Gentrification — the displacement of traditional inner-city communities because of new development in an area — is a growing issue in Texas’ major cities, including Houston.
That’s why three professors at the University of Texas at Austin – Heather Way, Elizabeth Mueller and Jake Wegmann – teamed up to develop a set of strategies and tools to address it.
They are listed on a website called The Uprooted Project.
Way, who directs the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at UT’s law school, said she hopes cities, as well as community groups and advocates, will take advantage of the website.
“There’s definitely a lot that the city of Houston can be doing to address gentrification that it’s not doing,” she said. “And that’s one of the reasons why we created this tool kit is to raise awareness about the range of diverse strategies and approaches that are available to Texas cities.”
Some of the tools include developing affordable housing, city ordinances to assist displaced residents and community land trusts, which cap property taxes for low-income homeowners.
When contacted by News 88.7, the city of Houston provided a statement by the city’s planning director, Margaret Wallace Brown, who said she was not aware of the new website, but that “we are interested in all tools to help Houston increase investment without displacement.”
One company’s analysis in 2018 found that Houston has some of the nation’s fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods, including EaDo and the Washington Avenue area.
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