TOD and Community Investment

The new issue of Community Investments focuses on transit-oriented development (TOD) and the impact such development has on communities. The article that caught my eye? The Role of Transportation Planning and Policy in Shaping Communities. Naomi Cytron describes the ways in which transportation policies over the past decades have led to socioeconomic (and, in turn, racial) segregation — even exacerbating the problem.

But the suburban migration that ensued left behind minority households in particular, who were unable to leave central cities for the suburbs due to discrimination in housing and mortgage markets. For example, exclusionary zoning practices and racially restrictive covenants barred minorities from living or purchasing property in newly developing suburban neighborhoods. And as late as the mid-1960s, minorities were largely unable to qualify for federally guaranteed mortgages, greatly limiting their ability to purchase new homes being built in the suburbs.

Cytron writes that much of that is now changing, as the long commutes have led to a severe deterioration in quality of life (who wants to be in a car 3 hours a day?) and increased unaffordability. TOD is providing more families with choice and moving us toward a more equitable society. Of course, as Cytron rightly points out, “TODs are not a panacea.” But they certainly are moving us in a direction that feels a bit better.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on September 2, 2010, in Housing, Media Coverage, Public Infrastructure, Transportation, Urbanism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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