed the profit for a sale
during the first year at a rate of 80% and by the fourth and
fifth year the tax on the profit from a resale would have
been 15%. An exemption was included for the costs of any
improvements made on the property.
The Denver Displacement Report did not explain why this measure was not recommended at the time of the report.
Two reasons may be the political feasibility of the regulation and the weak legislative stance the proposal may have if passed at the local level. If the above two obstacles could be overcome, the author of this paper feels that an antispeculation regulation could be a very powerful tool in curbing dramatic price increases in Denver's revitalizing neighborhoods. Perhaps the revenue made from such a tax could be earmarked for programs which would enable low-income residents to remain in gentrifying neighborhoods.
Rent control laws are established in order to set limits on rent increases, which v/ould protect tenants from arbitrary and massive rent increase These type of rent increases are often experienced in gentrifying neighborhoods. The Denver Displacement Report did not recommend rent controls for several reasons. The presumption that rent controls in New York City were a primary cause of abandonment and an inducement to defer maintenance was one reason given for not recommending rent controls for Denver. Another reason given
was the fear that a rent control law would increase the number
of conversions of rental units to condominiums. The general
conclusion of the Denver Displacement Report was that conditions
in Denver at that time did not warrant such drastic action.
The Denver Displacement Report's claim that rent controls have caused abandonment and deferred maintenance in New York City may be unfounded. The Women's City Club of New York concluded that,"rent control did not emerge as a reason for abandonment". New York City is fifth in the nation for abandonment but is behind four cities without rent control.
The Temporary State Commision on Housing and Rents in New York City found that,"Rent Control can have little effect (on the abandonment rates), for it is clear that it is the oldest least desirable tenement housing which is abandoned housing which is unable to produce substantially more in a free market". Additionally, a doctoral dissertation on Brookline, Massacusetts found that the percentage of rent dollars spent on maintenance actually increased after rent control. Also in Cambridge, Lynn, Somerville and Brookline, Massacusetts data shows that permits for alterations, additions and repairs actually increased considerably after the adoption of rent contro il? Rent control ordinances do allow for a reasonable rate of return on investment and a pass through of the cost of necessary and reasonable maintenance and capital improvements. Currently abandonment of housing is not a major problem in Denver, so it may be inaccurate to assume that it would emerge as a problem if rent controls were used.
Another expressed concern with the use of rent controls was the possibility of increased condo conversions. An increase in condo conversions could be averted by the use of condominium conversion regulations.
According to the 1980 Census information Curtis Park and Baker
neighborhoods both have reasonable and low rental rates.
In the future if the neighborhoods continue the revitalization process rental units will most likely increase also.
Rent controls may be a useful tool in the future for these neighborhoods.
Anti-demolition ordinances are designed to protect low and moderate income housing. One example of an anti- demolition ordinance is that adopted by Berkeley, California and is titled the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance. This ordinance requires that a developer who demolishs an apartment building replace at least 1/4 oÂ£^he units destroyed with low and moderate income housing. Another anti-demolition ordinance is in Santa Monica, California where they use an elected rent control board to determine whether a demolition permit will be issued. The criteria for issuance is if:
- the unit is not occupied by low or moderate-income tenants.
- the rent level is beyond that which can be afforded by low or moderate income tenants.
- removal of the unit will not adversely affect the supply of rental housing.
- the landlord cannot make a fair return on investment.
Exemptions are made if the affected units are uninhabitable or
if new rental housing units will be built with at least 15%
of the units being affordable to low-income tenants.
The Organization for Midtown Neighborhood Improvement, a
neighborhood organization that represents the North Capital
Hill area, is currently trying to amend the R-4 zoning to
protect the housing in their neighborhood. One of the
possibilities they are proposing is a ban on the demolition
of housing in the R-4 area. Perhaps a more appropriate
comprehensive approach would be to pass an ordinance such
as the one used, in Santa Monica,for all of Denver's residential zones. An anti-eviction ordinance was not recommended by the Displacement Report because of the questionable legislative validity and because it was thought that such a proposal would have to rely on inadequate, often dated information and therefore it would be difficult to measure an "emergency trigger" for when the ordinance should be inacte i?4 The Denver Planning Office puts out a Housing Study for Denver every year and the Denver Regional Council of Government periodically does studies on the vacancy rates in and around the city, therefore it does not seem that it should be that difficult to determine when such an ordinance should be inacted.
The validity of such an ordinance is defensible when an emergency situation exists. It is too bad that this ordinance can not be used to prevent an emergency situation in low and moderate income housing.
The Denver Displacement Report offered no reasons for not recommending the regulatory approach of requiring applications for the conversions of rental units to condominiums.
This regulation would be one way to enable cities to limit the number of conversions when the situation deems it nec-assary. Since the Displacement Report, however, Denver has taken a measure to control condo conversions. Denver tried a moratorium on conversions in the City and County of Denver for a period of 120 days. At the present time the rate of conversions in Denver does not seem to warrant any action, but if there is an upswing in conversions due to lower interest rates, Denver should be prepared to take furthur actions. Currently,condomium conversions are not a problem in either Curtis Park or the Baker neighborhood, but it is possible that with furthur gentrification it might become one.
Denver may be reluctant to adopt any local regulations in
the absence of substantive state legislation addressing
tenant or consumer protection issues. However, in a Denver
Regional Council of Government report on "Condominium
Conversions in the Denver Region", it was stated that by
tying conversion controls to vacancy rates, etc. controls
may be defended on the grounds that the local comprehensive
plan seeks to provide for an adequate mix of housing types
and prices and that the mix may be thrown out of balance
by uncontrolled conversion activity. According to Displacement How to Fight It, there have been relatively few legal challenges to ordinances regulating condo conversions, but they predict that attacks will probably increase
as stricter control measures are passed.'
Summary of Regulations
Anti-speculation taxes, condominium controls, anti-demolition controls and rent controls are just a few of the regulatory approaches that cities can and are adopting to minimize displacement and the lessening of low and moderate income housing. The intent of this research project was to examine the phenomenon of revitalization and gentrification in two Denver neighborhoods and to make recommendations for guiding the process of revitalization to lessen its impacts in these tv/o neighborhoods. There are some actions that can be initiated at the neighborhood level, but as was explained earliar in this section, there are strong forces occurring in Denver that seem beyond control at the neighborhood level. One example of a grass roots neighborhood effort that failed was in the Baker neighborhood. Early in Baker's revitalization process a neighborhood organization was formed. One of the first actions of this group was to encourage resident homeowners to place "This House Hot Dor Sale" signs in their windows in an effort to curtail speculation in the neighborhood. With the ov/ner occupancy rate below average, this effort was simply not strong enough to stop speculation and
displacement in the neighborhood. A comprehensive citywide approach is needed in order to guide the process of revitalization in Denver. The following are some comprehensive approaches that have been suggested.
Rolf Goetz, author of Understanding Neighborhood Change, suggests a comprehensive policy which includes many sensible components for guiding the reinvestment process. His major theme is to spread the new housing demand around to weaker neighborhoods, in order to prevent what he calls "golden ghettos of Super-Haves". Dispersing the demand would serve to help prevent speculation that results in the coming of the Super-Haves into a neighborhood. Gentrification produces the most displacement when it is concentrated in certain areas, therefore, Clay states that if reinvestment is distributed around to other neighborhoods the negative impacts will be lessened and more neighborhoods will benefit from the positive aspects of reinvestment. Goetz suggests that v/ays need to be found to booster the confidence and positive feelings of the"weaker urban neighborhoods" to encourage further investment by homeowners. Accompanying this strategy,he states, should be programs that enable existing residents to remain if they wish, "in ways that are equitable but will not break the federal treasury". If a neighborhood has a bad reputation few people will want to move there, so Goetz proposes the advertising or marketing of neighborhoods as desirable places to live.
Additionally,Goetz proposes the need for the development of fair measures to tax windfalls in housing appreciation and to reward long term resident ownership and also develop better investments for risk capital than speculating in scarce existing housing stock. Goetz also states that, "public policy must become sensitive and countervailing to neighborhood dynamics, increasing demand when it is weak and areas are declining and cooling it where markets are rising, resulting
in dislocation and speculation.
Dennis McGrath wrote an article,for the Planning Journal,on
decentralization of investment. In the article, McGrath
supported Goetz's theory about the diffusion of investment,
he states that this approach is needed to form a "predictable
and nondisruptive form of change'". McGrath states that the
citywide goal should be one of a balancing process of reinvest
ment which would match the demand to the existing housing
supply without overloading one particular neighborhood. Like
Goetz, he states, that there are neighborhoods that the
affluent will never be attracted to. McGrath says that other
"nonmarket approaches" will be required for those neighborhood
so that they can be "brought into the orbit of growth through
A more complete comprehensive approach was proposed by Phillip Clay. Clay has some sensible ideas about promoting and managing reinvestment so as to minimize or prevent displacement. He divides the planning and managing of the reinvestment proces to minimize displacement into a four step process:
1) the analysis of urban and neighborhood housing markets relative to reinvestment activities.
2) the classification of neighborhoods by type of reinvestment policy needs.
3) the identification of reinvestment goals for each neighborhood.
4) the selection of tools for reinvestment management.
The purpose of Clays plan is to give local actors the opportunity to guide the process of where reinvestment takes place rather than leaving it up to market forces. His ideas,in this manner, are similar to those of Goetz and Dennis.
There are two general sets of goals that Clay describes for managing the reinvestment process. The first type is assisting or protecting particular types of households that reside in the reinvestment or prospective reinvestment neighborhoods. The second set of goals concerns shaping the market and the political and economic context within which reinvestment takes place.
Clay lists four types of households that need protecting. The first group are present homeowners. To preserve this group Clay suggests that some efforts are needed to make sure that the ownership position is protected against price and tax increases. The second group are the low and moderate-income renters who may want to remain in the neighborhood. The third group is the low and moderate income tenants who want to become homeowners. The last group he mentions are the "special groups", which includes the elderly renters, transients, large families and groups that have been discriminated against, such as blacks.
Clay's goal of changing market dynamics include dispersing demand, increasing or stabilizing the supply of low or moderate cost housing or supporting the entry of new actors (community groups) into the reinvestment process. His reasoning for dispersing demand are similar to that of Rolf Goetz and Dennis McGrath, Clay states that when the middle-class move into vacant units or rehabilitate units that have been abandoned, displacement may .not be as serious as when the middle class infiltrates one area in a short period of time.
Clay's goal of increasing or stabilizing the supply of low or moderate cost housing would include such measures as; replacing housing for those units that are upgraded to become high cost units, new construction, regulation of condominium conversions, subsidization of rehabilitation for abandoned units, a sensitive and careful application of rent control to stabilize the supply of low and moderate cost housing by limiting rent increases in unimproved units.
The third goal of involving additional actors, Clay claims is important because the actors involved in the private reinvestment process have been mainly individual owner occupants or small developers who cater to middle class clientele and have no incentive to rehabilitate units for low and moderate income households. The tools that Phillip Clay suggests for this goal are:
1) contract with established organizations to do counseling.
2) support development of Neighborhood Housing Services.
3) designate neighborhood groups to develop housing including cooperative housing in city-owned properties.
4) require "urban impact" on all developments of 4 or more units and give neighborhood groups standing to challenge proposals (leading to negotiations between developers and neighborhoods .
5) develop a role for the states in urban reinvestment (secondary mortgages, below market loans, etc.).
The final planning step, that Clay proposes, is the selection
of appropriate tools and the design of strategies to acheive
the goals selected. Clay states that by the careful use
of existing regulatory and administrative authority and
fiscal resources; additional legislative authority or additional
funds may not even be necessary.
A comprehensive approach is necessary to guide the revitalization process to insure that low and moderate income families are not faced with undue hardships throughout the process.
One regulatory measure and a few uncoordinated programs are not enough to handle the problem. Regulatory controls must be combined with other approaches, such as, tax deferrals and reverse mortgages for low income homeowners, along with efforts involving local and private nonprofit development corportions, preservation groups, and incentives for private investors to rehabilitate or build low and moderate income housing in areas undergoing private revitalization.1^
Underlying a comprehensive approach should be Clay's goal of involving now actors in the process.
BAKER AND CURTIS PARK
One commonly experienced problem of a revitalizing neighborhood is the displacement of senior citizens. Baker experienced a loss in its population over 65. A study of why this decrease occurred may be useful for other revitalizing neighborhoods and may even help protect any furthur loss of seniors from the neighborhood. Several possibilities for the loss of seniors could be; rising rents, rising heat costs, displacement for renovation or sale of a house, voluntary moves and deaths.
The options of the elderly, on a fixed income are limited, however, there are programs that can either prevent their displacement or minimize the affect of displacement, if indeed displacement is occuring.
I'or those senior citizens that own their homes reverse annuity morgages is one way to help provide homeowners with general living expenses and to remain in their homes.
In theory reverse annuity mortgages could be benefical to many elderly, who have their mortgages paid off, by allowing them to borrow against the increased value of their home.
The danger in these loans is that they are usually shortterm loans(5 years) and if the elderly homeowner is not able to secure another reverse annuity mortgage they may be forced to sell their house in order to pay off the loaru^
An obstacle to the reverse annuity mortgage is that bankers have been reluctant to issue these loans due to the current high interest rates.
Denver currently has a tax relief program for the elderly
and the handicapped. Perhaps tax relief could be extended
to low income and seniors who do not own homes but rent.
It is assumed that about 20% of a rent bill is the renter's
tax payment. This 20% could be returned to the low income
or senior renter in the form of a tax credit,
Utility bills can be astronomical for the elderly on a fixed income. Persons on fixed incomes, according to the Denver Displacement Report, were in 1979 paying as much as 25% of their income for fuel.^^ Programs currently in existence, to help fixed and low income residents pay their utility bills,need to continue and possibly more programs need to be encouraged.
Several assistance and counseling programs are in existence in Denver to assist senior citizens in their housing needs. One such program is through the Commission on Community Relations which counsels elderly homeowners to help them make informed decisions on whether to sell their homes. Another program to assist seniors is the Elderly Housing Hotline, which matches senior citizens with rental units. Most of their clients call because of the increased cost of rent and utilities and are looking for affordable housing.'*'^ Another service provided in Denver provides a matching of seniors with roommates. Homeowners that are having trouble paying all their housing expenses are matched with seniors who are looking for an affordable place to live.
A recent study by the Regional Council of Governments states
that 22,000 additional units are needed in the metropolitan
area to serve the need of seniors, which is double what is
now available. Additionally there is a one-to-five year
waiting list for most subsidized housing for seniors.
Providing housing is the long range goal, but emergency measures need to be applied to alleviate this critical situation for seniors. The problems of inflated prices, such as rents and taxes will probably be intensified for those seniors living in revitalizing neighborhoods. A constructive role of gentrifying neighborhoods could be one of promoting more counseling and assistance programs and the encouraging the expansion of those that exists.
The neighborhood organizations could take the responsibility of informing their seniors on what is available in the form
assistance for senior citizens.
Application for National Historic Preservation District
The Baker neighborhood is in the process of applying for a designation as a National Historic Preservation District.
It might be helpful for the Baker neighborhood to examine and emulate those programs in the the Curtis Park Historic District that were successful in keeping some current low and moderate income homeowners. One such program was the Curtis Park Paceblock Project, which was a renovation effort for the exteriors of homes of long-time low-income residents. The Paceblock Project, which was a renovation effort for the exteriors of homes of long-time low income residents. The Paceblock Project was sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, through the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and has also received assistance from Historic Denver, the Colorado State Historical Society and the Colorado State Division of Housing.If low income homeowners were interested in revitalizing the interior of their homes the Paceblock Project would provide them with information on where to apply for assistance. Also $200,000 of federal community development money has been designated for the acquisition and renovation of condemned buildings in the area. These buildings will in turn be sold to low-and-moderate-income households.
Baker may also want to examine efforts by the Savannah Landmark Rehabilitation Project, Inc., which is a private non-profit-corporation that is working on buying, renovation and then subsidizing half of the housing units in a neighborhood that is gcntrifying. As of XyU0, Baker was still a low income neighborhood, so perhaps such an effort could be beneficial for the neighborhood and for the low-income residents living in the neighborhood. One obstacle for such a program, might be that the housing prices are already high in the neighborhood.
Also an effort the size of the Savannah Landmark Rehavilitation Project, Inc. would require a strong local leadership and financing.
Recommendations for the Curtis Park Neighborhood
Recommendations to help preserve the housing in the Curtis Park neighborhood include; an anti-demolition ordinance, a downzoning of the neighboring B-8 zoning, subsidizing the rehabilitation of abandoned units, a continuation of providing special programs for homeownership for low and moderate income households, especially by salvaging condemened and abandoned housing in the area.
Methods of encouraging incumbent upgrading in and around Curtis Park should be further encouraged. Since Curtis Park and Five Points are not yet considered prime locations by downtown employees, the area could become a target area for the city to encourage more incumbent upgrading. Curtis Park has second and third generation Hispanics living in the neighborhood, therefore perhaps they have a stronger identification with the neighborhood, then the Hispanics in the Baker neighborhood who are relatively new.in comparison.
Recommendations for both Baker and Curtis Park neighborhoods:
In light of the fact that the increase in housing prices far exceeds the rise of median incomes in both neighborhoods, tax assessments for these areas should be given special attention to insure that incumbent residents are not overburdened with taxes thus forced to move. Relief could be provided in the form of a sliding scale based on income.
Also special attention should be given to apartment complexes so that tax increases are not passed on to low income tenants.
An anti-speculation tax may not be too late for these
neighborhoods. The last several years the housing markets
in these and other areas has cooled off somewhat due to
the recession. After the last recession a surge of activity
and price increases occurred. Since interest rate are now going
down, a pent-up demand may further increase the price of
housing in these areas. An anti-speculation tax could help
the efforts of such programs as revolving loan funds, which
enable low and moderate income families to become homeowners.
if some of the housing prices remain affordable in these
neighborhoods the revolving loan funds will be able to benefit
more families. Currently the Denver Family Housing Corp,,
a partnership of local lenders, corporations, private foundations,
neighborhood organizations and government agencies has established
a housing assistance revolving loan fund to help northeast and
west Denver residents purchase homes. Although commendable,
their efforts have been somewhat limited, thus far they have
provided 15 families with loans with 7 or 0 more families
being processed currently. This type of effort should
be further supported and expanded.
Some form of technical assistance to these neighborhoods, particularly in Curtis Park, could perhaps be beneficial to help alleviate conflicts between different factions of the