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Workshop descriptions: PRRAC’s Diverse & Stable Communities project

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION: “Can We Achieve Diversity and Stability in Gentrifying Neighborhoods?” This workshop is the first in a series of roundtables sponsored by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council on the 30th anniversary of Chester Hartman’s report “Displacement: How to Fight It” (published by the National Housing Law Project in 1981, co-authored by Dennis Keating and Michael LeGates). We intend to explore the difficult question of how to harness neighborhood and school improvements associated with gentrification, for the benefit of existing neighborhood residents without displacement. We will also assess the long-term goal of stable neighborhood racial and economic integration, and the factors that need to be in place to favor this outcome. We are focusing on both city planning theory and local case studies illustrating innovations in housing policy, commercial sector approaches, local education policy, and civic engagement.

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION: “The End of Gentrification? Strategies to Create and Stabilize Diverse and Integrated Neighborhoods.” This session will outline a bold vision of racially and socioeconomically diverse urban neighborhoods that challenges the usual narrative of "us v. them" in discussions about gentrification. In 2042, as session presenters will describe, local policy supports the maintenance of affordable housing even as market forces increase housing prices. Small businesses that cater to low-income customers or specific ethnic groups are provided with training in marketing to adapt to a new customer base and tax breaks to encourage their growth. Community groups work together to ease racial and class tensions between neighbors. Schools reflect the diversity of the neighborhood and cater to the needs of all students. This session will explore this vision of stable and diverse urban neighborhoods. session leaders will describe the policies needed to reach this vision and offer examples of successful communities in 2012 that gave rise to such communities in 2042.

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION: “Managing gentrification for the benefit of low income residents: A case study in Pittsburgh.” This session will introduce an innovative organizing and community development plan to help manage gentrification for the benefit of existing low income residents of a historically African American neighborhood near Pittsburgh’s downtown. We will discuss the theory, practice, and long term viability of seeking a stable racially and economically integrated community that retains its cultural integrity.

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