It’s no secret that living in transit-rich neighborhoods presents plenty of inherent advantages. There’s the access to jobs, schools, health services, and food, not to mention the reduced transportation costs.
The thing is, while there are plenty of opportunities presented by living in those types of areas, there aren’t nearly as many diverse, affordable housing options to choose from in them, which means not everyone gets to enjoy the benefits that transit-rich neighborhoods offer.
The biggest shame of it is that lower and moderate-income households are the very ones that would benefit most from residing in these areas and, because there’s a disproportionate share of lower and moderate-income households in the large metropolitan areas where transit-rich neighborhoods tend to arise, they’re often the ones who were already there when the new transit stations arrived in the first place!
What typically happens is, with the addition of transit, lower and moderate-income households are commonly driven out of their neighborhoods as incomes, housing values, and rents rise. And these kinds of neighborhood revitalizations don’t just commonly attract higher-income residents but more vehicle-owning residents as well, which defeats the whole purpose of attracting more transit-oriented households. The worst part? There is a a symbiotic relationship between diverse neighborhoods and successful transit systems.
These systems depend on their core transit users, or those most heavily dependent on transit and most likely to use it regularly, and while 95% of all American households own at least one car, renters and lower-income households are two of the select groups that are more likely to live in households without vehicles.
So, when lower and moderate-income households are forced out of their neighborhoods, the transit systems suffer because they depend on the economic diversity of the neighborhoods they serve and the core transit users residing there, just as the lower and moderate-income households suffer from being denied access to the benefits of living in transit-rich areas.
As you can see, it’s lose-lose situation, which is why it’s on community leaders and developers like us to ensure that transit systems will not only be able to attract a broader range of riders but also continue to maintain their core ridership, and that people of all incomes will have the opportunity to live in America’s transit-rich areas. The only way to do that is to continue to take measures to create and/or preserve affordable housing options in these types of neighborhoods.
Community leaders need to continue to retool their strategies and push for systematic changes, and although it’s obviously more financially beneficial for developers to cater to higher-income households, here at Capodagli Property Company, we’re of the belief that the growth and evolution of communities truly depends on their diversity.
Our mission is to revive cities and towns by creating thriving multifamily, multi-use communities and in order to do that, those communities must include plenty of affordable housing options. To learn more about what we do, check out this post about our recent revitalization of Hackensack, NJ: Downtown Hackensack’s Makeover Is Officially Underway!
Creating and/or preserving diverse, affordable housing in transit-rich neighborhoods isn’t just about giving lower and moderate-income households the opportunity to reap the rewards of living in these areas and ensuring that transit systems can survive and grow either. It can also help to drastically reduce traffic congestion and lower the levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
The bottom line is that everyone deserves to have access to the advantages that transit-rich areas offer, especially those who would benefit most from them. The success of any transit-rich neighborhood, on all fronts, depends largely on the diversity of that neighborhood, which is why creating and/or preserving affordable housing options in these types of areas is more important than ever before.
About Us: Capodagli Property Company is a full-service real estate development, construction, and property management firm specializing in transformational multifamily and mixed-use real estate projects.