The long-term impacts of redevelopment on residential neighborhoods: three Sacramento case studies

Redevelopment and Tax Increment Financing were long determined to be the best and most cost effective way of improving blighted and economically and socially challenged neighborhoods. However, even as the California State Legislature discussed terminating redevelopment and Tax Increment Financing as a local development tool, there were no evaluations of the long-term impacts of redevelopment on the communities that the redevelopment projects were intended to help. Redevelopment as an activity had, in many communities, at least 30 years of activity to analyze. This thesis is a case study of three redevelopment areas in the City of Sacramento, and is a response to the question “what were the long-term impacts of redevelopment on residential neighborhoods in designated redevelopment areas?” The data for this thesis was retrieved predominantly from the U.S Census Bureau. It includes data from the 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 Decennial Census. Additional Geographic Information System data was also pulled from the Sacramento Area Coalition of Governments, the City of Sacramento and the U.S. Census Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding & Referencing system shape files. Despite the many claims of redevelopment proponents and local governments, who came to rely on redevelopment funding as a supplement to property taxes, redevelopment activities did not directly correlate with positive impacts in residential neighborhoods located in redevelopment areas. Conversely, redevelopment activities may have contributed to neighborhood instability and residential turn-over. The inconsistency of redevelopment plans over the long-term resulted in uneven results, and exacerbated an apparent connection between subsidized economic development and rising rents. This connection is in contradiction to a fundamental tenet of redevelopment to protect, preserve, and produce affordable housing. The relationship between economic development and rising rents created one of several contradictions that critically compromised the effectiveness of redevelopment activities in the areas studied.