PLSC 260: Introduction to Public Policy

Why do housing policies matter?

So far we have read about how our nation encouraged home ownership, especially after WWII.  What is wrong with people living where they want to and choosing their neighbors? Based on the readings, are the problems with gentrification any reason to stop doing it? Think hard, young scholars–there are many layers to these questions.


Welcome Bridge To Success Students!


Housing Policies


  1. David Simon

    There’s nothing wrong with choosing where you want to live. The problem arrises when your decision is base on discriminating against others. Our society is based off of the idea of personal freedom, one of these freedoms is choosing where to live. Gentrification in my opinion is a good thing; we should all strive to make our communities better and safer. The only problem with gentrification is that when developers make a community safer and better, they tend to displace the current population. This has many adverse affects, the primary one being developers and investors are being responsible for destroying the cultures of these areas they are improving. Additionally, many of these people do not have the resources to move out of homes often are forced to move to worse neighborhoods to live. The existing population do not reap the benefits of their neighborhoods improving . I believe that if officials found incentives for people in developing areas to stay in their homes, gentrification would be welcomed to most communities. This would allow for communities to expand their culture because poor areas being improved would be inviting home seeking individuals. This would integrate poor communities with rich or middle class; which in return would cut down on segregated neighborhoods. Consequently, better jobs would come to the areas being gentrified because of the sudden influx of young professionals wanting to start a family.

  2. Tristan Wheeler

    There is nothing wrong with people deciding where they want to live. The problem occurs when the reasoning behind that location is based off of the race, national origin, etc. of the people that do/do not live there. Although this is a very relevant thing today, it is morally and ethically incorrect. Unfortunately, not everyone has the option to choose where they want to move and live. People of low-income are forced in high poverty and high crime areas. Low income families, especially low income minority families, are not given the same opportunities to live in nice neighborhoods as high income families and sometimes white families in general, due to the houses being unaffordable and their race being what it is. These high poverty and high crime areas are then renovated to be more up to date, safer, cleaner, etc. which is a positive, but nothing is free. To make this happen, big bucks must be spent which ultimately makes it unaffordable for these low-income families to continue living there, making gentrification a negative in this case. The people of this area are forced to move, not only leaving their homes, but their culture behind. This is known as displacement. Most of these low-income and minority families, also aren’t credit worthy so they cannot get loans to help pay for these houses. I believe that gentrification should not happen in these areas of poverty unless they’re making it affordable for the people already living there. For example, the tour guide at Church Hill is apart of a group for affordable housing in that community. He was renovating and building affordable housing and community buildings for the people of that area. This is acceptable. I don’t necessarily believe that gentrification is a bad thing, so if they can update stuff in high-income areas where the people can afford it, then go for it. In conclusion, I believe that no one should be forced from where they live and not given the opportunities to live somewhere because of their race or socioeconomic status. Everyone should be given the equal opportunity and chance.

  3. Richard Connell

    Thus far in our class, we have discussed the encouragement of homeownership, specifically after World War II, and how it has affected the public housing selections. Begging the question of whether or not it is right or wrong to chose your neighbors starts with an ongoing process called gentrification. The process of gentrification is when lower cost, lower income neighborhoods are “taken” over by those with higher income, which raises real estate prices and rent and forces many previous residents out of their original residence. It often also forces existing local businesses to unfairly compete with higher end stores and chain businesses. This process is dynamic in the sense of how it both positively and negatively impacts the physical and cultural landscape of a specific district. While the action of gentrification does allow more fluidity in the financial sectors of the land, through the expansion of nicer and more affluent areas, it displaces those who cannot afford to stay which then fractures the diffusion of the communities values and utmost needs. Often those who have initiated efforts of improving their community cannot enjoy the benefits of their hard work. Gentrification happens in stages no matter what area one focuses on. Gentrification is something that is positive for a neighborhood that can afford it, but when minorities are being removed from their homes because more wealthy individuals want to live there, it makes for a complicating situation. In my opinion is a outrageous because there are plenty of other neighborhoods that newcomers can make their home.

  4. Jackson Walker

    There is nothing wrong with people living where they want and choosing their neighborhoods, but an argument could be made saying that natural segregation can occur. Based on the readings we have done in class gentrification is not good because it can drive people away from their homes by causing taxes to rise. Churchill is a great example of this happening today. I say people should be able to live where they want as long as it does not affect someone else. On the other hand gentrification can sometimes be useful in someone selling their home, because gentrification makes surrounding homes cost more. All in all there needs to be some sort of policy to help people not lose their homes but also lets people make neighborhoods appealing to the middle class.

  5. Cameron Cloud

    I do not believe there is a problem with living where you want to; the problem takes place when there are housing policies that discriminates against minorities. One of the main factors, gentrification, tries to renovate housing to a middle class state. Kathryn Parkhurst states in “Expansion and Exclusion: A Case Study of Gentrification in Church Hill,” Church Hill, a gentrified community in Richmond, has 10% of African Americans living in the southern region, while the northern part is the other 90%. The neighborhood is segregated because of many of the housing policies. 

    Housing policies are established to maintain structure throughout a community or town. For example, a housing policy could be to let housing supply grow to meet demand. Everyone in that area has to follow that specific rule or they cannot live there. In conclusion, housing policies are really important to maintain formation throughout an area, but are a problem when the housing policies are racially motivated.

  6. Ryan Coll

    Choosing the right place to settle down and raise a family can be a difficult and long process. There are many factors that take place during this course, some of which include checking area crime rate, the public school systems, housing costs, among others. This choice to find a suitable house should not be impacted by anyone but the buyer and their family. With that being said, moving into a lower income neighborhood is always battling a risk of gentrification. This process is when lower income and lower costing neighborhoods and renovating them to conform to the middle class. This on going argument in today’s society is a hard one for me to take a side on. Although I believe that its seems unfair to take away the affordable housing parts of areas, it is also the right of a new homeowner to come in and renovate a house that they like. Gentrification has stirred up a lot of concerns from people in low income residencies. People fear that gentrification will cause them to relocate to higher crime, lower income areas when they already have enough problems on their plate. If gentrification takes place in an area of poverty, the government should strive to create affordable housing in that area as well. Scholar Andrew Busch says “Gentrification is about more than housing. It is the leading edge of a municipally- sponsored new urbanity, where the central city is remade to attract people who consume more, pay more taxes, and desire urban lifestyles.” (Parkhurst 75) He explains how gentrification is more than just houses changing, but instead if affects the entire community in all different ways.

  7. James Valdivia

    Housing policies are effective because “gatekeepers” are usually white real-estate agents who deny selling houses to African American buyers to save the white population in the neighborhood. In the case of gentrification (a process of wealthier people buying out lower income neighborhood and renovating the houses and other properties so that original residence cannot afford to live there anymore), it is more about racism. Studies show that when a neighborhood African American population rises above 20% white families begin to move out and it is then occupied by the minority race. To prevent this, gatekeepers will avoid the selling of a residence to a black family. This is unfair for the fact that it is based upon race, and that it does not allow the minorities to live where they please. The Constitution states that “All men are created equal”, therefore they should be allowed the right to buy the house they want, and live in any neighborhood. The problem with not allowing minorities to buy houses in these predominately white neighborhoods, is that they then seek to find cheaper housing and that is how neighborhoods become filled with only minorities. When original homeowners are forced out of their neighborhoods and homes and overcome by the wealthier population, it also changes the culture and characteristics of the earlier neighborhood.

  8. Jason Neff

    There is nothing wrong with people choosing where they want to live and who they want to live around. Everyone has the right to choose where they want to live and who they want to live around. I believe that the benefits of gentrification far outweigh the consequences of it; although the perspective that raising property values may be a benefit, it is really a negative result. For example in “Expansion and Exclusion: A Case Study of Gentrification in Church Hill, Kathryn Schumann Parkhurst expresses “The expectation in a gentrified neighborhood is that over time more and more white middle-class residents will move into the neighborhood, causing all property values to rise.” (5) so many people may believe that this is a benefit, but it actually negatively effects lower income families living in that neighborhood. They would eventually have to leave and relocate to a lower income neighborhood which essentially restarts the gentrification process.

  9. Nicholas King

    People deciding where they want to live and what preferences they have shouldn’t be discriminated. Everyone has different opinions on certain areas and what they like and dislike. Problems begin to emerge when individuals start choosing their homes based on races and someone’s personal background. People of lower incomes, generally minorities, unfortunately have to live in run down places with not as nice living conditions as compared to upper class citizens who live in nicer and more renovated living spaces. People who live in lower income areas are already at a disadvantage because of the area, it will be harder to moralize the surroundings they use every single day because of it. Trying to better the people who live in these conditions is where gentrification comes in to play. Gentrification is the idea of renovating and improving houses in order to suit the needs of middle class taste. In order to increase the living properties of these places, there has to be money put into renovations which makes it harder for low income families to be able to keep moving to these areas. It makes it harder for places to stay as one group of people working together to keep healthy relationships throughout the whole community. Going on the tour guide in Church Hill was apart of the HUD and they are renovating and building more reasonable homes to be bought by higher income families. I think that this is okay because we are creating newer areas that are nicer and improving the overall look for the society. I don’t think it is okay to force someone from their home based on your social status or culture and background. Everyone should be given an equal chance to of what they can or cannot do.

  10. Douglas Powell

    After WWII many Americans were encouraged to purchase homes. However, housing discrimination was evident during these times as well. Through the use of “redlining” and other tactics used to segregate lower incomes and African Americans. Even today the process of gentrification is used in many cities across the United States. Gentrification is when a area or district revitalizes to appeal to the middle class taste. This forces many of the lower income citizens to leave due to the increase in housing prices and price of living. To combat this many cities such as Atlanta have been revitalizing but also building affordable housing for citizens. Atlanta has a Belt line of 33 miles that has been heavily invested in by residential investors due to the increase in public transport there. Many of the citizens are worried about being displaced due to gentrification, but the developers on site decided to build 5,600 affordable housing units around the belt line. The city granted incentives for doing this and it helps revitalize areas without displacing people. The need for housing policies to help from displacing citizens is urgent. Throughout the history of the U.S. citizens have been displaced, discriminated upon, and not given fair chances because of their race, economic status, and culture. Housing Policies help from creating an even more segregated world and will bring the cultures of different Americans together to create a better place to live for everyone.

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