Improving neighborhoods –gentrification — doesn’t have to involve displacing people, says expert

Nov 23, 2021, 5:49 PM
(Image: Tooele City)
(Image: Tooele City)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gentrification adds housing stock to cities like Salt Lake City that are running out it, but finding places for those displaced by neighborhood improvements is the best way to do gentrification, said an urban-planning professor at BYU.

Discussing gentrification

Dr. David Simpson, a visiting professor of Urban Planning at Brigham Young University and former chair of the School of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville, joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to discuss gentrification of cities, especially in Utah.

All neighborhoods experience decline, but when the housing supply is in demand– as it is along the Wasatch Front —  that places external forces upon the neighborhood in decline and improvements are made. Houses are constructed, repaired and sold. 

“That is very good in one sense: We’re improving the housing stock, but on the other hand, this displaces people that are in those homes,” Simpson said.

Use what is already built

He added the process of improving declining neighborhoods must involve the community.

“The places that have been most successful deal with it, not only in terms of how do we improve an area, but how do we improve access to the affordable housing for people being displaced from that area,” he said.

“What is something that we’re not talking about or something that as you look at it, think: I wish we were having this conversation?” Boyd asked.

Simpson said the conversation not happening now is about using existing buildings for affordable housing, such as mother-in-law apartments

“In Louisville, we call them carriage-house rentals. … But there may be existing uses and conversions of buildings that we’re not thinking of right now,” Simpson said.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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