In choosing where to build or buy a house these days there is a lot to consider. From Climate Change and the green building options that address that to the smart growth considerations that impact the wider area and the conservation of land. Affordability is a difficult issue in Asheville and nearby Buncombe county as well and the possibility of gentrification as an unintended result of revitalizing or upgrading neighborhoods.
Smart Growth principles include building on infill lots near existing infrastructure, concentrating housing to allow for community green spaces, build near public transportation and biking or walking distances to commercial needs, and having mixed incomes and housing types. For an in depth look at those principles here are two sites- http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-04/documents/best-development-practices.pdf
What can get tricky is when smart growth leads to gentrification. I think gentrification is a poorly defined word that is often used as criticism of increased development that increases taxes and house prices in a neighborhood for those who have lived there before the “renewal” took place.
Here is how Wikipedia describes it-
Gentrification –“is any facet of urban renewal that inevitably leads to displacement of the occupying demographic. This is a common and widespread controversial topic and term in urban planning. It refers to shifts in an urban community lifestyle and an increasing share of wealthier residents and/or businesses and increasing property values.
And –““Gentrification is typically the result of increased interest of external citizens to live in a certain environment. Early “gentrifiers” may belong to low income artists or boheme communities, which increase the attractiveness and flair of a certain quarter. Further steps are increased investments in a community by real estate development businesses, local government, or community activists and more economic development, increased attraction of business and lower crime rates. In addition to these potential benefits, gentrification can lead to population migration.
In a community undergoing gentrification, the average income increases. Poorer pre-gentrification residents who are unable to pay increased rents or property taxes find it necessary to leave.”
There are some policy possibilities to address the consequences of gentrification.
Inclusionary zoning “Inclusionary housing policies are local land use policies that link approvals for market-rate housing to the creation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income households. “ http://www.nhc.org/Inclusionary-Upzoning.pdf This has some controversy as it can be manipulated and in some cases has led to less affordable housing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclusionary_zoning
In some cities tax rates are grandfathered or can’t be raised when an area is gentrified until the house is sold. Charleston, South Carolina recently passed an ordinance to prevent tax increases- “Essentially, property taxes on an owner-occupied home can’t rise significantly as long as a person owns the home, even if property values around them soar. In fact, long-time homeowners can end up with lower tax bills when surrounding property values rise.” http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20141019/PC16/141029990
From Climate change and environmental considerations to affordability and social justice, housing is in a complex location.
boone guyton has a housing complex.