10 Land-Use Strategies to Create Socially Just, Multiracial Cities
2 MIN READ
Mar 5, 2010
- Develop a widely shared, long-range vision for social justice, and set targets. Advocates for climate-change policies have proposed CO2 reduction targets by 2050. Social-justice advocates should set targets for poverty reduction for the same year.
- Find ways to meet the short-term survival needs of marginalized communities while generating longer-term outcomes that benefit society as a whole. For example, invest in projects that meet the urgent transportation needs of low-income residents while building toward a world-class public transportation system for all.
- As an alternative to sprawl, create public policies to stabilize, reinvest in, and redevelop older inner-ring suburban communities and encourage economic and racial diversity.
- Manage vacant properties consistently with principles of social justice and CO2 reduction. Transit-accessible vacant buildings can be acquired, held, and managed by nonprofit housing groups in ways that pre-empt speculation and promote community stability. Vacant buildings in newer suburbs can be adapted to community uses such as day-care centers, reducing local transportation needs.
- Replace aging or underutilized commercial strips with revitalized corridors that link inner cities and older suburbs through public transportation. These sites, with pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined boulevards, are ideal for mixed-income housing, with opportunities for small, locally owned businesses and community organizations.
- Set aside 20 percent of new residential development for affordable housing and promote transit-oriented development—residential or commercial projects that are high-density, walkable, and close to public transportation. A commitment to affordable housing and community services in these popular developments can dampen the effects of gentrification.
- Build and strengthen social-justice institutions committed to regional equity, and link them all in powerful statewide and national networks.
- Reduce the patterns of concentrated wealth and concentrated poverty in neighborhoods. Create opportunities for affordable housing in privileged and job-rich neighborhoods and, with the help of community-based organizations accountable to residents, develop middle- and upper-income housing in poorer neighborhoods.
- Advocate metropolitan growth strategies that systematically reduce health disparities between vulnerable communities and middle- and upper-class society.
- Create opportunities for communities of color and other marginalized populations to participate in new business-improvement districts, regional collaborations, and governance structures promoting sustainable metropolitan development.