Can COVID-19 Reopening Plans Mitigate Cycles of Residential Displacement?
Keywords:African American, Anchor Institutions, COVID-19, Gentrification, Displacement, Town and Gown, Housing
This article uses interviews of long-standing neighborhood residents’ sentiments of university expansion into their community. These data provide persuasive empirical evidence for the need of urban anchor institutions to include as an integral component of their campus reopening efforts, intentional plans for reducing the disruption of housing patterns of permanent residents. The term COVID exposure has come to signify not only the potential to succumb to the virus, but it also implies the revealing of inequities in systems that impact the effects of the crisis within Black and Brown communities. Every sector of U.S. society has been impacted by COVID-19, and it has required a paradigm shift in our interactions with one another. Academic institutions are enacting robust de-densification efforts which will stimulate dramatic shifts in the off-campus housing needs for students, but they stand the chance of displacing or further disadvantaging the long-standing residents who reside outside of their campus border. Universities must use reopening plans as an instrument to change the trajectory of relationships they hope to cultivate with their long-standing neighbors, through renewed engagement efforts that integrate lessons from the past and that seek to build stronger neighborhoods by challenging housing inequity and housing inequality.
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