Understanding neighborhood change: An approach to assessing displacement risk among NYC residents

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Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City—2014-2017
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Public Policy
Social Welfare
Urban Studies and Planning
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Goldstein, Ira
Dowdall, Emily
Weidig, Colin

The SIAP research team has sought to develop methods to assess the complexity of rapid neighborhood change in New York and other U.S. cities. Reinvestment Fund developed an approach to identify locations in New York City where the housing market has changed in a way that residents who have been in a community for several years cannot likely be replaced by people of similar economic means. This paper discusses their method—called Displacement Risk Ratio (DRR)—for identifying areas at risk of displacement (or the inability to replace a resident population over time) based on the gap between housing costs and household income. The paper identifies six patterns in neighborhoods with significant DRR Sales increases as a preliminary typology of change: 1) transitioned from majority black or Hispanic to racially/ethnically diverse; 2) remained predominantly black or Hispanic; 3) remained predominantly white; 4) Asian immigrant neighborhoods; 5) remained diverse; and 6) high residential development areas. The conclusion reviews the potential for use of the DRR method to assess neighborhood change in New York City.

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Reinvestment Fund, a community development financial institution, has used its Displacement Risk Ratio (DRR) in several cities to gauge the gap between neighborhood residents' incomes and housing costs. This paper applies the same approach to New York City but also considers its applicability to renter-occupied housing. Data on home sales and rent values are aggregated to the Neighborhood Tabulation Area (NTA), a proxy for neighborhood created by the NYC Department of City Planning. Reinvestment Fund’s Policy Solutions Group worked in partnership with SIAP on the Culture and Social Wellbeing in New York City project with support by the Surdna Foundation, the NYC Cultural Agenda Fund in the New York Community Trust, and the University of Pennsylvania. The research was conducted between 2014 and 2017.
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