The Granary District

Creating walkable, urban, human-centered neighborhoods in the Granary District.

We're in the Trib! - "Salt Lake City's Granary District fights gentrification"

Our crowdsourced charrette was front page news on this morning. I think the article did a good job of recapping the charrette. Although some important points and ideas were left out, the one that made a big impression on the reporter was how we plan on fighting gentrification, which is, essentially, the displacement of current residents and businesses in working class communities by wealthier people (you can find the full definition, here).

So, how do we prevent gentrification from happening in the Granary District? Some ideas that have come up so far are:

Diversity — Creating many different housing types that fit people of all different socio-economic backgrounds; single room occupancy (SRO) which were discussed at the charrette; modular/ container units that are relatively cheaper to build and more affordable; Accessory dwelling units (basement apartments, apartments above garages); and smaller attached and detached single-family housing. Any other ideas on other types?

(Accessory dwelling unit above garage)

Density — The more density, the more affordable units can and should be. The Fleet Block plan from the charrette, for instance, calls for 40-42 units per acre with a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms with both attached and detached single family units and smaller scale, and some scale retail.

(Fleet Block on right side)

Zoning — Keeping existing uses in the neighborhood through proper zoning. You won't have expensive apartments, homes, etc. next door to someone who's welding. It seems that the Granary District is headed to some sort of formed-based zoning, which is good, but it'll have to be a more specific, unique type of form-based zoning just for the Granary and it's unique character.

Then there are some other tools like inclusionary zoning that has had mixed success.

Preventing gentrification is going to be an important factor in the future of the Granary District, but how do we encourage and embrace new growth and investment as well?


Views: 725

Comment by Quinn McCallum-Law on May 11, 2012 at 3:13pm

Wow looking great guys.

Your last question thats a tough one. I think some gentrification is inevitable. I don't know the answer, but I do think that one of the most important markets to be tapping into is not the low-income but the middle income. They are, in my opinion the ones left out in the dark regarding urban living, and yet they have enough income to help drive investment. Just in a casual survey of the urban market, I've come to think that the low income and high income are very well served in urban markets, especially slc, and the middle-class are the least served forcing them into suburbs. Just a highly unscientific study of mine. But that is where I think the most room for positive growth is, unfortunately there is not a lot of financial channels available for that at the moment.

Again, great work guys, and great article in the paper today. 

Comment by James Alfandre on May 11, 2012 at 5:20pm

I think you're absolutely right, Quinn. We, Generation Y, is the rising middle class and we need housing in urban areas! 

I think attainable housing can be described for the middle class demographic. Smaller, high-quality housing that is mixed in with other unit types. But you're right, there aren't a lot of options right now, but we, as the Crowd should be demanding these kinds of housing options, and when we get the buying power to do so, we'll want to invest in urban areas more. 

Comment by tom candee on May 14, 2012 at 12:51pm

if the neighborhood becomes a great place to live or work, land will become more valuable. if land becomes more valuable, the price of that land will increase. the only thing that will, if this happens, reduce the price of living or doing business on this land will be more units or higher density.

another way to put this is to say that if land increases in value, the only way (short of rent or price control) to reduce price increase is to increase units or to increase building square footage via increased building heights.

this is covered nicely in matt yglesias' new ebook "the rent is too damn high" which i recommend.

not to say that i think a neighborhood like the granary should be peppered with high rises. i personally don't because they pose other problems like shutting off solar access which i believe will be very important in the near future with respect to energy concerns.

but my point is that if the neighborhood becomes successful, land prices will increase & the only solution to gentrification in such a situation is more units in my opinion.

Comment by James Alfandre on May 15, 2012 at 11:43am

I agree with you, Tom. Density and diversity in units (English basements, accessory dwelling units, single-family, apartments, single-room-occupancys, etc.) will be vital to mitigating the effects of gentrification. It would be interesting to start looking at what kinds of units, and how many of eah unit would be a good mix to shoot for.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll have to check it out.


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