Adobe Stock/Sarah Jane

As neighborhoods undergo gentrification, if often means the long-time residents get priced out of the market and displaced. On Oakland neighborhood, Fruitvale Transit Village, has managed to increase home ownership, median household income, and educational attainment since 2000, without displacing the majority Latino residents.

How? CityLab writer Benjamin Schneider says it was the transit village itself, according to researchers from UCLA’s Latino Policy and Politics Initiative. The transit village provided the neighborhood with much-needed social services, and an inviting urban design that stimulated commerce and street life, he says.

Sonja Diaz, an LPPI researcher who led a recent study on the neighborhood, says Fruitvale’s story can help inform other low- and middle-income communities that need economic development but worry about its side effects. “What we want to highlight is the opportunity for a community to really prosper across a wide range of indicators while still maintaining its identity and not displacing its residents,” she said.

Over the past 15 years, Fruitvale substantially outperformed its peer neighborhoods in median income growth and educational attainment. But Fruitvale’s increase in homeownership is particularly notable, Diaz said. Not only does it buck national trends toward higher rates of rental housing, it’s also unusual because Latino households were disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis, which took place in the midst of the study period. And while similar neighborhoods in Los Angeles County and the rest of the Bay Area saw small increases in their proportion of Latino residents, Fruitvale’s proportion of Latinos barely changed, even as its economic indicators skyrocketed. (Uptown Oakland saw its black population decrease by 14 percentage points over that period, from 59 percent to 45 percent).

Read More