New Green Spaces Don’t Have to Lead to Gentrification


Dequindre Cut, Detroit / The High Line Network, SmithGroup. Image Courtesy of The Dirt

Dequindre Cut, Detroit / The High Line Network, SmithGroup. Image Courtesy of The Dirt

Decades of redlining and urban renewal, rooted in racist planning and design policies, created the conditions for gentrification to occur in American cities. But the primary concern with gentrification today is displacement, which primarily impacts marginalized communities shaped by a history of being denied access to mortgages. At the ASLA 2021 Conference on Landscape Architecture in Nashville, Matthew Williams, ASLA, with the City of Detroit’s planning department, said in his city there are concerns that new green spaces will increase the market value of homes and “price out marginalized communities.” But investment in green space doesn’t necessarily need to lead to displacement. If these projects are led by marginalized communities, they can be embraced.

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