Dimensions of Displacement
New growth attracted to the City of Somerville as a result of the proposed Green Line Extension may expand housing opportunities, increase ridership and fare revenue, and bolster municipal finances with new tax revenue. However, previous experience in Somerville and across the country suggests that the creation of new transit service may result in unintended negative consequences if rising rents and land values cause the displacement of low and moderate-income residents.
As a result, policies designed to counter the potential displacement effects of new transit must be put in place well before the transit service begins, and should anticipate that the pace of real estate activity will only accelerate as the initiation of service approaches. To help inform these policies, MAPC's Data Services Department conducted an analysis to estimate the magnitude of displacement risk associated with the Green Line extension, and prepared a set of indicators that could be used to monitor neighborhood change as transit service is added and real estate trends accelerate.
This report, prepared in collaboration with the City of Somerville, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, Friends of the Community Path, and Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance is intended to help focus action on the strategies with the best potential to preserve a diversity of housing opportunities in Somerville. This effort was funded through the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant received from the US Department of Housing and Community Development in 2010.