Many cities are attempting to foster new development or reshape existing urban form in order to support greater use of transit and non-motorized modes of travel and thus reduce green-house gas production related to auto dependence (Ewing et al. 2008). Recent research has documented the often negative impact that efforts to introduce rail transit can have on low income renters in central core neighborhoods (Pollack, Bluestone and Billingham 2010). As redevelopment associated with the introduction of transit and with increases in the allowable intensity of development pushes property values upward, owners of aging rental properties are likely to sell or redevelop their properties. Rents in these properties are likely to rise or units may be converted to owner occupancy. Thus, lower income households may be priced out of new transit corridor development. The changes in these corridors may thus contribute to the growing shortage of affordable rental housing. They may also undermine the ability of low income renters to rely on transit to commute to work or to needed services. Displaced transit dependent households wil llikely face a dramatic increase in their transportation costs - most likely at the expense of other critical household needs.
In a year-long Practicum course run by Elizabeth Mueller, community and regional planning graduate students are studying conditions in two corridors in Austin: Burnet Road and East Riverside. In the fall of 2014, the class:
- reviewed the relationship between housing and transportation planning in Austin, and identified four distinct corridor and TOD planning processes, only one of which includes the city’s housing department;
- developed a metric for assessing corridors on the presence of core transit riders, based on eTOD metrics in use in other cities;
- reviewed metrics for predicting redevelopment of aging rental housing; and,
- developed a typology of aging multifamily properties, based on building conditions and characteristics, and ownership.
In the Spring of 2015, the class investigated:
- strategies for partnering the city with current owners to renovate and preserve existing rental housing as affordable housing, integrating housing and energy efficiency incentives and financial tools;
- strategies for timely acquisition of aging properties for upgrades and preservation as affordable housing; and,
- how adjustments to parking and other site regulations might enable urban design improvements, using case studies.
Connecting Planning for Affordability and Transit in Austin, Texas
Preserving Transit Access for Low Income Households through Transportation Planning
The Envision Tomorrow Redevelopment Candidate App as a Displacement Vulnerability Metric
Multifamily Buildings Typologies: East Riverside and Burnet Road Corridors
Introduction of the corridors
Housing Typologies & Owner Evaluations
Energy Efficiency and aging MF Housing
Finance Strategies--Partnering with Long Term Owners
Urban Design Proposals for 4 Sites