This thesis for the Masters degree by Patrick E. Goode has been approved for the Department of
Urban and Regional Planning
THE^pYNAMICS OF CHANGE IN OLDER SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOODS: AURORA, COLORADO
B.A., California State University Fullerton, 1972 M.A., California State University Fullerton, 1977
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Urban and Regional Planning Department of Urban and Eteaonal Planning
Goode, Patrick E. (Masters, Urban and Regional Planning) The Dynamics of Change in Older Suburban Neighborhoods: Aurora, Colorado
Thesis directed by Acting Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School, Thomas A. Clark
This study is an attempt to understand the dynamics of change in older suburban neighborhoods in Aurora, Colorado. Tremendous growth occurring in the city since 1950 has resulted in dramatic neighborhood change. A time-series analysis of five older neighborhoods (12 census tracts) over three census periods, 1960 to 1980 is employed to understand the dynamics of neighborhood change. The study looks at the changing populations filtering through the neighborhoods and identifies the underlying causes. The factor of changing neighborhood investment is the key to this theoretical perspective and is developed from concepts of life-cycle and invasion-succession theory. The thesis is: policy decisions (at various levels of the public and private sector) as they influence shifts in housing demand and the relative desirability of housing affect
of neighborhoods. The focus is on a micro level (community) analysis.
Change in the older neighborhoods occurred in a differential fashion. Some neighborhood census tracts had relatively less change in population and neighborhood conditions and a resulting higher degree of stability than other tracts. Since policies identified impacted all of the older neighborhoods in a consistent way, tract characteristics were isolated to identified factors contributing toward housing desirability. Consideration was also given to the difference in suburban versus central city development and attempts were made to distinguish between different dynamics of neighborhood change.
The hypothesis of the study was confirmed and findings revealed that all the neighborhoods were impacted by shifting housing demand. Desirable housing conditions within census tracts acted as inhibitors to change. The underlying factor serving as a catalyst for change was changing regional housing dynamics. Neighborhood change was viewed as consisting of two phases:
(1) initial causes of neighborhood downranking and (2) reinforcement of neighborhood decline and instability.
A number of policy suggestions were offered for
neighborhood revitalization. It was suggested the city be understanding of and consistent in its policy making to promote demand within the older neighborhoods in the face of policies for continued city growth.
The form and content of this abstract are approved, recommend its publication. \
Thomas A. Clark
List of Tables........................................ vi
List of Figures...................................... vii
I. INTRODUCTION.................................... 1
Society and Neighborhood Change.............. 9
Study Neighborhoods......................... 14
II. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM....................... 26
Suburbs with Big City Problems or
Unique Problems............................. 36
III. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE....................... 57
IV. METHODOLOGY.................................... 90
V. ANALYSIS OF THE FINDINGS...................... 102
VI. CONCLUSION.................................... 146
1. Housing Values by Census Tracts of Northern
Aurora Neighborhoods Near Stapleton International Airport....................... 52
2. Population and Land Area Growth in Aurora
by Year..................................... 106
3. Comparison of Selected Population and
Housing Characteristics of Study
Neighborhoods with City-Wide Totals
for 1960.................................... 107
4. Comparison of Selected Population and
Housing Characteristics of Study
Neighborhoods with City-Wide Totals
by Year..................................... 114
5. Comparison of High Change Tracts with
Other Study Neighborhood Tracts on
Stability and Other Variables 1980 ........ 123
LIST OF FIGURES
1. Correlation Coefficients: % Residents
5 Years +, % Vacant, Socio-economic Status Homogeneity and % Owner
Occupied, 1980............................... 130
2. Correlation Coefficients: % Residents
5 years +, % Vacant, % Single Family
Units, 1980 ................................. 132
3. Correlation Coefficients: % Residents
5 Years +, % Vacant, % Black and
Median Housing Value, 1980................. 133
4. Crosstabulation: % Residents 5 years +
by Encroachment, 1980 ................... 135
5. Crosstabulation: Median Age by % Owner
Occupied and Brick Single Family by
Median Family Income, 1980 ................ 137
6. Crosstabulation: % Vacant by Central
City Migrants, 1980.......................... 139
Neighborhoods that were stable, that once housed community leaders and reflected the typical resident profile of the community, and were adjacent to the downtown commercial area where residents met all of their shopping needs have experienced tremendous change. These neighborhoods provided for the complete needs of residents by being a safe place to raise a family, have them properly educated, and by meeting their needs for goods and services and providing a sense of community identity. Why have some of these neighborhoods changed so dramatically in the composition of their population and in indicators of neighborhood stability? Why is there a different perception of these neighborhoods and why do they no longer provide for many resident needs in the same way?
This paper will attempt to answer these questions by investigating the dynamics of neighborhood change. It will do so by studying five older neighborhoods (composed of twelve census tracts) in Aurora,
Colorado. A description of the study neighborhoods will be provided later in this chapter. It is important to recognize that this scenario of neighborhood change is not unique to Aurora, but is typical of neighborhood change in cities throughout the United States. It is commonly identified in the literature as "neighborhood deterioration" and extols the need for "neighborhood revitalization."
To fully understand the dynamics of neighborhood change, it is necessary to look at the macro and mico levels of analysis. There have been some broad cultural changes in society, as well as technological changes, that have resulted in changes in the development of cities and the sense of "community" of neighborhoods. These are changes impacting neighborhoods from the macro or societal level. There are also changes at the micro or community level, with the unique characteristics of growth and development of a city, that also greatly impact neighborhoods. This paper will focus on a micro-level analysis, but it is important to make some general statements about societal change to set the proper perspective within which neighborhood change takes place. Before doing this, I
would like to discuss why it is important to study and understand neighborhood change.
First, the study of urban areas has been undertaken at various levels of analysis to develop explanations of the factors contributing to change. Studies have been undertaken at the national, metropolitan, city and neighborhood levels. The level of analysis is important to the purpose of the study being undertaken. The position taken in this paper is that it is important to understand the changing conditions within cities and the best way to understand that change is from the level of neighborhoods. This level of analysis is more sensitive to isolating factors contributing to changing conditions that ultimately impact the health and viability of the city. Goetze (1980:10) discusses the importance of neighborhoods as the unit of analysis in understanding housing conditions which ultimately impact city public policy with respect to its health and viability.
Accepting the position that cities are composed of neighborhoods and the fate of the city is intertwined with the fate of its neighborhoods, the study of neighborhood change is important in understanding the dramatic change that cities have faced in the 1970's.
Statistics alone impel the need to study neighborhood change because of the resulting impact on the change of cities. As outlined in the Urban Data Report on Changing Conditions in Large Metropolitan Areas (U.S. Department of HUD), there have been dramatic shifts in populations in metropolitan areas during the 1970's. When people move, for example, from a central city location to a suburban development they move from one neighborhood to another. Why that decision to move was made is the question posed in studies of neighborhood change.
Another very important reason to study neighborhood change is because neighborhoods involve a tremendous capital investment in housing and infrastructure that the public ultimately pays for. To let these valuable resources deteriorate to a point where their fate is demolition and redevelopment is a tremendous waste of resources. This issue of rapid decay of neighborhoods has been aptly expressed by Leven, et al. (1976:187-188) as he discusses neighborhood transition as swift leap frogging from middle-income to low-income occupancy. He says:
This rapid shift typically produced an eroded central-city tax base, with consequent reduction in the quality of public services; and by introducing large numbers of low-income
households into middle-class districts, it produced an abrupt and basic change in perceived neighborhood character. Then as people had the chance to observe this sequence repeated, the dynamic of their expectations added fuel to the process, so that neighborhoods that from all outward appearances still had decades of useful physical life were completely depleted in periods as short as a year or two.
In a more positive vein, Franklin James (1980:130) reminds us that policy has been developed during the administration of President Carter to conserve natural resources and more efficiently utilize existing resources through establishing as top priority "the conservation of the infrastructure, housing and neighborhoods of the nation's older central city."
Another need for the study of neighborhood change is as a result of the fiscal impact on cities.
Neighborhoods with a changing dependent population deplete resources from a city's budget because they do not generate the tax base and require a disproportionate amount of services. From a fiscal standpoint it is important for cities to understand neighborhood change in order to adopt and implement policies to promote reinvestment and ensure the health and viability of
To look at the health and viability of neighborhoods strictly from a fiscal standpoint, however, should not be the end-all of city policy. Neighborhoods are communities where people live and grow in life. It is important to redevelop neighborhoods facing rapid change and deterioration so the neighborhood functions better and meets the needs of its residents. If a neighborhood is composed primarily of a low-income dependent population, it is important that the neighborhood provides services to meet their special needs. By having their needs met, the neighborhood population is more empowered to independently deal with neighborhood issues (Warren 1972:335). This has the long term affect of strengthening neighborhoods to take matters into their own hands to improve their quality of life. Warren discusses the role of community development to strengthen the horizontal (local) pattern in a neighborhood which strengthens the commitment to the neighborhood and the residents' sense of community. To directly intervene in a neighborhood change cycle of downgrading by involving neighborhood actors, serves the purpose of positively affecting the health and viability of a neighborhood. Taub (1984:16) discusses the importance of a committed and empowered
neighborhood population and how it changes their
perception and actions,
. once individuals decide that their neighborhood has begun to decline, they become more generally helpless and more generally fearful, and they select the evidence around them that reinforces this view. For individuals who view their neighborhood as improving property values going up, housing renovation taking place on their block crime rates, problems of litter, and the like are items either to be shrugged off or to be attacked through collective community action.
This leads us to addressing the purpose of this study. As an outgrowth of the need for studying neighborhood change discussed above, the ultimate purpose of the study is to suggest policy recommendations to positively impact neighborhood change. Chang in neighborhoods is inevitable and is an inherent part of the ever-changing dynamics of cities. What course that change takes can be greatly influenced by policy decisions. This position is integral to the theoretical perspective adopted in this paper as policies are seen to influence shifts in housing demand which affects the stability of neighborhoods. Unfortunately the full impacts of policy decisions at various levels of government and the private sector are not always anticipated and may result in changes never intended; albeit the policies were initially conceived with the
best of intentions. A case in point is the fact that many public policies promoting urban development have often-times harmed neighborhoods and resulted in greater disinvestment and instability. One purpose of this paper is to point out the significance that policy decisions can have on neighborhoods and suggest policies to promote greater neighborhood stability.
Another intended purpose of this paper is to build on the existing theory about neighborhood change. Hopefully, this paper will add to that body of knowledge by revealing insights about the dynamics of and contributing factors to neighborhood change.
Through building the theoretical knowledge-base about neighborhood change, policies can be improved to positively impact that change. So much of the literature on neighborhood change is taken from central city case studies that it is anticipated, with the focus of this paper being suburban neighborhoods, that a resynthesis of theory will be necessary to adequately explain the dynamics of change in the study neighborhoods.
In order to carry out the intended purposes of the paper, it has been organized in the following manner. Chapter II will address more specifically the
statement of the problem, particularly as it relates to the issues of neighborhood change facing Aurora.
Chapter III will provide a review of the literature in the area of neighborhood change and all the components associated with it including the growth of cities, neighborhood deterioration and revitalization. Chapter IV will outline the methodological approach used. The analysis of findings will be presented in Chapter V with the conclusion of the paper presented in Chapter VI.
Society and Neighborhood Change
As discussed above, at the macro level of analysis, there are broad changes in society that greatly impact neighborhood change. This occurs as a result of changing social values, social institutions and the development of cities. I will discuss only two types of societal changes here.
The first can be referred to as a broad change in social values, institutions and the interrelationship of people and is called by Warren (1972) "the Great Change." It can be characterized by changes in seven areas of society:
(1) increasing specialization and division of labor; (2) differentiated interests of local
people associating more on specialized interests than locality; (3) increasing systemic relationships to the larger society; (4) bureaucratization and impersonalization; (5) transfer of functions to profit enterprise and government; (6) urbanization and suburbanization; (7) changing values. (Warren, 1972:5)
The "Great Change" is important to consider in the study of neighborhood change primarily from the standpoint of how neighborhood residents relate to one another and their neighborhood. This is significant with respect to the development of strategies to build neighborhood organization and commitment. From this perspective, one gains the insight that our traditional way of thinking about community is no longer adequate. Residents in a neighborhood are more likely to band together over an issue of dropping property values than out of a community spirit to help thy neighbor. They also will identify with their neighborhood to a lesser degree than in the past when a "small town" mentality was prevalent.
Later, I will discuss people's propensity to move from a neighborhood. I believe the "Great Change" causes people to be less culturally tied to a neighborhood and more concerned about whether their housing is a good investment or whether the neighborhood meets their household needs. In regard to strategies to
build greater resident commitment, the community development approach is intended to strengthen the horizontal (local) ties to a neighborhood. This may only be accomplished to a certain degree because of changed social values and residents vertical ties to institutions outside the neighborhood. This issue wil be discussed later when neighborhood revitalization strategies are taken up.
The changing form of the development of cities has also had a dramatic impact on neighborhood change, particularly from the standpoint of changing preferences for housing and shifting housing demand. As discussed by Mumford, (1961) during the coal/rail period there was a concentration of development in the city. The city core was the site of commerce in the industrial city and it was the site of inner city housing with the exception of the extension of suburbs through the service of trolley lines. The industrial city subjected many people to terrible living conditions because of the density and poor environmental conditions. With the advent of new technologies producing the automobile and improved communication systems, and the alternative energy source of oil rather than coal, city development took the form of
decentralization, and literally sprawl, after the 1920's. The trend was slowed temporarily due to the depression and World War II, but in the post war years suburbanization occurred at a tremendously rapid rate. The result was: unprecedented migrations of people from cities to the suburbs; a shifting of housing demand from central city neighborhoods and; changing values and preferences for low density residential units in suburban neighborhoods.
The discussion of these broad societal level changes is only intended to highlight some of the underlying value and development changes that have promoted a decentralization of the population. With the insight provided in this brief discussion, it should be beneficial to understanding the context within which local actions and policies take place.
The rest of this paper will involve micro level analysis of the policies and factors affecting housing desirability which affect shifting housing demand. The thesis of this paper is: policy decisions (at various levels of the public and private sector) as they influence shifts in housing demand and the relative desirability of housing affect the stability of neighborhoods. It is important to understand that policy
decisions influence shifts in housing demand but work in conjunction with housing desirability to affect the stability of neighborhoods. These two factors must be considered together, because, as will be seen later, desirable neighborhood conditions act as inhibitors to change in the face of shifting housing demand.
The basic approach of this paper is to look at neighborhood change in older neighborhoods in a suburban city from the perspective of housing filtering to populations of different socio-economic status and household types. Additionally, the concept of housing desirability is integrated from more recent theory about neighborhood change which considers the elements of housing conditions and neighborhood perception. The theoretical perspective adopted in this paper will be more thoroughly outlined in Chapter III in a review of the literature regarding neighborhood change.
The advantage of this hypothetical approach is that, unlike much of the past theory on neighborhood change, it recognizes how housing demand can be influenced by policy decisions and that local as well as regional and national policy has an impact. Also, it utilizes the broad concept of relative housing desirability to incorporate factors regarding housing needs
and housing and neighborhood perceptions. It couches these in relative terras because different populations have relative perceptions and needs. The approach focuses on a policy objective of neighborhood stability which is an objective and relative term. Neighborhood stability is viewed in terms of measures of migration relative to the current populations and neighborhood demand by considering housing vacancies. Finally, the broader conceptual framework of this hypothesis makes it more applicable to analyzing local circumstances in different municipalities.
The neighborhoods to be studied consist of five adjacent northern neighborhoods (12 census tracts) in the suburban city of Aurora, Colorado. These neighborhoods comprise "older" Aurora and include the original downtown commercial district that developed along U.S. Highway 40 which was the eastern access to Denver from Kansas and Nebraska. The study neighborhoods amounted to around one-third of the land area of the city in 1980 and approximately 31% of the population. In 1970 the study neighborhoods consisted of approximately 66% of the city's population. The drop in percentage in
1980 to less than half of what it was in 1970 indicates a diminishing significance of the "older" area.
Aurora was first established as the town of Fletcher in 1889. The area developed as a "satellite city" through the promotion of land investors (Mehls, et al ., 1985: 25). It grew slowly, but necessarily, through the development of water rights and as the result of trolley line service from Denver. Aurora was an escape from the pollution of the central city. But the growth of Aurora gained momentum as a result of external forces. Primarily, the development of military installations within or near the city boundaries including: Fitzsimmons General Hospital in 1918; Lowry
Air Force Base in 1937 and Buckley Air National Guard and Rocky Mountain Arsenal during World War II built a population and economic base to sustain independent growth from Denver. Later came two growth periods.
The first growth period occurred in the 1950's when massive suburban development began and the second period was in the 1970's with rapid expansion in the southeast quadran.t of the city. It is important to note that the military installations surrounded the northern Aurora study neighborhoods and greatly impacted the dynamics of growth and change in those
neighborhoods. More will be said about this impact later, but it is significant to point out that in 1980, 60% of the non-civilian labor force lived in the study ne ighborhoods .
The growth period in the 1950's directly impacted the study neighborhoods as new single family subdivisions and multi-family development expanded the neighborhoods and changed the unit make-up. The new housing developed at a rapid pace to accommodate returning military personnel and the suburban growth of the period. In twenty years the city grew from 3 to 28 square miles and increased in population from 11,000 to 75,000. The second growth period in the 1970's also impacted the study neighborhoods but in an entirely different way. By the 1970's the study neighborhoods north of Sixth Avenue in Aurora were built-out. The new growth that occurred during this period was the result of land annexations in the southeast quadrant of the city. Rather than positively impacting the study neighborhoods through development and growth, this new growth provided new housing opportunities and shifted housing demand away from the older neighborhoods.
Suffice it to say, the growth of the 1970's resulted in creating distinct differences between the
older and newer residential neighborhoods and shopping areas. Many of these differences were the result of the changing image of the City of Aurora from an established, stable working-class community to one of a new, dynamic middle-class suburban city. The effect of this change was a dramatic change in the composition of the population in the study neighborhoods (and more specifically census tracts) as compared with the city-wide population profile. To briefly summarize those changes, the older study neighborhoods north of Sixth Avenue are characterized by an influx of lower income families, higher proportions of more mobile households including singles, elderly, female-headed-households, and higher proportions of minorities. The area reflects lower neighborhood investment with the lowest housing values in the city, a reduced percentage of homeownership, and higher vacancy rates.
The impacts of these changes as they manifest as problems for the city will be discussed in the next chapter. What I would like to do now is briefly characterize the five neighborhoods within the study area. The neighborhoods include: Northwest Aurora Neighborhood; Del Mar Parkway Neighborhood; Morris Heights Neighborhood; Hoffman Heights/Jewell Heights
Neighborhood and the Northeast Aurora Neighborhood (see map p. 19). The Northwest and Del Mar Parkway Neighborhoods are the oldest neighborhoods which developed as a result of the initial development along East Colfax Avenue. The city's first subdivisions are located in these neighborhoods and they contain the oldest residential and commercial structures. These two neighborhoods are also most directly impacted by the deteriorating downtown commercial area. The Morris Heights Neighborhood is the most isolated neighborhood, surrounded by Sand Creek and Fitzsimmons Medical Center, Stapleton and the northern city limit.
The five study neighborhoods comprise the northern half of the city north of East Sixth Avenue with the exclusion of two census tracts east of Interstate 225 and south of East Colfax Avenue. The neighborhoods border Denver on the west running along Yosemite Street and Lowry Air Force Base. The northern boundary is the city limit at Stapleton International Airport and generally Interstate 70. The eastern boundary of the neighborhoods is the eastern city limit, however, up until 1980 development generally ended at Tower Road. Sixth Avenue serves as a good line of demarcation between north and south. There is
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a distinct difference in the housing stock at that point with housing south of Sixth Avenue generally being developed after 1960 and housing to the north, developed prior to 1960. Peoria Street, which is the western border of Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, divides the neighborhoods between east and west. East Colfax Avenue divides the study neighborhoods in the middle and serves as the boundary between the more affluent Arapahoe County to the south and the less affluent Adams County to the north.
The northern study neighborhoods face some unique environmental impacts that are important to note. First, the most obvious impact is noise from Stapleton International Airport. With noisier jet aircraft and a much higher volume of flights, Stapleton has had a much greater noise impact on the study neighborhoods in the 1970's and 80's than in past years. It impacts all the northern neighborhoods, but the Northwest Aurora Neighborhood and Morris Heights more significantly with 65 to 70 ldn noise contours. The northern neighborhoods have a greater encroachment of non-residential uses as a result of less stringent zoning in the earlier years of the city's development. The area has been impacted by commercial encroachment
into residential areas in the Colfax and Montview Avenue commercial areas, encroachment of light industrial areas in census tract 70 near the airport, and greater impacts from the deteriorating downtown commercial area and the resulting transient population. Census tracts 73, 78 and 79 (see map p. 19) are also most significantly impacted by non-uniform lot set-backs with old residential structures not built to code. Many of these units have become rentals and have fallen into the worst state of disrepair. Finally, much of the Northeast Aurora Neighborhood developed in Adams County and was later annexed to the city and much of it is of a rural nature. There are many non-conforming uses, many agricultural uses and many of the lots are larger lots. There are large tracts zoned industrial because of the major transportation corridor through the area including railroad lines Interstate 70 and close proximity to Stapleton. The most striking trait of the Northeast Aurora Neighborhood is the lack of infrastructure including unpaved streets, little curb and gutter, sidewalks and few developed recreational areas.
The Northwest Aurora Ne ighborhood contains the most diversity in its housing stock. It is composed of
three census tracts. One tract (78) borders East Colfax from the western city boundaries at Yosemite Avenue to Peoria Avenue. The other two census tracts run to its north with Stapleton International Airport their northern boundary and split in the middle of the neighborhood at Havana Street between east (80) and west (79). Tract 78 is most diverse with the highest proportion of multi-family units, the oldest housing stock, no significant concentrations of brick single family structures and consisting mostly of modest wood frames. The tract also faces encroachment of commercial uses from Colfax into the residential area. Tract 79 has clusters of commercial along East Montview Boulevard, an encroachment of light industrial into residential, higher concentrations of multi-family along its western and northern boundary, no significant concentrations of brick single family structures and is composed of primarily modest wood frame structures. Tract 80 consists of primarily single family units with the exception of small concentrations of multi-family on its eastern and northern boundary. It is unique in having a concentration of larger brick single-family units that appear well maintained and stable and seem
to promote better property maintenance in the surrounding modest wood frame structures.
The Del Mar Parkway Ne ighborhood consists of three census tracts (72, 73, 74). Similar to the Northwest Neighborhood, it has a tract (73) that runs parallel with East Colfax Avenue from Yosemite to Interstate 225. Likewise this census tract contains the oldest housing stock, encroachment of commercial uses into the residential neighborhood and the highest concentration of multi-family units. It is primarily comprised of modest wood frames with no significant concentration of brick single-family units. South of this census tract the neighborhood is divided by Havana Street with two tracts, one extending just below Sixth Avenue running west to Yosemite (72) and the other extending south to Sixth Avenue and running east to Peoria Street (74). Tract 72 has a concentration of multi-family units on its western boundary and is comprised of modest single family wood frames. Tract 74 is probably the most uniform in being composed of predominantly small wood frame structures developed as part of the Burns Subdivision. The units are box-like but very uniform in development. There is a small concentration of brick single-family units.
The Hoffman He ights-Jewell He ights Ne ighborhood is made up of two census tracts which are east of Peoria Street, west of Interstate 225, north of Sixth Avenue and south of East 13th Avenue. The two tracts are composed almost entirely of single family units. They were developed as model subdivisions in the mid 1950's and are very similar to each other in composition of population. The main distinguishing feature is that most of the neighborhood is all brick singlefamily units of approximately 1,000 square feet although the eastern end of the Hoffman Heights neighborhood was developed with some wood frame single-family units.
Morris He ights is a very uniform neighborhood consisting of one census tract and is entirely singlefamily brick units of approximately 1,100 to 1,200 square feet. The neighborhood is located north of Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center. It is bordered on the west by Stapleton International Airport and on the east by the Northeast Aurora Neighborhood. There is little encroachment of multi-family or non-residential uses. The Northeast Aurora Ne ighborhood is the most loosely defined. It has a very rural character and much of it
was developed as part of Adams County and later annexed
by the City of Aurora. The neighborhood is made up of three census tracts. They run from East Colfax Avenue north to the city boundary and are bordered on the west by the Morris Heights Neighborhood and Interstate 225. The western border of the neighborhood has a fairly large concentration of multi-family units. The housing stock is a various mixture of old farm houses, 1960 subdivisions of brick and wood frames and larger lots. The description of all the neighborhood areas will prove useful when an attempt is made to identify factors of change. We will see that in some census tracts there has been dramatic change and instability and in others there has been very little change.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Aurora, like many other cities across the country, is facing the problem of dramatic change in the composition of its neighborhood populations and deterioration of its older neighborhoods adjacent to its original downtown shopping area. The five neighborhoods studied make up "older" Aurora. This change must be seen in light of the fact that the city of Aurora, through the 1970's, was one of the fastest growing mid-sized cities in the United States. The neighborhoods under study were chosen because they illustrate a classic condition of the older neighborhoods and adjacent downtown shopping area taking on a subordinate role in the face of new growth and development opportunities in the city. Aurora is a-typical of many other cities in that the growth opportunities were much more significant and present an even more dramatic case of distinction between old and new. There were clear signs of abandonment of the "older" neighborhoods
in the 1970's as the municipal offices moved from the downtown area to a southern location more central to the new development, and anchor retailers left the downtown area in favor of more profitable southern locations. The changing image of the city from a working class image, under which the older neighborhoods developed, to a newly adopted middle class image also implied a shifting from old to new.
The implication for the older neighborhoods of all these changes is a resultant instability, at least for some of the census tracts within the study neighborhoods. T will later explore the relationship between shifting housing demand, housing desirability and neighborhood stability, but for now the issue is the resulting neighborhood instability. This instability is important to understand and address from a policy standpoint. If left unchecked, it could result in a rapid cycle of negative neighborhood perceptions, reduced maintenance and reduced neighborhood investment to a point where the only possible solution is a costly massive redevelopment program of demolition, clearance and redevelopment. To now address the neighborhood change taking place and the neighborhood instability could result in renewed neighborhood
commitment and investment and re-establishment of the health and viability that the neighborhoods once realized. From the city's standpoint, this could be done at a much lower cost now than a massive redevelopment program to alleviate severe deterioration later. Continued maintenance at this point would also take advantage of the diverse housing opportunities these older neighborhoods offer to city residents.
The suburban city of Aurora was chosen for study because it represents the first ring of cities surrounding the central city of Denver, Colorado, to be facing neighborhood deterioration. As Clay (1977) has pointed out, suburban cities are now seeing many of the same problems faced by older central cities. There is a need to study the dynamics of neighborhood change in suburban cities to see if the dynamics are different from change in central cities. Also, there is a need to understand suburban neighborhood change from a policy standpoint because, with the decentralized growth in the U.S. after World War II, there are many cities and a large proportion of the population impacted by this change.
To begin, I would like to discuss briefly the history of suburban development and try to explain why
suburbanization is currently such a predominant form of land development. These issues are important to understand because they greatly influence the shifting of housing demand away from inner city and downtown locations. Next I will explore the question of whether suburbs face similar or unique problems as compared with central cities. With this understanding it will be possible to understand the neighborhood change dynamics of central cities and suburban areas to be the same or different. Finally, I will discuss some of the specific factors contributing to neighborhood change in Aurora.
Suburban development is not a new phenomenon. Some researchers like Hadden and Barton (1973:109) trace anti-urbanism themes back to the very beginnings of cities. Others like Singleton (1973:31) show evidence of pre-twentieth century peripheral settlements. The fact is, over time there has been a changing rationale and new opportunities for decentralized settlement in spite of any underlying anti-urban values. As discussed by Mumford (1961:484):
By the eighteenth century, it is true, the romantic movement had produced a new rationale for the suburban exodus, and the increasingly smoky and over crowded town provided a new incentive.
Probably more important in explaining the current predominance of suburban development are the opportunities created by technological advances in communications and transportation which allow decentralization of development away from the concentrated industrial city of the nineteenth century and decentralization of workers.
The changes in development to suburbanization began around 1920 and, although they were slowed by the depression and World War II, they began rapidly to occur again in the late 1940's and 50's and have continued to the current day. Because of advancing technology, industry is not limited to central-city locations and in fact has shifted to suburban locations. "... the suburbs are more and more the heart of the manufacturing district" (Thompson, 1973:411).
This changing trend toward settlements outside the congested and polluted central city produced the initial development of Aurora in the late 1800's. However, there is evidence that the prime location adjacent to the central city alone did not assure development, but rather, heavy promoting of the area by land investors and speculators was necessary (Mehls, et al., 1985:22-23). The area also developed only after
necessary resources and services were established such as water and transportation service to Denver. The promotion and speculation oÂ£ land for suburban development even today precede the wave of peripheral development (Boyce, 1982).
This history of suburbanization and the tremendous momentum toward its predominant form of land development is important in understanding change in Aurora, but more importantly, in understanding the dynamics of neighborhood change. The new development in the southeast quadrant of Aurora has the impact of shifting housing demand away from the existing older neighborhoods. This can best be illustrated through a simple example of supply and demand. Assume the Denver metropolitan area is expected to grow by so many thousand annually because of the good regional economy. Because of the anticipated demand, suburban development is initiated to fill that demand and to capture as much of the market share as possible. This creates housing opportunities for new families moving into the area as well as families moving out of central city locations. If the new households have the income to afford new housing, their housing choice will likely be a suburban location. The result is that older neighborhoods can-
not fairly compete for higher income households in the face of new housing opportunities of modern housing in more desirable suburban neighborhoods. This does, however, open up housing opportunities for lower income households in older neighborhoods who are unable to afford new housing. What occurs, though, is that more desirable neighborhoods have a competitive advantage in attracting more stable households who prefer those ne ighborhoods.
Since household income has come up in the discussion, it is necessary to clarify a common perception about suburbs. In the 1950's and 60's when suburbanization was occurring so rapidly, there was much research completed on the study of suburbs. Suburbs were often criticized as a comfortable, convenient environment but one that promoted segregation, isolation and many unfilled personal needs (Greenhouse, 1974). Berger (1961), in an often cited article entitled "The Myth of Suburbia," completed a more detailed analysis and found that the criticism of suburbs is often a criticism of the middle class. He warns that this over-generalized concept of suburbs is too simplistic and that suburbs actually comprise much more diversity. The trend toward more segregated
residential areas is traced by Singleton (1973:38) to
the rise of industrial labor. He says,
"... the inevitable result was abandonment of the previously heterogeneous neighborhood by the wealthier residents. The movement of the middle class, able to afford more comfortable housing in homogeneous neighborhoods, was an easily discernible phenomenon in cities as diverse as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and San Francisco by the middle of the nineteenth century."
The important point is the increasing segregation in residential areas of households by income.
As discussed in the illustration above, only higher income households can afford newer housing on the periphery. This leaves "hand-me-down" housing which filters down to lower income groups in older neighborhoods. This does not have to be a problem in itself. As Downs (1981:5) explains in Neighborhoods and Urban Development, it is inevitable that older housing will filter down to lower income groups and this provides better housing opportunities for that income group. There are two outcomes, however, that can result in problems with the segregation of residential areas. One is that any perceived change in racial or socio-economic status in a neighborhood can result in fleeing from the neighborhood by higher income white households (Leven, et al. 1976:49). This
can result in neighborhood change having a negative impact on the neighborhood due to dropping maintenance, investment and resulting instability as discussed in Chapter I. Secondly, another problem of housing filtering in the suburbs can result in segregation of low-income households from higher income households with the outcome being that there is a lack of awareness and sensitivity to low-income households by higher income households. As discussed by Blumenthal (1974:213), "... too many suburbanites still do not acknowledge the poverty that festers among them."
Along with the two changes suburbanization has brought, including a changing form of development from centralization to decentralization and an increasing segregation of households by racial and socio-economic status, a third major change of increased differentiation of land use has occurred. Many suburbs began as residential communities or "bedroom communities" and access to employment centers was necessary. Bryce (1977:33-37), in his study of variables which reoccur in growing and declining cities, points out that many growing cities export their workers to adjacent counties. The phenomenon that occurs is that higher income families move to peripheral locations in the
metropolitan area and commute to their jobs. This opportunity has been created through advances in transportation systems. It has produced segregated residential communities that are growing in spite of a lack of balance of land uses within the city. The result has been that suburbs have been developed with greater segregation of land uses. Schnore (1957:172) speaks more specifically to this issue by saying,
The metropolitan community must be undergoing a process of increasingly specialized land use, in which sub-areas of the community are devoted more and more exclusively to a limited range of functions.
The result of this mounting "territorial differentiation is increasing segregation with similar units and similar functions clustering together.
There are two implications of this increasing segregation of land uses. The first is that there is consumer preference for a home in the suburbs in an isolated subdivision that is not impacted by other land uses. As a result, the inner city neighborhood that is encroached upon by commercial and industrial land uses will appear less desirable by comparison. The second implication is that a city like Aurora may continue to grow given annexation opportunities and may become increasingly independent from its older neighborhoods. Only the consideration for a more fiscally responsible
approach and a more sensible policy to maintain existing neighborhoods and promote housing diversity in the city drive city policy-makers to address the needs of its older areas.
Suburbs With Big City Problems or Unique Problems
Now we must investigate the issue of whether problems faced by suburban communities are a reflection of the problems faced by central cities or whether they are problems unique to suburbs. To address this issue we must first ask the question; did suburbs develop in a similar fashion to central cities? The answer to this question is no. Suburbs oftentimes developed as residential communities to house the workers who commuted to the central city to their employment. Suburbs did not develop with heavy industrial concentration and support services. Suburbs developed at lower densities as residents sought lower density neighborhoods in contrast to the congested neighborhoods in the central city.
Suburbs also developed at a much later point in time than central cities. As discussed above, suburban development has occurred in various forms throughout
the centuries but the most extensive period of suburban development in the U.S. took place after World War II. This is significant because although units were built to housing codes, the pent-up demand for housing was so great at that time that housing was built in a very standardized manner lacking the interesting architectural design of earlier periods. Units tended to be smaller in size than old central city housing for the upper income. Also, suburbs generally did not develop at a time of heavy immigration which occurred through the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Although clustering, particularly of racial groups, has occurred in suburbs (Rose, 1977), the ethnic neighborhoods of the central cities did not manifest. Finally, as has been discussed above, suburbs have developed almost exclusively for middle class families and have developed segregating socio-economic groups and land uses.
On the basis of the different process of development of suburbs versus central cities, it might be concluded that the problems faced by suburbs are unique. Upon closer examination, however, we see that the process of neighborhood change is similar to suburbs and central cities in many ways. First, the
late 1950's and early 1960's to undertake studies of the future water demand of the city. They indicated that additional sources of water supply would be required if the expanding demands of the city were to be met. In 1962, an agreement with the city of Colorado Springs was signed for the joint construction and development of a system of collection, diversion, storage, pumping and delivery facilities for the diversion of water from the western slope to the eastern slope of the Continental Divide (known as the Home Stake Project). With the completion of Phase I of the Homestake Project in 1967, Aurora stopped purchasing water from Denver and began independently to provide for the future needs of growth.
The second growth period, during the 1970's, was consistent with trends across the country to see suburban expansion in standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA's) as a result of the baby boomer demand. Unlike growth in the 1950's, this new growth created the need in Aurora, as well as in other cities, to deal with the impact of shifting populations and housing demand from existing neighborhoods to outlying areas.
It should be pointed out that this growth came as a result of policy decisions made by the city to expand
its water system in the 1960's to allow for additional city expansion. Aurora was one of the few suburban cities in the Denver metropolitan area to take such bold steps to develop an independent water system from the city of Denver and consequently captured a disproportionate share of the regional growth in the 1970's (Aurora Housing and Population Estimates, 1982).
With the progressive steps for growth taken by the city, and the type of growth occurring in the 1970's, the city was taking on a new middle class image in contrast to the working class image it previously had. The growth of the 1970's came as a result of a corresponding boom in the regional economy. Denver became a regional headquarters for the oil industry and that spurred an economic boom in the area. Aurora was one of the predominant suburban cities in the metropolitan area to house the influx of professionals migrating to the area. And, as mentioned in Chapter I, Aurora shifted its image from a working class community to a dynamic middle class suburban city. This shift had a tremendous impact on reinforcing the distinction between old and new and a significant impact on changing the perception of the older neighborhoods.
The area north of Sixth Avenue was no longer seen as
the established stable neighborhoods of Aurora, but rather, the older neighborhoods with a radically changing population.
Significant policy decisions on the part of public and private entities further promoted the distinction between old and new in their move from the area. The city of Aurora municipal offices were relocated in 1974 from their location off of East Colfax Avenue to a new location approximately five miles south, adjacent to a new retail mall. Several prominent retailers, including Penny's and Fashion Bar moved from the area a few year later. These actions clearly exhibited an "abandonment" of the older neighborhoods in favor of new southern locations. This view is reflected in the Northwest Aurora Strategy Report, completed by the City of Aurora in January, 1985, by residents of the area expressing an attitude of "what have you done for us lately," which has been prevalent for a number of years. As discussed by Taub (et al 1984 : 183 ), corporate and institutional decisions to stay, or leave a neighborhood play a very key role in impacting neighborhood stability.
It's interesting to note that in the region the demand for new housing in the suburbs was tremendous in
the 1970's but there were also signs of a return to the city. There are various reasons given for increased housing demand in inner city neighborhoods. Sternlieb and Ford (1979) cite energy costs, fiscal burdens, reduced demand for services, and changed demographic structure as pulling factors for city locations. The dynamics of gentrification in the city of Denver in the 1970's has been very well documented by Clark (1985).
As a result of the expansion of the service sector in the CBD and gentrification of many inner city neighborhoods during the 1970's, we see occurring in the regional housing market a displacement of poorer households from the central city. As desirable inner city neighborhoods were gentrifying and low income families were priced out, modest priced housing was sought in surrounding suburban neighborhoods. Aurora's older neighborhoods likely filled a good portion of this demand for housing by displaced poor families from the inner city because of its good accessibility to downtown from Montview Boulevard and East Colfax Avenue, its abundant modest priced housing supply and the availability of housing due to higher income families leaving the area. Regional housing dynamics of the 1970 's seem to indicate an outflow of higher
income families from the older neighborhoods of Aurora due to new housing opportunities in the southeast quadrant of the city and an influx of lower income families displaced from inner city neighborhoods. Attempts will be made to document these trends in Chapter V.
To fully understand the housing dynamics in Aurora's older neighborhoods, we must turn again to the surrounding military influence. In an effort to house military personnel, multi-family units were constructed adjacent to Lowry Air Force Base and Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in the Del Mar Parkway, Northwest Aurora, and Northeast Aurora Neighborhoods. This construction of multi-family units in the midst of single-family neighborhoods seems to have promoted neighborhood change in these neighborhoods. However, signs of a radically changing population in these neighborhoods and indicators of instability are not apparent in the 1960 or 1970 census data. A dramatic change in the neighborhoods was seen to occur in the 1970's and reflects itself in the 1980 census. To understand this change, it is essential to take into account the regional housing dynamics discussed above. The adjacent military facilities impacted Aurora's
neighborhoods in two other ways. With the military comes an ever changing population of personnel as they move into the area and later are reassigned to other areas. The impact on the neighborhoods is a more transient population and a higher percentage of renters. This creates a de-stabilizing influence on the neighborhoods. Another impact is the influx of minority populations to the area. The military has a disproportionately high percentage of minority personnel (particularly Blacks) compared to the relatively low minority population in Aurora. This seems to have created the perception of a more conducive environment for minority households, particularly Black households.
The unique conditions of the older neighborhoods in Aurora must not be overlooked as they are a clue to the housing dynamics in the neighborhoods. As mentioned earlier, Aurora developed initially with Highway 40 bisecting the neighborhoods. This promoted growth in the early years and allowed direct access to the city of Denver. With Aurora serving as the eastern access point to the Denver metropolitan area from eastern states, the "gateway to the rockies, it siphoned off many new arrivals to the
area. As the neighborhoods along East Colfax have had a declining income level and a rise in minority households, the neighborhoods are more attractive to like households arriving in the area looking to became established. Additionally, the old motels and the strip commercial district attract a more transient population to the area. The modest single-family housing stock, a majority of which is rectangular wood frames of under 1,000 square feet with asphalt siding, are more affordable for lower income families. Lower cost multi-family apartments in the area are also accommodating to low income families.
The location of Stapleton International Airport adjacent to the neighborhoods creates an undesirable noise impact on the neighborhoods. When the airport was established years ago its noise impact was much less severe than today. With the introduction of much noisier jet aircraft and the tremendous increase in the volume of air traffic, some neighborhoods are located in 65 and 70 ldn noise contours which are unsuitable for residential uses. Although the airport has a fairly uniform noise impact on all the northern neighborhoods (see map p. 51), it has a different impact from the standpoint of affecting housing values in the area (see Table 1, p. 52). This leads one to
t ia, m
1980 CENSUS TRACTS
STUDY NEIGHBORHOODS I
STAPLETON INTERN AL AIRPORT ^
HOUSING VALUES BY CENSUS TRACTS OF NORTHERN AURORA NEIGHBORHOODS NEAR STAPLETON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Median* ** *
Census Housing Value
*Tracts bordering airport
**Median housing value taken from 1980 census of
Population and Housing, U.S. Department of Commerce.
conclude that other neighborhood factors are more significantly affecting housing desirability.
Two other land use factors in these older neighborhoods impact housing desirability. First, there is conflicting land use in the neighborhoods.
This is the result of poorly designed zoning and site planning requirements. With the rapid development of housing in the 1950's and 60's to accommodate the growing demand from the military as well as the private sector, it is likely that loose regulation resulted in poor design. Over-zoned commercial one block north and south of East Colfax Avenue allows for conversions from residential to commercial uses. This encroachment of commercial into single-family neighborhoods creates the inability to upgrade single family uses in the zone. Light industrial uses in the northwest portion of the Northwest Aurora Neighborhood, although they abut the airport, are surrounded by multi-family and singlefamily uses. These residential uses stand unbuffered from non-residential uses. There is a similar problem with multi-family units. For example, not uncommon to the neighborhoods are three story apartment buildings standing right next to single-family units with no buffering between uses. This is true particularly in
census tracts 73 and 78 which provide for much higher density multi-family to serve as a transition between the commercial uses on East Colfax Avenue and single-family uses. Rather than serving as a transition to shelter the single-family uses, the multi-family uses have served as an encroachment into single-family uses because of little or no buffering between uses. The effect has been to downgrade the single-family area.
This leads to the second land use issue transitioning densities versus encroachment of densities. The unbuffered multi-family uses particularly in census tracts 73 78 and 79 appear to have discouraged homeownership and investment partly because of the undesirable higher densities, but also because of the influx of lower-income households to the available low-cost rentals. This has resulted in poor upkeep and maintenance leading to disinvestment in the area. As mentioned above, this trend did not seem to begin in the 1960's, with the initial development of many multi-family units, but rather, in the 1970's when regional housing dynamics brought a radically different population to the neighborhoods.
To conclude this chapter, it is important to re-emphasize that the major problem faced by the older Aurora neighborhoods is not change in and of itself, but change that promotes a negative perception of the neighborhoods and results in disinvestment. This change did not appear to occur in the 1950's and I960' when census data reflected a fairly typical resident profile of the city as a whole and low indicators of neighborhood instability, but rather, came in the 1970's and reflects itself in the 1980 census. It is true that in the 1970's there was a tremendous change in the composition of the population living in the older neighborhoods. It is more significant to note, however, that this change is not uniform across all neighborhoods. There are differing trends within census tracts in the same neighborhood. It is not the changing population itself that is important in this study of neighborhood change but, why a changing population has moved into this area and how this impacts perceptions about the desirability of the neighborhood. This will impact future residents' and investors' decisions to invest or not invest in the neighborhoods. With an understanding of these dynamics, it may be possible from a policy standpoint
to intervene and change a cycle of deterioration to promote increased investment and commitment in the neighborhoods. The discussion of the dynamics of neighborhood change and how some of the factors of change are unique to suburban neighborhoods, and discussion of some of the unique conditions of the older Aurora neighborhoods, should assist in our knowledge of how policy makers may positively intervene in redevelopment strategies.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE To undertake a study of neighborhood change, it is necessary to draw from past research on the subject. It is a topic that has been investigated rather extensively so insight may be drawn from the work of others on the dynamics and factors contributing to the change of neighborhoods. It is hoped that the understanding and insight gained from this investigation may also contribute to the existing body of knowledge about neighborhood change. The chapter is organized to discuss the formulation of two of the main frameworks on neighborhood change: the life cycle model and the invasion-succession model (Schwirian, 1983?97). The purpose of this chapter is not to provide an extensive summary of the evolution of these models, but to discuss main concepts and the evolution of those concepts through the work of others. These theoretical models will be discussed to the extent they may be understood and establish a framework suitable for this study of neighborhood change.
As expressed earlier, it will be necessary to develop a minor resynthesis of some of the theory on neighborhood change to understand the dynamics of change in the suburban neighborhoods under study in Aurora. The main reason for this is that most of the theories on neighborhood change are drawn from studies of change in central city neighborhoods. As discussed in Chapter II, the dynamics of development of inner city neighborhoods and the resulting structure of the neighborhoods is different from suburban neighborhoods. The life-cycle model and invasion-succession model, which have been most extensively researched in central city neighborhoods, must be applied in a slightly different context to suburban neighborhoods. Change in central city neighborhoods has been dramatic for a number of decades but extensive change in outer-ring suburban neighborhoods has been a more recent phenomenon and not as thoroughly researched. The assumption may be that neighborhood change is a consistent process in different types of neighborhoods, but the position taken in this paper, as established in Chapter II, is that the process for neighborhood change is the same in suburban and central city neighborhoods, but the factors contributing to that change are different.
One of the primary concepts to be used in this paper to understand neighborhood change in Aurora's older neighborhoods is the concept of housing filtering to different populations. To put it more correctly, as Leven (et al., 1976:142) has reminded us, it is the households that filter not the housing and the change may be up as well as down, or reranking in two directions -- upranking and downranking. Neighborhoods change in the changing population that inhabits the neighborhood. If the neighborhood is experiencing normal turnover, then it is not experiencing change as we are defining it. One of the landmark works to establish the foundation for the filtering concept and the life-cycle model was the work of Hoover and Vernon (1959). In their study of the New York metropolitan region, they observed changes in neighborhoods where older housing was passed on to lower income groups while higher income groups could move to the periphery of the metropolitan area to purchase new housing. They felt that neighborhood variation could be explained by identifying three primary characteristics: job type; income level; and age composition of the households within the neighborhoods. Their study was complex looking at a variety of variables and
regional dynamics. It was undertaken initially to understand the changes occurring in the New York metropolitan region to better understand the future of the region. The postulate that was taken from their study, that higher income families can afford a wider range of housing choices and choose to purchase low density single family housing on the urban periphery leaving older housing for lower income groups, came by way of a more in-depth study of regional dynamics.
This filtering concept is what Hoover and Vernon are most remembered for and it was expanded by later researchers.
Hoover and Vernon also laid the basis for the life-cycle theory of neighborhoods. They saw that as neighborhoods aged, they began to deteriorate and units were converted to higher densities. They became less desirable to higher income groups who could afford other housing options. Because of the housing opportunities created by low density single family development in the suburbs, the general pattern observed was higher income households moving out of the inner city neighborhoods to the periphery. The result was a ring of maximum population growth in the region moving further out. This phenomenon has been observed
in many metropolitan areas throughout the country in the 1960's and particularly in the 1970's (U.S. Department of HUD, 1980). The lower-income groups that inhabited the neighborhoods could less afford to maintain the housing and many units were converted to rentals which were less well maintained. As neighborhoods deteriorated further, they were occupied by new inhabitants of a lower income group and so on. Hoover and Vernon (1959:183-194) developed a stage model of five stages to describe the evolution of neighborhoods. The ultimate outcome was a necessary renewal of abandoned and dilapidated structures in stage five.
The process supporting the evolution of neighborhoods was understood by Hoover and Vernon to include the changing development pattern of cities through improved transportation. This allowed higher income households to have access to jobs yet still enjoy outlying residential neighborhood locations.
These development changes also impacted lower-income workers as jobs became more dispersed outside downtown locations and created the option to move to affordable housing further out. It was also recognized that not only the physical characteristics of housing shifted perceptions of desirability of higher income households
away from these neighborhoods, but also other neighborhood characteristics such as: traffic congestion; encroachment of unsightly non-residential uses; deterioration and changing tastes and demands (Hoover and Vernon, 1959:166).
In addition to the development of the life-cycle model, Hoover and Vernon offered valuable insights into housing preferences of households. The modern, new housing was not the only attraction of higher income households to suburban locations; the increasing convenience and attractiveness of suburban shopping centers also drew households away from the inner city. An interesting preferential pattern of families with children was observed. The more children families had, the more likely the households would move to lower densities, if possible. This was explained by the desire of families to seek a good environment for their children to grow up in. Finally, it was observed that good design in housing and neighborhoods forestalled obsolescence. In other words, a selected number of neighborhoods that have been innovatively well-designed have promoted stability and delayed the cycle of change and deterioration of the stage model.
The work of Hoover and Vernon was carried on in later years by David Birch (1971). His interest was in further refining the life-cycle model, or stage theory, and empirically verifying it. His objective was to formulate a stage theory of urban growth "that permits the analyst and the planner to consider, at the same time, physical changes in individual neighborhoods and the migration of people through neighborhoods." Birch felt he could fully develop a stage theory when he overcame the obstacles of a lack of comprehensive disaggregated data and a powerful analytical system to process detailed data. Birch studied census tracts in the New Haven, Connecticut metropolitan area utilizing a complete pretest of the 1970 census. In the study, Birch empirically verified the stage theory. Birch, like Hoover and Vernon and the life cycle theory, is criticized for being unidirectional and implying that the ultimate fate of all neighborhoods is dilapidation and abandonment with eventual necessary urban renewal (Taub, et al. 1984:186).
Birch, in later research, took a behavioralist approach to understand neighborhood change (Birch, et al., 1979). In this research, Birch developed a Community Analysis Model which simulates the behavior
of individuals, households, employers, decision makers, etc. The decisions they make impact neighborhoods and the accumulation of these decisions are used to predict aggregate changes in neighborhoods over time. This approach is a break from the life-cycle model and focuses on, what many more recent researches feel to be the more crucial determinant of neighborhood change --decision-making that impacts the neighborhood (Mitchell, 1975, Leven, et al., 1976). This change in orientation of Birch has contributed to many insights about housing preferences which will be discussed later.
Anthony Downs (1981) utilized the concept of housing filtering to develop his discussion of the relationship between neighborhood change and the urban development process. Downs offers some significant insights into the factors contributing to neighborhood change. He discusses the relationship of urban development policies to inner city neighborhood change. He emphasizes the need for consideration of regional dynamics, such as shifting demand, for the understanding of neighborhood change. He very clearly points out the relationship, and often the contradictions, of inner city neighborhood revitalization and suburban
sprawl. Finally, he points out how expectations about future maintenance in neighborhoods has a great impact on neighborhood residents' perceptions and commitment to the neighborhood.
The work of the researchers discussed above has come under heavy criticism by Rolf Goetze. To begin with, he feels that the traditional theory of housing filtration which guided the formulation of much public policy is no longer adequate (Goetze, 1980:2). If city planners aspire to manage change, they need new theories and paradigms to better understand the dynamics affecting neighborhood change. Goetze feels that housing filtering theory is too unidirectional and does not allow for the dynamic aspects of neighborhood revitalization. He feels this theory has blinded us to the filtration that has occurred in neighborhoods and the more complex dynamics of downgrading as well as upgrading of neighborhoods. The implied inevitable outcome of neighborhoods from the housing filtering perspective has caused us to fail to recognize the revitalization that has already occurred in neighborhoods. Goetze feels that housing filtering theory does not have the explanatory power to explain why revitalization occurs in some neighborhoods and not others.
"It does not explain the new demand for blighted inner city row houses or predict the rapid conversion of disinvested apartments to condominiums in certain situations" (Goetze, 1980:2).
The impact of housing filtering theory has been tremendous on public policy and because of its lack of ability to understand more completely the dynamics of neighborhood change, it has resulted in some shortsighted public policy. A classic example of this is the notion of triage posed by Downs. The idea is that, given limited public resources, neighborhoods facing severe deterioration should be abandoned in favor of targeting for public intervention neighborhoods that are better off and have more of a chance to revitalize. Goetze criticizes this position on two counts. First, even severely neglected neighborhoods have the potential to improve if private investment is directed to them. Secondly, from an equity standpoint, it is poor public policy to assist some neighborhoods and abandon the most distressed with the neediest households. Goetze also cites other examples of public policy that has generally been assumed to be beneficial but has actually contributed toward further de-stabilizing neighborhoods. Goetze feels the major
problem with past housing policy is that it has assumed equal demand in all neighborhoods and has focused on improving the housing stock over promoting neighborhood investment. He is very specific in his suggestions to improve the situation of monitoring neighborhood change for a better understanding of the dynamics to contribute toward theory to formulate better public policy. He believes it starts with better neighborhood data and analysis.
Improved neighborhood data and analysis will help to detect trends earlier, to develop a more appropriate theory of neighborhood evolution, and to discover more constructive public interventions that will prevent disinvestment and deterioration on the one hand and speculation and displacement on the other (Goetze, 1980:4-5).
His focus is on neighborhood investment and how it can be maintained and promoted in neighborhoods. The key is understanding neighborhood market perceptions and housing conditions and developing appropriate strategies to meet neighborhood needs. Goetze has developed a general neighborhood classification framework to assist in monitoring neighborhood change. He feels it is also very important to have frequent time series data to be able to monitor and respond to neighborhood conditions rapidly. He recommends the use of
R. L. Polk data for this purpose. Goetze's preference is for a simple neighborhood classification system and good data over the complex "Community Analysis Model" to track neighborhood change.
Neighborhood filtering theory in its broadest sense began much earlier than Hoover and Vernon. Although this early theory did not address the evolutionary process experienced by particular neighborhoods, (Birch, 1971:79) it held the promise of early stage theory. Filtering was related to various geographical areas. There were attempts to refine these various structural explanations of growth and change of cities. Smith (1971) tries to resolve the inoperational nature of Homer Hoyt's Sector Theory and his avoidance of implied policy questions by creating a model of competitive equilibrium. In his work, Smith recognizes how public policy can and often does stimulate the filtering process. However, some have criticized the attempt of economic models to understand the complex dynamics of neighborhood change (Schnore, 1957) .
One of the obvious failures of housing filtering theory has been to not recognize the complexities of neighborhood change and address the
process and the factors contributing to the change.
The stage theory that has been developed from the concept of filtering is useful in identifying the physical and structural changes of aging neighborhoods, but it implies too heavily a unidirectional approach and does not explain what initiates the changes towards different stages. It is unable to explain the resurgence of investment in neighborhoods at various stages. Additional research has begun to identify factors accounting for the movement of neighborhoods through stages. These factors include: (1) relative rates of growth of new housing and population; (2) changing accessibility to employment opportunities; (3) the extent to which residents mobilize to resist change; and (4) the extent to which public agencies pursue redevelopment projects (Schwirian, 1983:92).
The decisions of neighborhood residents to move or remain in a neighborhood and the decisions of investors and intermediaries to invest or not invest in a neighborhood are the bottom-line issues concerning neighborhood change. Life-cycle theory does not directly confront these issues.
A Housing and Urban Development publication called, The Dynamics of Neighborhood Change (Mitchell,
1975) published to outline the process of neighborhood change addresses some of the essential elements. The publication is not entrenched in any one theoretical perspective, but seems to have been developed drawing from much of the literature. It borrows from life-cycle theory the concept of neighborhood stages and utilizes them to understand differing perceptions and actions of neighborhood actors. The second essential element in the process of neighborhood change addressed is the various decision-makers impacting neighborhoods. Three are discussed: household decisions; investor decisions; and public/private decisions. The neighborhood change process discussed recognizes the fact that perceptions people have about a neighborhood affect their behavior. This is key. If people perceive their neighborhood as desirable, they will continue to invest in it. If they perceive it as deteriorating and see other housing opportunities, they likely will move from the neighborhood. Likewise, realtors perceiving a declining neighborhood may steer prospective homeowners to other more desirable neighborhoods. Finally, another important point made about the process of neighborhood change is that strategies
for neighborhood improvement must be adapted to meet the specific conditions and needs of a neighborhood.
The HUD publication offers a good understanding of the neighborhood change process, but fails to address two significant points that will be discussed in more detail in this paper. First, it fails to discuss the impact of regional housing demand and public/private policy on neighborhood change. A neighborhood may be facing decline and struggling to maintain adequate housing demand and the development of new housing in adjacent areas will negatively impact the revitalization efforts. Also, the process of neighborhood change is evenly applied across all neighborhoods and the publication fails to address any possible changes in the factors contributing to change in suburban versus central city neighborhoods.
We will now turn from life-cycle theory and the process of neighborhood change to a review of invasion-succession theory to see what useful insights it contributes toward the understanding of neighborhood change. The term invasion-succession was taken from plant and animal ecology and has been used to describe the process of neighborhood population alteration (Schwirian, 1983:39). Work in this field was started
by the Chicago School of Sociologists. They studied the invasion of a natural area by socially or racially different individuals and described the processes of competition, conflict and accommodation. The concept was also used to refer to change in land use or dominant activities in neighborhoods. In more recent years the model has been used by sociologists to describe neighborhood racial and social status transitions (Schwirian, 1983:89). The purpose here will not be to focus on the sociological implications of racially changing neighborhoods. Certainly racial change is one of the variables to consider in the changing Aurora neighborhoods. Our purpose here will be to understand why different populations have moved into the neighborhoods from the perspective of desirability and what impact this has on neighborhood investment and stability. It should be noted that the ecological model (White, 1984) which is another approach to neighborhood succession, will not be dealt with in this study because of its sociological focus.
To utilize the general concept of invasion-succession as it relates more specifically to understanding the dynamics of neighborhood change, I will be drawing primarily from the work of two groups
of more recent researchers. In both instances, their work is a resynthesis of the invasion-succession concept as they incorporate variables of market demand, neighborhood perceptions, etc. The work of Leven, Little, Nourse and Read in Neighborhood Change:
Lessons in the Dynamics of Urban Decay has been primarily on the study of neighborhoods in St. Louis, Missouri. They utilize an arbitrage model. "The arbitrage process describes a moving boundary between high- and low-status or income areas, where a protracted mismatch between supply and demand makes it profitable to convert from high income to successively low-income occupancy." (Leven, et al ., 1976 : 143 ). The work of Taub, Taylor and Dunham in Paths of Neighborhood Change was completed on neighborhoods in Chicago. Their work deals with the interrelation of changes of housing markets, minorities, crime, interventions and individuals decisions as they impact city growth and neighborhood deterioration.
In the work of both groups of researchers, they are looking at the racial and or socio-economic gap between in-coming and out-going households of neighborhoods. Their perspective for viewing this change is in how it impacts the perceptions regarding
the neighborhood housing market. Will it lead to a change in the neighborhood leading to deterioration and a lack of maintenance and upkeep of properties? The decisions of individual householders as well as other actors such as investors and neighborhood intermediaries will influence the impact of this change. This revised invasion-succession theory has the capacity to understand changing neighborhood conditions in both directions, that is upranking and downranking. It is also more sensitive to understanding abrupt change outside the stage theory concept. In this way it has overcome some of the shortcomings of life-cycle theory. As Leven (et al. 1976:48) has put it, "traditional concepts of household succession does not adequately explain the rapid transition and decay of neighborhoods and when articulated as public policy has contributed to disbenefit."
The pivotal point in both theories about neighborhood change is whether or not neighborhood actors continue to invest in neighborhoods, which promotes neighborhood stability. Under the arbitrage process discussed by Leven, a neighborhood market is in disequilibrium when there is a mismatch between supply and demand. If investment is maintained or if it
gradually shifts over time and re-establishes equilibrium, neighborhood stability is promoted. If market transition is accelerated by householders in anticipation of racial or socio-economic change, consequent deterioration of neighborhood conditions and values may be seen. Taub focuses on corporate and institutional interventions and individual decisions as they impact neighborhood change. When investment is maintained, the neighborhood will remain stable. If, in the face of anticipated racial change in the neighborhood, whites flee the neighborhood and the investment strength is not maintained by the incoming residents, there is the occurrence of resulting deterioration and instability.
Implicit in the changing racial and socio-economic status of in-coming and out-going neighborhood residents is a lack of confidence about the future of the neighborhood resulting in instability. Regarding stable neighborhoods, if there is a sudden influx of a lower status group, and they are the sole replacements for outmoving higher status families, the neighborhood balance would be upset and neighborhood confidence and security would be undermined. This confidence is based on perceptions about
the condition of the neighborhood and expectations about its future. When residents purchase a house in a neighborhood, their concept of the "housing" is in fact a bundle of dwelling characteristics to which householders react. The components of this bundle include: (1) physical characteristics of the unit; (2) neighborhood characteristics; and (3) a component of expectation (Leven, et al., 1976:142). This component of expectation is sensitive to the threat of neighborhood downranking. When there are signs of a lack of maintenance and upkeep in the neighborhood, or the anticipation of this from the influx of lower income residents, the conclusion is reached that the neighborhood is deteriorating.
. the underlying source of the expectation dynamic, is that element of preference shared by all households of whatever status -- the desire to reside in a stable, family neighborhood where acceptable standards of upkeep and conduct are maintained (Leven, et al., 1976:144).
Leven feels that this single element of preference is the prime determinant of housing value in a ne ighborhood.
Theory about neighborhood change is beginning to focus more on the perceptions and expectations people have about a neighborhood and less on the
structural condition of housing. It is important to note that neighborhood residents and the real estate community, bankers and government officials do not have to have accurate perceptions about neighborhoods. In fact, it may often be the case with changing neighborhoods that misperceptions are common. In a study concerning neighborhood assessment that dealt with perceptions of real estate agents and neighborhood residents, it was found that inaccurate perceptions about racially changing neighborhoods were common.
South Nead was the one area in which significant numbers of real estate sector respondents underrated the neighborhood in a variety of specific indicators: five-year property value trends, racial composition, crime rates and the socio-economic status of buyers (Chapman, 1979).
These distorted perceptions of neighborhood conditions can quickly cause disinvestment in a neighborhood. The result can be that a neighborhood with years of capital life left in its housing and infrastructure can quickly become abandoned.
Neighborhood residents themselves may have distorted perceptions of their own neighborhood and this can result in the conclusion that their neighborhood is deteriorating. When this happens residents' expectations about the future health and
stability of the neighborhood drop. "In other words, once individuals decide that their neighborhood has begun to decline, they become more generally helpless and more generally fearful, and they select the evidence around them that reinforces this view (Taub, et at., 1984:1). The perception of crime is an excellent example of this. Once a neighborhood attracts more low-income residents, particularly Blacks, the perception often is that crime has increased in the neighborhood. This is because every known occurrence of crime in the neighborhood reinforces this view. The reality may be that crime in the neighborhood is no higher than other neighborhoods in the city. Residents over-estimate the facts to confirm their view of neighborhood deterioration.
As discussed above, the revised invasion-succession theory of Leven and Taub moves from the sociological implications of racially changing neighborhoods to discussing the various market dynamics of changing neighborhoods. They have focused on the changing racial/socio-economic gap between in-coming and out-going residents, the factor of neighborhood investment, the changing level of neighborhood confidence with changing populations, and the importance of
the factors of neighborhood perceptions and expectations. This approach to neighborhood change provides a more dynamic explanation of change than a simple "tipping point" theory that predicts neighborhood change will occur once a certain percentage of Blacks enter a neighborhood (Steinnes, 1977:1043). In fact, invasion-succession theory is criticized for being outmoded in its explanation of racially changing neighborhoods because of recent social changes not accounted for including (1) the changing nature of the housing market; (2) rise of the Black middle-class; (3) increased level of tolerance of Blacks by the better educated white public; and (4) increased sophistication of intervening institutions(Taub, et al ., 1984:7).
In spite of the improved explanatory power gained in understanding the dynamics of neighborhood change from this revised invasion-succession theory, the key question of what are the initial causes of residents to lose commitment to a neighborhood and discontinue to invest is left unanswered. In other words, why do middle-income households make the initial decision to move from older suburban downtown neighborhoods? Leven (et al., 1976:186) attributes this to a variety of factors that could produce initial
downranking including: changes in tax rates; changes in the quality of public services; and changes in transportation access. We know that after the neighborhood begins "turning," with a changing population, change feeds upon itself. Once a neighborhood is perceived as deteriorating, it becomes stigmatized and is marketed differently (Chapman, 1979).
The initial decisions for household moves from the neighborhood may be a result of alternative housing opportunities elsewhere or changing household needs and preferences. Within the context of Leven's arbitrage model, he discusses a mismatch between supply and demand in neighborhoods with transition income levels. "This mismatch may take many forms, but typically it has resulted from the evacuation of high-density, middle-class urban areas by households moving to newly constructed, low-density suburbs under the stimulus of rising socio-economic status or incomes" (Leven, et al ., 1976: 143 ). Implied in this scenario of middle-income groups fleeing inner city neighborhoods for suburban neighborhoods are a number of housing preferences which are borne out in studies (Hoover and Vernon, 1959; Bradbury, Downs and Small, 1982).
Residents' preferences for other housing and other neighborhood locations can be reasons for moving from one type of neighborhood to another. The preference for lower density housing has drawn households from inner city neighborhoods to low-density suburbs for decades. Hoover and Vernon found that families with children particularly had this preference, which was seen as a better environment for raising children. We also see that various socio-economic groups, particularly upper and middle-income, prefer neighborhoods with households of similar income (Birch, 1979). Furthermore, zoning and economics tend to promote this segregation of neighborhoods. Changing household needs and preferences must be understood as primary causes of neighborhood change. Later in this paper an attempt will be made to identify the initial causes for downranking of neighborhoods as being tied to housing desirability and shifting housing demand.
For the purposes of this study, it is necessary to understand if the literature indicates any unique dynamics of neighborhood change in suburban areas. The research on inner city neighborhood change is much more extensive than suburban change. This is not to say the
research on suburbs is limited. During the 1950's and 1960's research on suburbs was extensive because it was new and such an overwhelming phenomenon. But it tended to only characterize and classify suburbs. Research on change in suburban areas today mainly speaks to the issues of growth occurring in these areas and how many of the social problems faced by central cities are now seen in the suburbs (Masotti and Hadden, 1973).
Suburban migrational studies have been done, such as Black colonization of the suburbs (Rose, 1977). Generally, the theories about neighborhood change have come from research completed on central cities and, as discussed in Chapter II, it appears as though the dynamics of neighborhood change in suburban neighborhoods are slightly different. This is supported by Schwab (1987) in a comparison of inner city and suburban neighborhood organizations. The former tend to accept change that is equitable, the latter tend to oppose change that threatens their quality of life, "usually the tranquility they sought by fleeing the city." Further support is given in a survey conducted which shows different neighborhood ratings by central city and suburban respondents (Merit Report, 1983).
With many inner-ring suburbs approximately 30 to 40 years old, they are facing the same problems of core cities of neighborhood change and disinvestment due to shifting housing demand as growth moves further into the outer-ring. This is especially true of suburban cities that are poorly designed and have difficulty competing when demand is shifting further out (Knack, 1986). Old suburban downtown neighborhoods are impacted by decentralized growth as central cities were. In order to deal with deteriorated areas, cities are faced with two options, redevelopment or growth on the periphery (Muller, 1977:176). If cities have the ability to annex, the latter choice has commonly been made. These older suburban areas are also feeling the impacts of public policy which has promoted suburban growth (Hadden and Barton, 1973; Downs, 1981; Leven, et al., 1976). The resulting shifting of housing demand away from these older downtown neighborhoods has promoted greater instability. The problem from a theoretical standpoint is that neighborhood change theories from central city studies must be applied to change in suburban areas because there is no comprehensive theory in place to explain the unique
dynamics of this change. Certainly there is a need for future research in this area.
The theoretical approach to be used in this paper will utilize the general concept of housing filtering to different populations but will not apply the life-cycle theory because of two inherent problems. First, the criticism described above of its unidirectional bias limits its usefulness. Secondly, the theory was developed based on inner city neighborhood research. The inapplicability of this theory to suburban neighborhoods will be discussed at more length in Chapter V. The gaps between in-caning and out-going racial and socio-economic groups will be a focus in explaining the dynamics of neighborhood change. The bottom-line factor of changing neighborhood investment is a key in this theoretical perspective because it establishes the dependent variable for this study. Neighborhood investment is the operationalized measure for neighborhood stability. It is measured in terms of housing values, vacancy rates and migrational rates.
If demand is strong in a neighborhood, it implies high neighborhood investment. The result will be that housing values will be high, vacancy rates will be low and migration rates will be stable.
As discussed in the neighborhood change process, the importance of key decision-makers such as neighborhood residents, owners/investors and intermediaries and their impact on the neighborhood is recognized. Neighborhood residents and owners'/ investors' decisions to stay and continue to invest in the neighborhood or not will be considered. The perspective adopted in this paper will be that these decisions will be made based on their perceptions and expectations of the neighborhood. Support for this perspective is found in studies by Boehm and Ihlanfeldt (1986) and Danman (1985). Perceptions and expectations will be understood through the concept of relative desirability of housing. If neighborhood residents and owners/investors view the housing as desirable from an investment or "livability" standpoint, they will continue to invest in the neighborhood. On the other hand, if they do not view it as desirable, they will not continue to invest in the neighborhood. This judgment will be made based on perceptions and expectations that they have. An issue paper of The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials discusses the changing nature of cities and the importance of refashioning urban development
policies, but still recognizes the significance of desirable neighborhood conditions (Hanson, 1986). It must be understood that relative desirability of housing is used in its broadest sense to include not only structural features of the house but also neighborhood conditions. This idea is similar to the concept of housing bundles which incorporates physical characteristics of the unit, neighborhood characteristics and a component of expectation. Intermediaries' decisions will be viewed in terms of their commitment to stay and invest in the neighborhood and policies adopted which influence shifts in housing demand from the neighborhoods. Specific policies impacting Aurora neighborhoods will be discussed in Chapter V.
The relative desirability of housing and policies influencing shifts in housing demand comprise the independent variables in this study. Housing desirability is operationalized by considering: (1) match between household and housing needs; (2) housing conditions (quality and type of structure); (3) various relative neighborhood conditions; and (4) relative housing opportunities. These independent variables are considered primarily as they contribute to the initial causes of downranking neighborhoods. It is
believed that once neighborhoods begin to be perceived as deteriorating they Call into a cycle which becomes self-fulfilling. Neighborhood actors select their perception of the neighborhood which reinforces that perception of neighborhood deterioration. To develop strategies to revitalize deteriorating neighborhoods, two things must be done. First, misperceptions of neighborhood deterioration must be corrected and positive perceptions of desirability and neighborhood investment must be promoted. Secondly, the initial causes of downranking must be addressed. That is, the factors must be corrected that caused households to initially conclude the neighborhood was undesirable.
The failures of the neighborhood change process discussed above also apply to invasion-succession theory. It fails to account for the impact of regional housing demand, as influenced by public/private policies, and the unique dynamics of suburban neighborhood change. This approach has attempted to correct this in two ways. First, the proposed hypothesis incorporates the impact of policy on housing demand as it affects neighborhood stability. Second, in the analysis of findings, attempts will be made to identify initial causes of neighborhood downranking
which are unique to suburban neighborhoods, and more specifically Aurora neighborhoods. Another advantage of the hypothesis adopted in this paper is that it attempts to be more general in its application to the study of other municipalities.
The hope is that through the revised theoretical perspective developed in this paper, policies may be suggested that overcome the criticisms of life-cycle theory as being too short-sighted. It is recognized there is always the potential problem that policies, especially dealing with such complex matters as neighborhood change, result in unanticipated consequences. However, because this theoretical perspective accounts for regional dynamics such as housing demand and utilizes a generalized concept of relative housing desirability that can be applied to local circumstances, it attempts to overcome some of the pitfalls of other theories. Suggested policies for revitalization of changing neighborhoods will be offered in the conclusions of this paper. It can be mentioned here that the position adopted in this paper is similar to one discussed in the literature, particularly by Goetze (1976), that neighborhood revitalization strategies must be tailored to the
specific conditions of a neighborhood (i.e.) overcoming misperceptions and dealing with the initial causes of downranking.
Methodological approaches utilized in past research on neighborhood change have been guided by past theory. As discussed earlier, Hoover and Vernon completed a major study on the New York Metropolitan Region to look at the dynamics of growth and change to better understand the future of the region. Their approach was to describe the patterns of growth of the region and then focus in on the underlying dynamics of change within neighborhoods to explain the factors that promoted the outward spread of growth. Their work was guided by earlier theories about geographic patterns of growth in metropolitan areas such as concentric zone theory. "A ring of maximum population growth has existed and with passing decades this ring has moved further out" (Hoover and Vernon, 1959:179). They were pioneers in the theoretical development of life-cycle theory as they exposed the underlying dynamics of neighborhood change. To implement their approach describing the patterns of growth of the New York
Metropolitan Region, they utilized an appropriate data base. Much of their data was taken from the U.S.
Census of Population and Housing Reports as well as regional data on construction from the Department of City Planning, New York City. This data source allowed the tracking of growth throughout the counties and boroughs in the region.
As empirical data begins to verify theory, methodology can more closely be scrutinized and refined. David Birch later took up testing the Hoover and Vernon life-cycle model after overcoming obstacles of a lack of comprehensive disaggregated data and the absence of a powerful analytic system to process detailed data. Again through the use of census data, Birch formulated a stage model which was tested at the census tract level. He calculated a stage age score for all of the census tracts in the New Haven, Connecticut Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. As discussed in Chapter III, similar evolution and refinement occurred with invasion-success ion theory. As theory was tested empirically, refinements were made in the theory. The revised invasion-succession theory of Leven and Taub was more sophisticated theoretically and
methodological than previous research in accounting for housing market dynamics.
The theoretical approach utilized in this paper incorporates concepts from life-cycle theory and invasion-succession theory as discussed in the previous chapter. The blend of those two theoretical approaches is not as unusual as it may first appear because as Schwirian (1983:92) points out, "the racial succession literature largely assumes the operation of the life cycle." The methodology is similar with both theoretical approaches. In both instances, the method is to track populations filtering through neighborhoods to understand the dynamics of change. Invasion-succession theory focuses on the changing population as an explanation of change. Life-cycle theory focuses more on the structural conditions of the neighborhood including density and the condition of the housing stock to explain neighborhood change. The method in both instances is adjusted to describe neighborhood change and to identify the factors of change hypothesized in the theory.
Likewise, in this paper the methodology has been adjusted to describe neighborhood change and identify the factors of change hypothesized. This
paper is a micro level analysis of the policies and factors affecting housing desirability which affect shifting housing demand and the stability of neighborhoods. It is a study of five older neighborhoods, in a suburban city. A time-series analysis is employed to study the change of these neighborhoods over three census periods, 1960 to 1980. The paper looks at the changing populations filtering through the neighborhoods and attempts to identify the underlying causes in terms of changing housing desirability and policies influencing and shifting housing demand. It is important to point out that the focus in this paper is to identify the initial causes of neighborhood downranking, understanding that once a neighborhood is seen to be deteriorating, perceptions and attitudes are set in motion to reinforce that change.
The primary data source for this analysis is the U.S. Census on Population and Housing Characteristics. Data has been collected at the census tract level. The five neighborhoods studied have neighborhood boundaries contiguous with census tracts. The neighborhoods are composed of as many as three census tracts and as few as one. Since factors of neighborhood desirability do not necessarily coincide with
neighborhood boundaries and may often be identified with much smaller areas, such as zoning districts, it is expected that changing levels of stability will vary from tract to tract rather than neighborhood to neighborhood. The analysis is done on a tract comparison rather than neighborhood comparison. In any event, the analysis is at a neighborhood scale and, as discussed in the introduction, cities can best be understood at the neighborhood level which is more sensitive to isolating factors contributing to changing conditions that ultimately impact the health and viability of the city. Goetze (1980) argues that analysis at the neighborhood level is important and should be monitored closely so policy may be initiated to respond to changing conditions to promote the stability of neighborhoods. He further suggests that regular annual data be utilized, such as R. L. Polk's Profiles of Changes, to closely monitor change to be able to respond from a policy standpoint more immediately. This is a valid point, but for the purposes of this study census data serves a useful purpose of tracking long-term changes in neighborhoods which adds to a theoretical understanding of neighborhood change and still allows making policy recommendations.
Census data was used in this study because of its availability and its consistency over time and geographical area. It is very useful for comparability of neighborhoods over time. Another advantage is the study of neighborhood changes over a longer period of time. This allows the assessment of impacts of policies and regional housing dynamics. As discussed previously, the growth period in the 1950's which was reflected in the 1960 census had a beneficial impact on the older neighborhoods in Aurora. The growth in the 1970's had a negative impact in shifting housing demand away from the older neighborhoods to the newer neighborhoods in the southeast quadrant of the city. It has also been speculated that the regional housing dynamics have played a role in the changing character of the older Aurora neighborhoods. The long term study of neighborhood change over three census periods allows the ability to monitor these changes.
This study has investigated neighborhood change in the five oldest neighborhoods in the city of Aurora. All of these neighborhoods are located north of East
Sixth Avenue, which serves as a distinct boundary between old and new Aurora. Since much of the literature on neighborhood change attributes change to aging
housing stock, infrastructure and commercial areas, and the neighborhoods under study are relatively homogeneous in age (at least in comparison to the neighborhoods south of East Sixth Avenue), it will be assumed that they will change in a consistent manner. In other words, assuming an independent variable of neighborhood age is causing neighborhood change and is impacting all neighborhoods in the same way, then the dependent variable of neighborhood stability will be relatively the same across all neighborhoods. It will be shown later that this is not the case. An advantage of isolating all the older neighborhoods in Aurora is that general city policy and other public and private policy that promotes new growth and shifts housing demand should have a consistent impact on all of the older neighborhoods. This will allow an evaluation of how policy can impact the stability in older neighborhoods.
A review of the literature on the theory of neighborhood change indicates that although neighborhood age can be a factor of neighborhood change, it is not the main determinant factor. More recent theory considers not only the age and condition of the housing stock as factors of neighborhood change but also neighborhood conditions as they impact housing demand. For
this reason, and because preliminary data analysis has indicated that the study neighborhoods are not changing in a consistent manner, this study has looked to other variables as contributing factors of neighborhood change. As discussed in the previous chapter, the independent variables in this study are policies as they influence a shift in housing demand and the relative desirability of housing. Housing desirability is understood as not only the condition of the housing structure, but also consists of the match between household and housing needs, relative neighborhood conditions and relative housing opportunities. These variables are operationalized to use measurable census data variables and observable neighborhood conditions. The dependent variable of neighborhood stability is measured by: vacancy rates; housing value; and rate of migration. This study is designed methodologically to test the relationship between policies, as they influence a shift in housing demand, and the relative desirability of housing as they affect neighborhood stability.
A primary assessment of neighborhood change completed was to look at the rate of change by census tract (% change) for a variety of variables between
census periods. This has allowed the identification of the timing of change and the characteristics of change with regards to household types and changes in tenure and structure types. If different regional housing dynamics are occurring in different decades, then it will be observed that neighborhood change will vary over decades due to shifting housing demand. The methodology, then, will be to study the change occurring within the five study neighborhoods by census tract. The assumption has been that they will change in a consistent manner and any variation from that will be studied further. If it is found that certain tracts are changing in a similar fashion, yet different from other tracts, they may be blocked together to compare to other tracts. In other words, if some tracts show greater signs of instability than other tracts, attempts will be made to isolate the factors contributing to the change. Variation by neighborhood and census tract has been compared to each other rather than comparing the change in these neighborhoods to some "standardized" rate of change. Comparisons between the study neighborhoods and city averages will be made for a variety of variables to determine if the
pattern of change in the older neighborhoods is different from the city as a whole.
For the most part, policies studied have a general impact on all the older neighborhoods. It was discussed earlier how the current trend in city development has primarily been towards decentralized growth on the periphery of metropolitan areas. This shifts housing demand from older neighborhoods to newer low density subdivisions. Policies have been reviewed locally and nationally that have the affect in Aurora of shifting housing demand away from the older ne ighborhoods.
In order to try to isolate factors contributing toward neighborhood change in the study neighborhoods, various statistical analyses will be completed. The null hypothesis adopted is that the study neighborhoods will not change in a differential manner. When crosstabulations are computed on different variables, the assumption will be that no change will occur. If a change does occur, the null hypothesis will have to be rejected and it will be determined to what extent the change is statistically significant. This procedure will allow the determination of whether statistically significant factors of neighborhood change can be
identified. Measures of association and correlation analysis will be the statistical techniques employed in this study. These measures have been employed with caution due to the low sample size.
There are limitations in the type of data to be utilized that must be discussed. First, census data to be used will be aggregated data at the census tract level. This will allow for tract comparison of variables and cross-tabulation of tract characteristics.
This will not afford the opportunity to track individuals through neighborhoods and cross-tabulate characteristics of individuals by controlling for certain variables. A second limitation is inherent generally in research and can only be overcome through extensive pre-testing to develop a high degree of reliability. Attempts have been made to operationalize variables in a reasonable fashion from theoretical concepts to quantifiable entities. The variable of neighborhood stability is operationalized, for example, vacancy rates. It is assumed that high degrees of vacancy reflect higher degrees of instability. Lower degrees of vacancy will reflect higher degrees of stability. It must be pointed out, however, that a certain vacancy in neighborhoods can be assumed without
assuming instability due to the nature of our very mobile society. It is felt that reasonable assumptions have been made in operationalizing conceptual variables.
The methodology discussed in this chapter will be utilized in the following chapter to analyze the findings of a study of the data. In addition to the methodology, the theoretical basis established in Chapter III is key to interpreting the data. Every attempt will be made to present a clear and concise analysis
of the findings
ANALYSIS OF THE FINDINGS
The question was posed in the Introduction, why have the older neighborhoods in Aurora changed so drastically in the composition of their population and why have they become more unstable? The first part of this chapter will document how the neighborhoods have changed and the latter part will address factors contributing to their increasing instability. It is important to point out that the neighborhoods have changed in a differential manner. Change will be described on a census tract basis. Some neighborhoods, like the Northwest Aurora Neighborhood, have some tracts indicating very dramatic change and signs of instability, while others appear to be much more stable. This chapter will document these differences and discuss factors contributing to the differential change.
In looking at how neighborhoods have changed in Aurora, it is essential to consider two important factors. First, from a policy standpoint, change in and of itself can not be viewed as negative. Cities are
dynamic entities and are ever-changing. To try to stop all change and ensure homogeneous populations throughout all neighborhoods is not only impossible, but unrealistic. As discussed previously, most suburban neighborhoods were initially established in a segregated fashion by race and socio-economic status. As suburbs age, they will face an increasingly more diverse population based on housing filtering and must learn to cope with more diverse population needs. For this reason, the change in neighborhood populations will be described, but will only be considered as negative if there is a resulting increase in neighborhood instability. As Clay (1977) has pointed out, the "suburban crisis" is one of dealing with changing populations, increased social problems and a "psychology of disinvestment." The second factor to consider in looking at neighborhood change in Aurora is the timing of this change. Data has been gathered on the study neighborhoods from the 1960, 1970 and 1980 U.S. Census of Population and Housing. Given the changing policies through the three decades, and the resulting influence on shifting housing demand, it will be pointed out how the older neighborhoods have been impacted by change differently through the three decades.
The analysis of neighborhood change that has been completed is a micro level analysis which means that the focus has been on community changes that impact neighborhood change. However, as discussed in the Introduction, broad cultural changes also play a significant role in influencing social values and development patterns of cities that affect neighborhood change. It is important to recognize the national trend toward further decentralization of the population and to understand that the older Aurora neighborhoods at one time were a benefactor of this change and are now a victim of it. An assessment of policy decisions (at various levels of the public and private sector), as they influence a shift in housing demand, and factors of housing desirability derived from the census data will be used to explain changing neighborhood stability within the study neighborhoods.
Let me begin by characterizing the change that occurred in the study neighborhoods in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's and is reflected in the decennial census. As the change is described in each period, a summary of the policies influencing that change, will also be provided. This description of neighborhood change will lead the analysis to a point of trying to isolate factors contributing to neighborhood change. Hopefully, this historical
understanding of the change occurring in the study neighborhoods will offer some insight into factors contributing to the change.
The 1950's in Aurora can be characterized as a boom period. As shown in Table 2 on page 106, Aurora grew in population size by 345% between 1950 and 1960.
The city grew in land area by 120% in the same period. When one talks of growth in Aurora in the 1950's, one is essentially talking about growth of the study neighborhoods in the northern portion of the city. In 1960, the study neighborhoods comprised 94% of the city's population. This was a time when the East Colfax Commercial area was the downtown and the heart of the retail center of the city. There was no need to revitalize because the city (the study neighborhoods) was prospering with the new growth that was occurring. Aurora, like many suburban communities across the country, was growing in the aftermath of World War II and as a result of the increasing trend toward decentralized growth. As noted in the Urban Data Report (U.S. Department of HUD, 1980), suburban areas in many instances had surpassed central cities in population. The report shows (in Table 1) that for the Denver metropolitan area in 1960
POPULATION AND LAND AREA GROWTH IN AURORA BY YEAR
Population %Increase Land Area ^Increase
Year (Jan 1 Estimate) (By Decade) (Sq. Mi.) (By Decade)
1950 11,000 5
1960 49,000 345% 11 120%
1970 74,000 51% 29 163%
1980 154,900 109% 61 110%
Source: Census of Housing and Population, 1950, 1960,
Aurora Planning Department, Land Use Survey,
population nearly equaled the central city population.
The significant point is that housing demand in Aurora was centered in the study neighborhoods as a result of social factors, including suburban housing preferences, and local policy supporting the growth. As discussed in Chapter II, the city was accommodating growth by seeking new water sources and hired water consultants in the late 1950's to undertake studies to assess future water demand .
Table 3 on page 107 shows a comparison of population and housing characteristics of the study neighborhoods with city-wide totals for 1960. The
COMPARISON OF SELECTED POPULATION AND HOUSING CHARACTERISTICS OF STUDY NEIGHBORHOODS WITH CITY-WIDE TOTALS FOR 1960
Variable Study Ne ighborhoods City-Wide
Total Population 45,673 48, 548
% Black .07% . 5%
Median Family Income $6,560 $6,609
% Owner Occupied 61.9% 60.9%
Median School Years Completed 12.5 12.55
% 1-Unit Structures 80.7% 78.7%
% White Collar 28.4% 28.8%
comparison shows a very homogeneous pattern because it is composed of essentially the same population. The important point to keep in mind when comparisons are shown for later periods is that there is little difference between the two and the city reflects a very homogeneous population. It is basically all white with a high percentage of white collar workers. The city has predominantly single family units with most of the units owner occupied.
An assessment of Aurora neighborhood residents in 1960 would probably yield a high degree of satisfaction
with their housing and their neighborhood. No actual data is available to determine this, but it is speculated this is true based on data collected on housing preferences (Birch, 1979; Bradbury, Downs and Small, 1982).
Most residents had recently moved to Aurora out of choice and preference for low density single family units that Aurora offered. Their neighbors were very much like them, judging from the relatively homogeneous population. Most of the units were owner occupied, which will be assumed, resulted in higher property maintenance. Also, the Aurora area was one of the centers of new housing demand in the Denver metropolitan area as a newly developing suburb. Housing demand shifted from central city neighborhoods to the suburbs where new housing opportunities existed. Stability in the study neighborhoods was high as reflected in a 3.5% vacancy rate. It is inappropriate to use a second measurement of neighborhood stability as reflected in residents residing in their housing unit for five or more years since 76% of the housing units in that period were built after 1950. This assessment, though it is speculative, is important because it lays the groundwork for a later statistical analysis of neighborhood change on these same study neighborhoods in the face of tremendous change in the
composition of the population as well as neighborhood conditions.
In the 1960's, the study neighborhoods can be characterized as being impacted only minimally by change. This is due primarily to housing dynamics in the region, the economy and local policies. Growth in Aurora between 1960 and 1970 was 51% as compared with the 345% growth increase of the previous decade. The growth rate in the metropolitan area was 31.8% during the same time period with a 51.9% growth rate for the previous decade (Aurora Planning Department, 1987). Slower growth rates in the metropolitan region coupled with city water supply limitations resulted in a very moderate growth rate for the period. It was during this time that Phase I of the Homestake Project was under construction and was completed in 1967.
In the 1970 census, there are no dramatic changes in population and housing characteristics. There is a beginning trend of differences in these characteristics for the study neighborhoods as compared with city-wide totals. For example, median family income is $1,600 less than the city-wide total. There is approximately a 2% difference in years of college, % white collar and % female headed households with the study neighborhoods
lagging behind the city in socio-economic characteristics and showing increase in more dependent households like female-headed. The study neighborhoods show a $2,200 decrease in median housing value compared to the citywide total. The racial total of percentage Blacks is the same around 1%. Probably the most significant change between the 1960 and 1970 census in the study neighborhoods is the difference in single family units. In 1960 the total percentage was 84.5% and the total for 1970 was 76.1%. This indicates an increase in the number of multi-family units in the older neighborhoods. This is not a surprising trend as apartments were constructed during the 1960's to accommodate increasing numbers of military personnel and civilians. This trend does change neighborhood conditions by increasing densities and encroachment of multi-family into single family ne ighborhoods.
The study neighborhoods in Aurora remained stable through the 1960's with a 2.2% vacancy rate in 1970. Populations and conditions within neighborhoods remained fairly constant as compared to city-wide totals. Also, there were no significant differentials between tracts on various population or housing characteristics. The neighborhoods remain homogeneous racially and
economically. The range in median family income for 1970 between the lowest and the highest census tract in the study neighborhoods is $3,998 compared to a range of $3,474 in 1960. The most significant difference within census tracts in 1970 is the difference in percentage owner occupancy and single family units. This is an indication of the variety of unit and tenure type in the older neighborhoods. The range in owner occupancy was a low of 23% and a high of 86%. Likewise, the range in percentage single family units was a low of 34% and a high of 100%. What is interesting, in spite of this type of diversity, is that the neighborhoods remain homogeneous in many other characteristics and show no clear signs of instability.
The dynamics that seem to be occurring in this period are moderate growth in the city as a whole and no significant shifting of housing demand away from the older neighborhoods. Growth continued through the 1960's for the study neighborhoods with almost a 3,000 unit increase between 1960 and 1970. Most of this growth occurred in the Morris Heights Neighborhood with the addition of almost 1,000 single family units and increases of single family and multi-family units in the Northwest and Del Mar Neighborhoods. During the same
period, there was a population increase of approximately 4,000 persons. The downtown shopping area still served as the primary commercial district, although the Hoffman Heights Shopping Center at 6th Avenue and Peoria was a newly added retail center. At this point, there was no abandonment of the downtown commercial area. The study neighborhoods through the 1970's remained a healthy and viable residential and commercial area.
From a policy standpoint, the 1960's were a time of support for continued growth on the part of the city council and city administration but large growth increases were not realized. City growth was moderate by comparison to the 1950's because of moderate regional growth. The City Council promoted growth through annexation by increasing the land area of the city from 11 square miles in 1960 to 19 square miles in 1970. This was an increase of 163% which surpassed growth in the previous decade. It's interesting to note that Aurora captured 8.4% of the average regional increase in population in the decade between 1960 and 1970, whereas the average annual regional increase through the 1970's was 20%+. This supports the position that Aurora experienced moderate growth through the 1960's.
Aurora's growth was also limited by its water capacity. Phase I of the Homestake Project for water development was completed in 1967 and did not support major population increases until the 1970's. Another policy decision in the 1960's that did not reach fruition until the 1970's was the plan to construct Interstate 225 which linked Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 in the eastern corridor running through Aurora. This promoted a tremendous amount of development in Aurora in the 1970's but had no impact in the 1960's. There was a 110% increase in city land area between 1970 and 1980 (see Table 2 p. 106 ) .
What is of primary interest for purposes of this study is the impact, from the perspective of neighborhood change, on the older neighborhoods with growth in the 1970's in Aurora. Policies promoting growth in the 1970's had the direct impact of shifting housing demand away from the study neighborhoods. The result has been dramatic neighborhood change in the older neighborhoods north of 6th Avenue. This change is illustrated in Table 4 on page 114 in a comparison of the study neighborhoods to city-wide totals between 1970 and 1980. The table shows two distinct trends. First, a changing population with a lower socio-economic status in the study neighborhoods between 1970 and 1980. The percentage of Blacks
COMPARISON OF SELECTED POPULATION AND HOUSING CHARACTERISTICS OF STUDY NEIGHBORHOODS WITH CITY-WIDE TOTALS BY YEAR
Study Neighbor Variable hoods City-Wide Study Ne ighbor hoods City-Wide
Median Family Income $9,739 $11,370 $18,846 $23,994
4+ Years of College 11.3% 13.6% 10.8% 14.3%
% White Collar 23.6% 26.8% 18.6% 30.6%
% Blacks . 8% 1.2% 11.2% 6.9%
% Femie, Headed Household 11.5% 9.7% 17.1% 12.8%
% Owner Occupied 61.5% 61.9% 59. 2% 68.4%
% Pre 1939 Housing Units 3.9% 3.9% 2.4% 1.4%
Median Housing Value $17,190 $19,450 $54,767 $63,800
1980 U.S. Census of Population and Housing
in the neighborhoods rose from .8% to 11.2% and the owner-occupancy rate dropped slightly. Secondly, the study neighborhoods lagged further behind city-wide totals, economically in terms of median family income and median housing value, and increasing in a more heterogeneous population.
This change in and of itself does not have to have a negative impact on the neighborhoods, but often a changing population in neighborhoods brings greater instability. In this study, neighborhood stability has been measured by vacancy rate, population migration (through residents living five or more years in their home) and median housing value. It will be discussed later what impact population change and changing neighborhood conditions have had on neighborhood stability. These changes will be discussed in terms of changing housing desirability because it is decisions based on perceptions of the neighborhood by households, and neighborhood intermediaries, as to whether or not neighborhood commitment and investment will be maintained. If there is high turnover in the neighborhood, high vacancy rates and lower housing values, the end result is a negative impact from neighborhood change.
I will offer several explanations for the changes in the study neighborhoods illustrated in Table 4. At this point, the impact on neighborhood stability will not be discussed. Comparison of the study neighborhoods to city-wide totals on factors of stability yield a misleading interpretation. For example, city-wide totals for migration are higher than the study neighborhoods.
It would be incorrect, however, to infer that the study neighborhoods have no instability due to disinvestment because their migration rate is lower. Aurora grew so much during the 1970's that over 36% of its housing stock was built between 1975 and 1980. Obviously city-wide totals will show high migration rates, so a comparison to the study neighborhoods is inappropriate. This is true for the other measures of stability as well. Measures of stability will be compared across census tracts of the study neighborhoods later, which yields a more informative comparison. Since tracts have changed differentially, resulting in varying rates of stability, the comparison should prove useful in trying to isolate factors of instability.
It can be inferred from the concept of housing filtering that, because the study neighborhoods contain the oldest housing stock of the city, higher income
families who could afford newer housing moved from the neighborhoods and lower income families moved into the neighborhoods (25% of the population moving to the newer neighborhoods in Aurora moved from somewhere in the SMSA excluding Denver and including intra-Aurora moves). This certainly is a partial explanation of the dynamics occurring, but not a complete explanation because the neighborhoods changed differently by census tract. Some neighborhoods have retained a much higher income group than others and factors contributing to this will be explored later. Regional housing dynamics is another explanation. The Denver Metropolitan Area grew by 381,600 between 1970 and 1980. During that period,
Aurora captured, on the average, a 32% average annual regional increase (Aurora Planning Department). Additionally, there was migration within the metropolitan area and 11.9% of the study neighborhood's population in 1980 had a 1975 residence in the City of Denver. As discussed by Clark (1985), gentrification with the assistance of city policy occurred in some Denver neighborhoods in the 1970's causing displacement of low-income families. Because the older Aurora neighborhoods have very good access to Denver and an ample supply of low
cost housing available, it is possible that low income families from Denver migrated to Aurora.
Family income took a tremendous rise during the 1970's due to inflation. This, along with low interest rates for home purchase financing, resulted in many new home purchasers in the 1970's. In Aurora during the decade of the 1970's, with the tremendous growth occurring in the southeast quadrant of the city, Aurora under went a change in image from a working class community to a dynamic suburban city. As discussed previously, that promoted a distinction between old and new Aurora. The older neighborhoods took on a negative perception concurrently with the changing population in the older neighborhoods. Given the housing choice, some families moved from older Aurora neighborhoods to newer subdivisions. All of these factors contributed to a changing population in the older neighborhoods.
Policies at various levels of government influenced a shifting housing demand from the older neighborhoods to newer neighborhoods. For one thing, state legislation in the form of the Poundstone Amendment limited the City of Denver's possibility to annex. This limited Denver's growth options and increased the suburbs opportunity for growth. Aurora city government in the
1950's and 1960's adopted a policy to develop its own water system independent from the City of Denver. This put the city in the position of allowing almost uncontrolled growth. Enough of the water system had been completed by 1970 to provide for a growing population and the only thing that remained was to generate enough revenues to pay for the system. This fact virtually locked the city into a growth posture. The regional economy was accommodating. With the Denver metropolitan region becoming a regional headquarters for the oil industry and the tremendous growth of the service sector of the economy, the office skyscrapers were built in downtown and the residential subdivisions for new commuters were built in Aurora. Many new-comers to the region were highly educated, young and were employed in high paying jobs. This population, of which Aurora captured as much as 44.5% of the average annual regional increase between 1979 and 1980, along with a growth oriented city council changed the image of Aurora.
Public policy at the Federal level of government can also influence a shift of housing demand. As Smith (1971) has pointed out, public policy can and often does stimulate the filtering process, such as policy by F.H.A., Home Loan Bank Board, Federal Savings and Loan
Insurance Corporation, and the National Highway Administration. The construction of Interstate 225 in Aurora promoted a tremendous amount of growth and development. F.H.A. and V.A. lending criteria have been criticized for promoting decentralized growth in the suburbs. A change in F.H.A. policy promoted greater neighborhood transition.
It appears that while the change in underwriting standards for F.H.A. insurance implemented in 1966 did produce an increase in mortgage funds to neighborhoods experiencing succession, the primary affect of the change was to make it easier for white families to finance their exit from integrating neighborhoods. (Little, Nourse and Phares, 1975)
With all of the growth occurring in Aurora in the 1970's, as suggested by the explanations offered above and policies promoting a shift in housing demand to the newer neighborhoods from the older ones, there was a varied impact on the older neighborhoods. By that I mean, all of the older neighborhoods were affected by the shifting housing demand as the new neighborhoods in Aurora provided housing opportunities in competition with the older neighborhoods. But as will be seen, the impact it had on the older neighborhoods by census tract varied as some tracts had higher degrees of housing desirability and maintained more stability. In the 1980 census data
on the study neighborhoods, there is a clear pattern established. Three census tracts, based on all three
measures of stability:% vacancy, % residents 5+ years and median housing value, had the overall lowest rates of stability. They also exhibited the lowest median family income levels and some of the highest rates of a changing population. These census tracts are compared to other tracts in Table 5 on page 123. The tracts showing the greatest degree of change are 73, 78 and 79. Two of the tracts are located in the Northwest Aurora Neighborhood and one is located in the Del Mar Parkway Neighborhood. Tracts 73 and 78 run parallel to East Colfax Avenue and contain the original subdivisions of Aurora with the oldest housing stock. Tract 79 is bordered on the west by the city of Denver and runs north to Stapleton International Airport. As shown on the map on page 124, these neighborhoods contain some of the highest concentrations of multi-family units. These tracts also have some of the highest percentages of Blacks and some of the highest percentages of central city migrants as shown in Table 5. What is also interesting in the data on the study neighborhoods is that adjacent to these tracts showing a high degree of change are tracts exhibiting high rates of stability (tracts 74 and 80).
By examining tracts 73, 78 and 79 it may be possible to identity factors contributing to the high degree of change and instability. The tracts have similar land use characteristics as summarized in Chapter I. They contain the oldest structures in the city, consist of primarily modest wood frame housing units with no significant concentrations of brick residential units. All three have encroachments of non-residential units primarily of commercial uses. The tracts also contain significant concentrations of multi-family units. The tracts contain large amounts of commercial zoning as well as multi-family zoning. This is significant because examination of the tracts reveals little buffering between these uses and single-family uses. The result is the higher intensity uses negatively impact and encroach upon the single family uses. These tracts also appear to have the largest proportion of old units not built to code and with irregular set-backs. These units are often seen to be in the greatest state of disrepair.
Considering factors of housing preference and desirable neighborhood conditions, the three high change tracts appear to be low on many of them. The neighborhoods have gone through such change, from the standpoint of changing populations and land use changes, that many
COMPARISON OF HIGH CHANGE TRACTS WITH OTHER STUDY NEIGHBORHOOD TRACTS ON STABILITY AND OTHER VARIABLES 1980
High Change Tracts Next
Variables 73 78 79 Highest Rate
Stability % Vacant % Res. 5+ yrs. Median Housing Value $52 9% 25% 900 10% 19% $50,100 10% 30% $49,500 8%(8 3.09 ) 18%(83.09) $49,800(74)
Median Family Income $13 , 169 $13,805 $16,682 $1 7,092(83.08)
% Black 12% 21% 24% 12%(82)
% Female Headed Households 25% 30% 26% 19 %(8 3.08)
% Owner Occupied 24% 15% 36% 41%(72)
% 1-Unit Structures
(Single Family) 29% 25% 53% 19%(83.09)
% Central City Migrants 16% 16% 20% 19%(83.08 )
1980 U.S. Census of Population and Housing
atMRTMKNt OP POAMNG & COMMUNITY
1980 CENSUS TRACTS
STUDY NEIGHBORHOODS STAPLETON INTERN AL AMPONT g| CONCENTRATIONS OF MOLTI*-FAMILY UNITS
of the factors initially desirable to suburban residents no longer exist. Densities have increased, the neighborhoods are no longer homogeneous in their population and are not segregated by land use. They contain many undesirable characteristics, such as encroachment of non-residential uses, higher densities, and the lowest percentages of husband/wife families of all of the other tracts. The tracts would likely not appear desirable to couples raising a family because of the negative neighborhood conditions. What is interesting to note, is that in the previous decade these tracts still experienced a high degree of stability and contained a homogeneous population (see Table 4). The question needs to be explored whether these tracts changed because of severely changing conditions in the neighborhoods or because of policies shifting housing demand away from these neighborhoods and regional housing dynamics? Certainly there was an increase in multi-family development occurring in the Northwest and Del Mar Parkway Neighborhoods but the old housing stock and encroachment of non-residential uses existed in the 1960's. One thing that did not exist in the 1960's was a massive amount of housing alternatives in the form of new subdivisions with modern housing
units. These factors will be explored in more detail in the statistical analysis of census tract data to follow.
Before moving to that analysis, I want to discuss some other factors to be considered in trying to understand neighborhood change in the study neighborhoods. A preliminary analysis of the data reveals inconsistent relationships. This leads to the conclusion that a more complex relationship between neighborhood change and stability exists. For example, median housing values for census tracts 79 and 74 are $49,500 and $49,800, respectively. These rates are very low compared to other tracts that range as high as $60,500. Yet measures of stability are low for tract 79 with a 10% vacancy rate and 30% migration rate (residents five years plus), while stability measures are higher for tract 74 of 3% vacancy and 54% migration. Likewise, if, as the literature suggests, a significant increase in the Black population of a neighborhood results in instability, the data presents inconsistent findings. Census tracts 73 and 82 both contain a 12% Black population yet tract 73 is low on stability and 82 is high. The preliminary data analysis examining rates of different variables by tract is only intended to help identify factors contributing to instability. Statistical analyses will be completed to
measure the statistical significance of various measures of housing desirability with stability.
Neighborhood reports were completed for most of the study neighborhoods in the late 1970's. The reports are useful in identifying issues neighborhood residents felt were significant. Neighborhood perceptions are critical in how residents formulate decisions about their neighborhoods and ultimately impact their decisions to move or to invest in their property. Issues continually raised in the neighborhood reports were: exterior property maintenance, structural maintenance of units, encroachment of non-residential units and airport noise. The need to support a strong crime watch program was expressed in most of the reports because of the perceived high crime rate in the older neighborhoods. Though these issues seem to impact census tracts differently, there is a general negative perception of many of the neighborhoods because of these issues.
In observing the neighborhoods, some census tracts with a high concentration of brick units appear to be better maintained. These tracts also have higher percentages of owner-occupancy and single family units. Based on the data, these same tracts have maintained higher median housing values and greater measures of
stability. This seems to be consistent with Leven's (et al., 1976) observation that residents prefer to live in a neighborhood that is well maintained. However, when a neighborhood is changing, a drop in property maintenance reinforces the view of neighborhood deterioration. The same tendency occurs with crime according to Taub (et al., 1984). When neighborhoods are undergoing change, crime can reinforce the perception of neighborhood deterioration. What appears to be happening in the study neighborhoods is that tracts that have desirable housing maintain their stability relative to other tracts in spite of negative neighborhood perceptions. However, these perceptions always make the neighborhoods vulnerable to potential change. This appears to be true with the factor of housing demand shifted away from the older neighborhoods. Some census tracts may maintain their stability due to more desirable housing conditions, but they are always vulnerable to change.
To begin the analysis of the relationship between policies (as they influence a shift in housing demand) and relative housing desirability as they impact neighborhood stability, I want to distinguish between two phases of neighborhood change discussed in Chapter III. The focus will first be on the initial factors of
downranking within neighborhoods. Factors reinforcing instability after a neighborhood has "turned" will then be discussed. Two factors of initial downranking to begin considering since they are stressed in the literature, are: (1) families evacuating higher density areas for newly constructed low-density subdivisions under the stimulus of rising socio-economic status or incomes and (2) a drop in neighborhood maintenance. In Aurora in the 1970's, it might be said the time was ripe for the type of evacuation described above for a variety of reasons.
First, a land use change occurring in the study neighborhoods in the 1970's, in an effort to meet housing demand and as a result of typical land redevelopment practices, was increased development of multi-family units. This increased residential densities and often encroached upon single family areas due to a lack of adequate buffering. Also, the housing stock was aging with much of it being 20 or more years old. With the tremendous development of new residential subdivisions in the southeast quadrant of the city in the 1970's, there was an abundance of housing alternatives for residents. With the change in F.H.A. policy after 1966, financing was available to support this evacuation. Another factor in the 1970's was the increase in family income due to
inflation which not only allowed for new home purchases, but also allowed families to upgrade their housing (and possibly maintain their old house as a rental unit for investment purposes). These changes occurred at a time when Aurora was developing a new image, as a result of city policies, and there was a distinction between the older and newer neighborhoods.
Figure 1. provides statistical evidence for the initial cause of neighborhood change described above. A scale was developed for socio-economic status by combining measures for % Black, median family income and % white collar occupation by high medium and low. A numerical total was calculated for each census tract. Those tracts with high income, high percentage of white collar occupations and low % Blacks were ranked high. Conversely, those tracts with low income, low percentage of white collar occupations and a high % Blacks were
Correlations: % RES 5 % VACANT
SESHOMO % OWNOCC
% RES 5 % VACANT SESHOMO % OWNOCC
1.0000 -.7718* 5370 4768
1.0000 -.8209** -.7806*
. 5370 -.8209**
. 4768 -.7806* .7597*
N of cases: 12 1 tailed Signif : -.01 ** -.001
Figure 1. Correlation coefficients: % Residents 5 years +, % Vacant, Socio-economic Homegeneity and % Owner Occupied, 1980.
ranked low. The negative Pearson's R correlation between high socio-economic status homogeneity (SESHOMO) and % vacant for the 12 study neighborhood census tracts is significant at the .001 level. The correlation between SESHOMO and % residents five years or more is also high at .5370, but is not statistically significant. This indicates that in those census tracts where there is a high degree of socio-economic status homogeneity there is a higher percent of long term residents as defined by residency of five years or more. This lends statistical support to the idea that increased housing desirability, from the standpoint of relative neighborhood conditions of more like-residents of higher socio-economic status, results in greater stability.
Also shown in Figure 1 is a statistically significant negative Pearson's R correlation at the .01 level between % owner occupied and % vacant. This indicates that in those census tracts where there are more owner occupants there is a lower housing vacancy rate. Likewise, there is a fairly high correlation, though not statistically significant, of .4768 between owner occupancy and % residents of five or more years. If we assume there is a higher degree of property maintenance in neighborhoods where more people own their home versus
rent, there is statistical evidence to confirm the second cause of initial downranking of a drop in property maintenance discussed above. This relationship is important to consider because, as was discussed earlier in this chapter, neighborhood organizations in the older neighborhoods have continually raised the issue of property maintenance as being a problem. This problem indicates a relative change in neighborhood conditions.
With the initial attraction of households to the suburbs being the housing preference for low density single family, it would be expected that census tracts maintaining that character would be considered more desirable than others. This should result in higher stability. This is confirmed as shown in Figure 2.
There is a negative relationship between census tracts with a higher % single family units and % vacant. The Pearson's R correlation is significant at the .001 level. There is also a significant relationship at the .01 level
Correlations: % RES 5 % VACANT % SFUNTS
% RES 5 % VACANT % SFUNTS 1.0000 -.7718* .7416* -.7718* 1.0000 -.8329** .7416* -.8329** 1.0000
N of cases : 12 1 tailed Signif: -.01 ** -.001
Figure 2. Correlation coefficients: % Residents 5 years +, % Vacant, % Single Family Units, 1980.
between % single family and % residents five years or more. Some census tracts have experienced a drop in % single family between 1970 and 1980. Tract 73 is an example experiencing a 15% drop, thus lowering its degree of desirability and increasing its instability.
Figure 3. is a correlation matrix with % Black correlated with other variables. There is a positive correlation of .6686 between % Black and % vacant. The correlation is significant at the .01 level. It could be misleading to infer that a higher percentage of Black residents in a tract was the initial cause of instability. What could be occurring is tracts that experienced downranking because of other initial causes have created housing opportunities for lower income Black households. Census tract 82 has a 12% Black population and a 1% vacancy rate. Tract 82, however, has many other desirable housing characteristics such as being primarily
Correlations: % RES 5 % VACANT % BLACK MEDH$
% RES 5 1.0000 -.7718* -.2920 .1338
% VACANT -.7718* 1.000 .6686* -.4119
% BLACK -.2920 . 6686* 1.0000 -.4280
MEDH$ . 1338 -.4119 -.4280 1.0000
N of cases : 12 1 t ailed Signif : -.01 ** -.001
Figure 3. Correlation coeffic ients: % Residents 5 years
+ % Vacant 1980. , % Black and Median Housing Value,
brick single family. Since this study is not focusing on the implication of racially changing neighborhoods, but rather, is looking at policies and housing desirability as they impact neighborhood stability, a more detailed study of the racial change issue will be left to other research. Within the scope of this study, race appears to be less a factor of initial downranking. It seems to have a later impact in changing perceptions about neighborhoods to reinforce a perception of decline.
Encroachment of non-residential uses is an important factor in considering relative neighborhood conditions because it can be considered a factor lowering neighborhood desirability. This would apply in central city neighborhoods, but especially in suburban neighborhoods where segregated land uses are promoted. In the study neighborhoods in the 1970's, further encroachment of commercial uses into residential occurred because of over-zoned commercial. This is particularly true in census tracts 73 and 78. Figure 4 provides a crosstabulation between tracts with encroachment of non-residential uses and % vacant. The Pearson's R correlation is significant at the .01 level of significance. The Phi value of .68313 and the Lambda value of .6000 with % vacant as the dependent variable are all
Crosstabulation: % VACANT by ENCROACH
Count Ye s No Total
ENCROACH 1.00 2.00
% VACANT 1.00 7 7
2.00 3 2 5
Column 3 9 12
Total 25.0 75.0 100.0
Statistic One Tail Two Tail
Fisher's Exact Test .04545 . 04545
Statistic Symmetric With % VACANT Dependent With ENCROACH Dependent
Lambda .50000 . 60000 .33333
Uncertainty Coeffic ient .45414 .41507 . 50133
Somers' D -.67742 -. 77778 -.60000
Eta .68313 . 68313
Statist ic Value Significance
Contingency Coefficient .56408
Kendal1's Tau B -.68313 .0117
Kendall's Tau C -.58333 . 0117
Pearson's R -.68313 .0072
Number of missing observat ions = 0
Figure 4. Crosstabulation : % Residents 5 years + by
indicators of a relationship between encroachment and neighborhood stability (Norusis, 1986). A cautious interpretation of this relationship must be made, however, because of the small cell size of encroachment tracts and because the three tracts with encroachment are 73, 78 and 79 which have also experienced changes in a number of other variables. These could be contributing to the high % vacancy. The correlation, however, is in the predicted direction and it is consistent with the theory about neighborhood change, as presented. There was a similar statistical relationship between high encroachment and low % residents five years or more, although it was not statistically significant.
An attempt was made to measure housing desirability through household/housing match. It was assumed older households that have lived in the neighborhood longer (confirmed in data, 4 of 5 tracts with higher median age have higher % residents five years or more) would have more commitment to stay because of attachment to the neighborhood and less financial ability to leave. The cross-tabulation in Figure 5. gives some statistical support for this. Although the cross tabulation between median age and % owner occupied is not statistically significant, the pattern is consistent with what was
Crosstabulation : MEDAGE by % OWNOCC
Count Low High Total
% OWNOCC 1.00 2.00
MEDAGE 1.00 4 3 7
2.00 5 5
Column 4 8 12
Total 33.3 66.7 100.0
Crosstabulation: BRKSF by MEDFAM$
Count Low High Total
MEDFAM? 1.00 2.00
BRKSF 1.00 1 3 4
2.00 6 2 8
Column 5 7 12
Total 58.3 41.7 100.0
Figure 5. Crosstabulation : Median Age by % Owner
Occupied and Brick Single Family by Median
Family Income, 1980.
hypothesized. All of the five census tracts with high median age are also high owner occupied tracts. Four out of the five high median age tracts rank low on % vacancy and high on % residents five years or more. This indicates high stability with a desirable household/ housing match. A similar finding is made with the crosstabulation of tracts with a high concentration of brick single family units and high median family income as seen in Figure 5. Assuming households with higher income can better afford their housing preference, and that brick single family units are more desirable, there is a household/housing match. Again, it must be pointed out that all four tracts with high concentrations of brick single family units are all high income tracts. The same four tracts have high stability.
The thesis of this paper hypothesizes a relationship between policies as they influence a shift in housing demand and neighborhood stability. It has been discussed earlier that regional housing dynamics have played a role in the neighborhood change in Aurora. Figure 6. illustrates a relationship between neighborhood stability and housing regional dynamics. The crosstabulation of % central city migrants with % vacant is statistically significant. The Pearson's R correlation
Count Yes No Total
% CNTCITY 1.00 2.00
% VACANT 1.00 7 7
2. 00 1 4 5
Column 8 4 12
Total 66.7 33.3 100.0
Statistic One Tail Two Tail
Fisher's Exact Test .01010 .01010
% VACANT % CNTCITY
Statistic Symmetric Dependent Dependent
Lambda Uncertainty .77778 80000 .75000
Coeffic ient .65062 63018 . 67243
Somers' D .83582 87500 . 80000
Eta 83666 . 83666
Statist ic Value S iqnificance
Contingency Coefficient .64169
Kendall's Tau B .83666 . 0028
Kendall's Tau C .77778 . 0028
Pearson's R .83666 . 0003
Number of missing obse rvations = 0
Figure 6. Crosstabula tion: % Vacan t by Central City
is significant at the .001 level and the high Phi of .8366 and the Lambda with % vacant as the dependent variable at .80000 are all indications of a high correlation. This can be interpreted as those neighborhoods that are less stable, indicated through a high vacancy rate, have the highest percentages of central city migrants. It can not necessarily be inferred that the changing population of central city migrants is causing the instability in the tracts.
In terms of initial causes of downranking, it is probably more likely that undesirable housing conditions within the tract caused people to decide to move. This opened housing opportunities for central city migrants.
It should be noted that the tracts with high vacancy rates contain higher percentages of lower income households. As higher income households move, lower income households filter in to the available housing. Because the available data does not allow the tracking of households in and out of the neighborhood it can only be speculative that this filtering is occurring. It can be documented, however, that the high vacancy tracts have experienced relative downranking in income since the 1970 census. These tracts in 1980 have a lower income population and higher percentages of central city migrants.
These facts give credence to the idea of housing filtering as a result of regional housing dynamics.
The question was posed earlier, did the census tracts experiencing a high degree of change between 1970 and 1980, change as a result of severely changing housing and neighborhood conditions or because of policies shifting housing demand? It is apparent that neighborhood conditions changed between 1970 and 1980. As the housing aged, more multi-family units were constructed and there was additional encroachment of non-residential uses into residential areas. But many of these factors existed in the neighborhoods in the 1960's, yet the neighborhoods remained stable. The significant difference between the two decades seems to have been that policies promoting growth in Aurora did not strongly impact negatively the study neighborhoods until the 1970's.
With the growth in southeast Aurora, there were new housing options for Aurora residents. The new image of the city shifted demand away from the older neighborhoods to the new areas. There were new populations moving into the older neighborhoods during the 1970's but this could only occur after current residents made the decision to sell their homes and leave the area. Various
changing neighborhood conditions discussed above contributed as initial causes of downranking.
The correlation between high socio-economic status homogeneity and % vacant of .8209 was one of the highest relationships found. This gives plausibility to the idea that evacuation from the older neighborhoods' higher density areas occurred when residents sought newly constructed low-density subdivisions under the stimulus of rising socio-economic status and incomes. Inflation in the 1970's increasing family income, along with policies creating housing opportunities and shifting housing demand appear to be the strongest factors of initial downranking. The newer neighborhoods appeared more desirable in comparison to the older neighborhoods. It is neighborhood characteristics of relative housing desirability that acted as inhibitors to change in some of the census tracts and preserved stability. Factors reflecting housing preferences such as low density single family neighborhoods, quality brick units, homogeneous neighborhoods and neighborhoods with little encroachment of non-residential uses have promoted greater stability in some census tracts.
Based on the findings analyzed in this chapter, it is concluded that the thesis of this study has been
confirmed. It is recommended, however, that more research investigating the relationship between policies, relative housing desirability and neighborhood stability be conducted. One line of research that needs more investigation is the distinction between causes of suburban neighborhood change versus central city neighborhood change. It was suggested in Chapter III that it is inappropriate to apply theory developed from central city research to suburban neighborhood studies. Although the process of neighborhood change is the same in both instances, the factors contributing to neighborhood change vary slightly. The findings of this study confirmed that the original suburban residents of the older neighborhoods maintained their preferences for low density single family segregated neighborhoods. When there were opportunities for new housing on the periphery, higher income families who could afford that housing moved. New lower income households replaced them in neighborhoods experiencing changing neighborhood conditions. Neighborhoods maintaining their desirable suburban character maintained neighborhood stability.
Further research utilizing more appropriate methodological designs will better be able to explore initial causes of neighborhood downranking of suburban
versus central city neighborhoods. The study findings indicate that greater explanatory power was needed to understand neighborhood change in Aurora beyond what life-cycle theory could offer. This was true because of its insensitivity to regional housing demand. Also, the findings reveal that maintaining factors of housing desirability within neighborhoods can promote stability.
To conclude this chapter, I will make some closing comments about factors that reinforce instability after neighborhoods have experienced changing neighborhood populations and conditions. Neighborhood perceptions are one of the most crucial determinants of neighborhood change, after initial factors of downranking. As discussed in Chapter III, these perceptions do not have to be accurate and, many times, are not. Negative perceptions about a neighborhood, and expectations about its deterioration, can destroy a neighborhood by reducing commitment and investment. The result can easily become a reinforcing cycle of deterioration.
These factors are different from the initial causes of downranking. People at this stage are not necessarily making decisions based on housing preference, but more on fear. The idea of "getting out" before neighborhood conditions get worse is based strictly on fear and
negative expectations. This phenomenon occurs after the population in a neighborhood begins changing. The changing population then serves, oftentimes, to confirm a perception of neighborhood deterioration. An example used previously is that a changing neighborhood population may create the impression that neighborhood crime has increased. Every incident of crime thereafter reinforces this perception. These ideas will be taken up again in the next chapter in the context of neighborhood revitalization strategies.
The thesis of this study of neighborhood change has been confirmed through the analysis of the findings presented in the previous chapter. A relationship has been established empirically between neighborhood stability as it is effected by housing desirability and policies influencing a shifting of housing demand.
Through this study, the intent has been to better understand why the older neighborhoods in Aurora have changed in population composition and in neighborhood stability. It has been an attempt to understand why the older neighborhoods are perceived differently from earlier decades when they were seen as stable neighborhoods.
One of the main conclusions of the paper is that neighborhood change cannot be clearly understood unless policies at various levels of the public and private sector are considered. They impact a shift in housing demand. The policy decision of the city government and private retailers to move from the old downtown area to new locations left a message to the older neighborhoods
that they were being abandoned. Other significant policies effecting a shift of housing demand to new housing subdivisions include: regional impacts of the Pondstone Amendment; city policy to finance an indpendent water system; city growth policies to capture a substantial share of regional growth from the good economy of the 1970's; and a changing city image to promote that growth. On a national level, Federal highway approval for Interstate 225 and a change in FHA and VA underwriting standards promoted further suburban sprawl. It also left a message of doubt about the commitment of investment and confidence in the old downtown neighborhoods. These policy decisions shifted demand to new neighborhoods in Aurora and away from the older neighborhoods. This is not to second guess those decisions, but rather, to point out that they have very serious implications concerning neighborhood change.
Study of the older neighborhoods revealed that they were all impacted by shifting housing demand, yet the neighborhoods changed in a differential manner. This was attributed to some census tracts maintaining a higher degree of housing desirability. Desirable conditions within tracts acted as inhibitors to change. This promoted greater stability in some tracts as neighborhood
investment and commitment was maintained. The underlying factor serving as a catalyst for change in all census tracts was changing regional housing dynamics. As other housing alternatives were developed in the newer subdivisions in the southeast quadrant of the city, the older neighborhoods could not fairly compete. This was especially true in some census tracts where changing neighborhood conditions, such as increasing housing densities and encroachment of non-residential uses, made them less desirable. Housing desirability is relative, however, and what was deteriorating housing for some was improved housing conditions for others. The result was filtering of older housing to lower income households.
Neighborhood change was analyzed and found to be consisting of two phases. The first phase is the initial cause of neighborhood downranking summarized above.
These are factors on which the original neighborhood households based their perception of decreasing housing desirability and made the decision to move. Once this occurs in a repeated fashion, and neighborhood conditions change more dramatically due to a changing neighborhood population, neighborhood change moves into the second phase. This is where factors of changing neighborhood populations and conditions begin reinforcing neighborhood
decline and instability. Any strategies for neighborhood revitalization must address both phases of neighborhood change.
Theory about neighborhood change must be broadly enough established to be sensitive to detect factors of neighborhood change unique to the locality. This could include unique factors contributing to a shifting of housing demand or factors affecting a lessening of housing desirability. This is important because neighborhood strategies for redevelopment must be tailored to unique neighborhood conditions. As a first step toward redevelopment of the older Aurora neighborhoods, a positive marketing promotion of the neighborhoods must be done. This would serve a dual purpose of dispelling misperceptions about the area and promoting the positive assets of the neighborhoods.
To be effective, a market of households should be targeted that would find the neighborhoods most desirable. Neighborhood intermediaries, such as banks and real estate agents, should be committed to assist with the neighborhood marketing. At this time, neighborhood planning programs should be established for the neighborhoods to help develop capacity within neighborhood residents to address neighborhood problems. Part of
this should be an educational program to address misperceptions about the neighborhoods and promote neighborhood assets. As Taub (et al., 1984) has pointed out, in the face of neighborhood decline residents feel helpless and fearful and begin to select evidence around them to support a perception of neighborhood decline. Through education, this reinforcing cycle of perception and decline can be broken. As Warren (1972) has discussed, community development should take the form of trying to strengthen horizontal (local) ties. This must be done with the understanding that because of societal changes people tend to have strong vertical ties (outside the local community) and they must be redirected as best as possible.
The second part to neighborhood redevelopment is to address the initial causes of downranking. For Aurora, this means minimizing future density increases in the older neighborhoods. Many residents have opted for lower density residential on the periphery, given a choice. By minimizing density increases there is control on a major factor lessening the desirability of the neighborhoods. The older neighborhoods should be reintegrated into the city image rather than being treated as a stepchild. Further encroachment of non-residential uses in residential areas should be stopped. The buffering of
high intensity from low intensity uses should be promoted in the redevelopment program. Desirable neighborhoods, such as those with high concentrations of brick single family units, should be preserved and home ownership promoted. Neighborhoods with older populations should be given special attention to avoid neighborhood changes from later demographic shifts. Finally, programs to promote neighborhood maintenance, such as code enforcement and educational programs, should be supported.
This redevelopment program can not be supported through city efforts alone. First, the city does not have adequate resources to carry out the redevelopment program itself. Second, the city is an actor in the process of neighborhood change, but it is only one of many actors. Neighborhoods residents and neighborhood investors and intermediaries must also "buy in" to the redevelopment program for it to be effective. It is their decisions that determine the fate of the neighborhood. If they are not committed to the neighborhood through their actions, no redevelopment program can be successful.
Some specific policy recommendations for Aurora concerning the growth and change of the city should be discussed. As pointed out in the analysis of policy implications, the city has a responsibility beyond being
a participant in the redevelopment process. The city must be understanding, and consistent in its policy making, to promote demand within the older neighborhoods in the face of policies for continued city growth.
As the city grows and ages, it will be experiencing a changing and more diverse population. The challenge of the city, as it will be for many aging suburban cities, is to deal with these changes. It will require providing for the special needs of a more diverse population. The days of initial suburban development of entirely segregated neighborhoods are over. Research has indicated that even revitalizing neighborhoods can contain diversity and still maintain investment (DeGiovanni, 1984). The city should develop policies to maintain its changing older neighborhoods and promote a variety of housing opportunities in the city. In doing this, the city should reintegrate the older neighborhoods into the city image.
The city should promote a variety of retail shopping opportunities in the city as well. The old downtown commercial area should be viewed as an opportunity to develop specialized shopping to complement, rather than compete with, the suburban malls. This is important because there is an interdependent relationship between the health of the downtown retail area and the
surrounding residential neighborhoods. City planners must be understanding of the broad social changes that have occurred in society and the predominant value system that supports further decentralized development. It will take a continued concerted effort to promote residential and commercial demand in the older neighborhoods. That effort is made more difficult as horizontal ties to the local community lessen and extra community ties are strengthened. The focus on community development must be maintained.
The initial purposes of the study have been realized. The thesis has directed the study of neighborhood change to the important implications of policy decisions. Policies for neighborhood revitalization have been suggested based on an attempt to gain improved insight into the dynamics of neighborhood change. Understanding of the relationship between policies, housing desirability and neighborhood stability have, hopefully, overcome some of the criticisms of policies based on life-cycle theory being too short-sighted. It is also hoped that this research has added to the body of knowledge about neighborhood change and suggests ideas for further research to help us learn more about the dynamics of changing neighborhoods.
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