How healthy community advocates can support equitable development and prevent displacement
In recent years, we’ve seen a surge of initiatives to design healthier communities. Bike lanes, parks, urban trails, public transit, grocery stores—these efforts are clearly intended to improve community health and safety.
Yet too often, these interventions—combined with shifting job and housing markets—increase the likelihood that low- and middle- income households and people of color get squeezed out of housing and business markets, rather than benefiting from investment and development.
Enhancements to community conditions should support the health of all residents. Instead, gentrification often leads to displacement. What can those of us working to improve community conditions in fields like transportation, parks and open space, food justice, planning, public health, and philanthropy do to ensure that our efforts align with affordable housing strategies and don’t contribute to displacement?
“For public health researchers and practitioners, preventing displacement may be the single greatest challenge and the most important task in our collective efforts to create healthy communities for all.”
–Dr. Muntu Davis, Health Officer and Public Health Director,
Alameda County, California
Prevention Institute’s new report, Healthy Development without Displacement: Realizing the Vision of Healthy Communities for All takes a public health approach to preventing displacement. That means exploring the root causes of displacement, risk factors that make displacement more likely, and resilience factors that protect individuals and communities against displacement. After examining data on the health equity impacts associated with displacement, the report shares preliminary strategies that multiple sectors can use in their own work and through their partnerships to help prevent displacement and support stable and healthy communities. To further guide practitioners in the field, the report also highlights organizations, researchers, and communities leading these efforts.