How do household decisions about where to live perpetuate residential segregation, and what would it take for such choices to result in more inclusive neighborhoods? Three papers released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies explore these questions from somewhat different perspectives. The newly released papers, which were presented at A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality, a symposium hosted by the Joint Center, include an overview paper by the panel’s moderator and two papers by panelists examining key issues in more detail. The papers are:
Household Neighborhood Decisionmaking and Segregation, an overview paper co-authored by
Justin Steil, the panel’s moderator, and
Reed Jordan, investigates what we know about households’ decisionmaking
processes and explores the ways that technology and
other interventions might help create more integrated places. They note that notwithstanding
the significance of schools and other local amenities, the racial composition
of a neighborhood is a significant determinant in the residential
decisionmaking process. Moreover, they add, while homeseekers increasingly rely
on the internet, it is not yet clear how that reliance impacts the makeup of
neighborhoods. However, they note, it seems clear that different sources of
information have implications for segregation and may serve as points of
leverage for pro-integration interventions.
Data Democratization and Spatial Heterogeneity in the Housing Market, by Ralph McLaughlin and
Cheryl Young, argues that improved access to residential real estate data has
the potential to affect residential settlement patterns in two countervailing
ways. On the one hand, it could expand individuals’ housing search choice to
include properties in more diverse neighborhoods. Alternatively, it could
increase the demand to live in amenity-rich locations, which might price out
existing and future residents (unless the supply of housing in those locations
grew at a similar rate). However, they argue, the extent to which households
might be priced out of a neighborhood is not primarily influenced by data
availability but rather by the ease with which housing supply can be increased
to meet demand in those areas. They therefore recommend three policy
approaches: reducing exclusionary and restrictive zoning policies in expensive,
amenity-laden markets; giving housing choice voucher (HCV) recipients the
option to conceal their voucher status from landlords during the application
process; and requiring that some available Low Income Housing Tax Credit funds be
used in “high-value” Census tracts.
Minority Banks, Homeownership, and Prospects for New York City's Multi-Racial Immigrant Neighborhoods, by
Tarry Hum, focuses on the role of Asian minority banks in in lending to Asian
borrowers for residential property purchases in Queens and Brooklyn.
Established to counter financial exclusion resulting from discrimination and
linguistic and cultural barriers, these banks historically have been a
key source of credit, especially for Asian immigrants who may not qualify for
conventional loans. However, using data sets from 2010 and 2015, Hum shows
that there was a significant rise in lending by these banks to investors rather
than owner-occupants. She concludes by exploring how these changes may be
driving up prices, displacing low- and moderate income renters, and spurring
illegal conversions – changes that together may be destabilizing many of the
neighborhoods where the loans are being made.
The three papers build on previously released papers from the symposium that discuss the nature of residential segregation in the US, its consequences, rationales for public policies to address those consequences, and priorities for action. Over the next several months, the Joint Center will be releasing additional papers from the symposium that will focus on promising strategies in a variety of areas that would help foster more inclusive residential communities. The papers also will be collected into an edited volume that will be published in 2018.
Additional papers from the A Shared Future symposium are available on the JCHS website.