Is Just Growth Smarter Growth?
An important new report exposes the role that Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) plays in fueling gentrification around rail stations in Los Angeles. The report reveals that the existing blueprint for TOD in Los Angeles County frequently results in the displacement of low income transit-using residents and replaces them with higher income residents less likely to use transit and more likely to use cars.
The report, Is Just Growth Smarter Growth?, prepared by UCLA-trained planner Will Dominie, is the first to examine these dynamics in the Los Angeles context. The report, conducted under the guidance of Professors Brian Taylor and Evelyn Blumenberg at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, builds on a 2010 report from the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy with similar findings about the equity and transit impacts of TOD.
According to the report, Los Angeles Metro, the private sector and the City of Los Angeles have placed an emphasis on station areas for new, mixed use development. The plan is to place more people within walking distance of transit and thereby increase the use of non-automotive travel, creating a more sustainable city.
Instead, the report contends, Transit Oriented Development in LA has led to
• Greater gentrification of neighborhoods around the stations-leading to the push out of current residents
• The gentrification of neighborhoods leads to a decrease of transit ridership around stations. As the housing value of increases, the numbers of low-income transit riders drops as wealthier, car using residents move in
• The stations that have gentrified have led to the loss of transit riders and the gain of car drivers at a much faster rate than the rest of Los Angeles County.