The City of Memphis’ Division of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will be working with Austin Harrison (Visiting Instructor, Rhodes College) to measure and map direct and indirect residential displacement in Memphis. The city-wide displacement measuring tool and accompanying research will help frame communications around neighborhood change at the hyper-local level in two ways: (1) Conversations to complement ongoing dialogues HCD is having in neighborhoods, such as Orange Mound and Binghampton, in the Community Coalition program; (2) Rhodes College Urban Studies partnership with Juice Orange Mound, a community non-profit, to create a neighborhood plan mindful of displacement pressures and developed by the neighborhood for the neighborhood. The research itself will result in an opportunity for Rhodes students to implement a mixed-methods approach that leverages quantitative and spatial research to frame necessary conversations around how communities can proactively address displacement at the neighborhood level.
In recent years, Gentrification has come to dominate the neighborhood change discussion nationally and the sensationalization of this term has muddied the waters in community conversations around development or investment. Neighborhood leaders are reasonably concerned with investment leading to displacement or the cultural or social transformation of their community.
HCD is always seeking ways to leverage public investment to increase quality of life for all Memphians. However, if neighbors are concerned with losing places for working and middle-class families to live, then previous HCD research has shown that is happening in a variety of ways. For example, the recently published State of Memphis Housing Report found that Memphis is losing its affordable housing from the “bottom of the market” or from the processes of disinvestment. As a result, existing ways to measure displacement are more geared to the “top of market” housing affordability lost common in hotter market cities like Washington, D.C., San Francisco, or Los Angeles.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that Memphis is missing over 38,000 affordable housing units at the 30% Area Median Income or lowest level of affordable housing need. How can we track where and how Memphis losing affordable housing and how can this data inform HCD program and policies to proactively address this loss?
The academic research team will be provided:
HCD seeks to an academic partner that has a(n):