Research

Fall 2020 graduate thesis "Community Development Corporations and Neighborhood Stability in Hartford and New Haven, CT"

Abstract:

This study investigated the effects of CDC housing revitalization programs in Hartford and New Haven, CT on neighborhood stability. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, this study sought to connect the observed impacts in Hartford and New Haven with the literature on revitalization in formerly industrial cities. Data on three key indicators of neighborhood stability (property values, owner occupancy rates, and vacancy rates) were collected for the time period spanning 2000 to 2019. Street conditions were observed by a Google Street View “windshield survey” of the CDC focus areas; conditions were observed in 2011 and again in 2019 using the time capsule feature on Google Street View. The collected and observed data were contextualized through informal interviews with housing program leaders at each of the CDCs.

Based on the data examined, this study supports four conclusions. First, when viewed in the context of the literature on urban decline, and specifically decline in formerly industrial cities (or “legacy cities”), it became clear that Hartford and New Haven possess advantages over most other legacy cities in their efforts to spur neighborhood improvement. Second, those working in CDCs to improve homeownership opportunities in Connecticut cities need to rethink the methods, goals, and measures of homeownership programs as the data indicates little impact from such programs on homeownership levels, as opposed to broader indicia of neighborhood improvement. Third, the impact of housing revitalization on property values and street conditions depends significantly on the neighborhood context, specifically the property values in surrounding neighborhoods. Fourth, investments in housing revitalization by CDCs and other community-focused programs must be spatially targeted and sufficiently concentrated to produce measurable results.


December 2021 CT Mirror Op-Ed "The impact of concentrated housing subsidies in Frog Hollow: New data and new questions"