Neighborhood Change

As community demographics shift and there’s neighborhood change, what are the issues affecting longstanding and new residents alike? When is change desirable, and when is it undesirable, and how can it be turned to the benefit of those who need it most?

How to Fight Vacancy? Do It All

The fight against vacancy in Youngstown, Ohio, shows us that we shouldn’t rely on a single strategy—everything is needed at once.

NIMBYism in the Big City

I am accustomed to think of NIMBY (“Not in my back yard”) as referring to suburban homeowners who want to keep out affordable housing,...
Chicago resident Tom Gordon speaks to a crowd. He, as well as other organizers, are fighting for a citywide community benefits campaign.

Chicago Activist Convention Shifts Focus to Community Benefits Campaign

Standing on a truck in front of a group of several hundred protesters, Tom Gordon expressed a feeling shared often at the ONE Northside...

Interview with Mayor Ivy Taylor, San Antonio, Texas

The first African-American mayor of the largely Latino and Anglo city, and strongly identified as an urban planner, Taylor casts herself as someone interested more in getting work done than leaving a political legacy. However, she has not shied away from controversial positions, and her initial position that she would not be running for re-election fell by the wayside as she announced her candidacy on February 16, less than two weeks after this interview.
mural artist

Arts Build Community

CDCs now recognize that art and cultural activities can be useful tools toward building a community's identity, meaning, and spirit. But bank regulators have not yet reached a sufficient level of comfort with this new strategy.

Engaging the Public Schools: Are You Ready?

Many community development organizations approach the issue of public education with trepidation. Too many public schools have been entrenched in mediocrity for too long....

Fighting Displacement Fights Crime

There's an utterly fascinating recent post by John Roman on the Metrotrends Blog of the Urban Institute called “Gentrification Will...
Barcelona apartment buildings

Shelter Shorts—The Week in Community Development, April 20

NIMBYs, YIMBYs, PHIMBYs-Oh My! | Can Algorithms Make Equitable Cities? | Retail Segregation Takes a Toll | E.R. Visits and "Tough" Neighborhoods | Enough Innovation Already | More...

Millennials, Revisited

As both Joe Cortright of the City Observatory and I have written, Millennials—people who have reached adulthood since the beginning of the millennium—and...
mixed-income townhome development

The Geography of Mixed-Income Neighborhoods

Where are "naturally-occurring" mixed income neighborhoods, how do we support them, and how do we use them as examples to model?
"Coming Soon, Very Sad" painted on border wall outside of new development.

We Are All NIMBYs…Sometimes

If we built enough housing, we would still need subsidized housing for many people, but market prices would be low enough that most people could afford them. But we’ve chosen not to. And the reason we give for that choice, more than any other, is that we are trying to preserve or improve the character of our communities.
Man with a cane stands at the top of set of stairs in a park .

Poem: “Gentrification”

I have seen a neighborhood eat itself for dinner

The Two Vacancy Crises in America’s Cities

Vacant properties are a serious problem in two kinds of neighborhoods. To address them, we need to know which kind we’re looking at.

Help Restore Post-Katrina NOLA Neighborhoods by Tearing Down the Freeway

As we reflect on the five years that have passed since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, we can observe both progress and much, much...
A once-vacant lot in Philadelphia that has been cleaned.

Greening Vacant Lots: Low Cost, Big Effect in Philly

A Philadelphia program is cleaning up abandoned lots, helping formerly incarcerated residents get jobs, and improving the overall health and well-being of neighborhoods.

Conflict and Placemaking in Humboldt Park: La Crucifixion

It took 10 years, but a local Chicago activist managed to save a mural that portrays Pedro Albizu Campos, the leader of the movement for Puerto Rican independence.
Kennetha Patterson of Homes for All in Nashville speaks on a megaphone during Renter’s Week of Action.

Tenant Power: Organizing for Rent Strikes and Landlord Negotiations

In the face of high rent increases and substandard housing, many tenants are realizing they are not alone in their landlord troubles and are joining together to push for building-level wins, and policy change.

Police Train in Public Housing, Terrorizing Neighboring Residents

When Lauren Manning, a resident of the Ida Yarbrough Homes in Albany, N.Y., posted this public photo on her Facebook page, she probably didn't...

What Creating a ‘Stable Neighborhood’ Really Means

Last month I wrote about why Project Rebuild is basically a bad idea, and why the Obama administration is making...

Still Learning, After All These Years

I had a great education and was fortunate enough to have scholarships to become the first in my family to obtain a Master’s degree. But I made a career choice in 1974 to forego a PhD for experiential learning. I didn’t know that at the time. For me it was a job then not just […]