Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Race, Jobs, and Gentrification

Houston, we have a gentrification problem at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Geog 101.

Subject Article: "Fighting Gentrification With Money In Houston."

Other Links: 1. "Bill Witte on Housing Affordability: A Supply and Demand Problem."

Postscript: Why are Worcester's housing prices stuck?

What accounts for Worcester's lower incomes and weak real estate prices? A look at Worcester's largest employers may shed some light on the question. These include big insurance companies such as Hanover, Commerce, Mapfre USA; abrasives and materials — as in Saint Gobain; St. Vincent Hospital and UMass Memorial Health Care; colleges — like Holy Cross, WPI, and Worcester State; and some pharmaceuticals researchers.

The common thread among all these employers is relatively slow growth when compared to the high technology employers located further east. Moreover, many of these employers hire many workers that do manufacturing and service jobs with relatively low pay and a smaller number of higher paid jobs — including executives, doctors, scientific researchers, and professors. ...

... Worcester economic leaders I've interviewed like to tout its low real estate prices as a draw to potential employers. But those low prices do not mean that real estate in the city is a good investment unless there is a catalyst for faster economic growth that would boost demand — and hence prices.

Or, Worcester could reduce the supply of housing, and hence raise prices. But the central issue for housing affordability is demand, not supply. Which is why no-zoning Houston has a gentrification problem.

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