The Color of Health: Residential Segregation, Light Rail Transit Developments, and Gentrification in the United States

JPB Fellow Jennifer Roberts‘s research.

As the modern urban–suburban context becomes increasingly problematic with traffic congestion, air pollution, and increased cost of living, city planners are turning their attention to transit-oriented development as a strategy to promote healthy communities. Transit-oriented developments bring valuable resources and improvements in infrastructure, but they also may be reinforcing decades-old processes of residential segregation, gentrification, and displacement of low-income residents and communities of color. Careful consideration of zoning, neighborhood design, and affordability is vital to mitigating the impacts of transit-induced gentrification, a socioeconomic by-product of transit-oriented development whereby the provision of transit service “upscales” nearby neighborhood(s) and displaces existing community members with more affluent and often White residents. To date, the available research and, thus, overall understanding of transit-induced gentrification and the related social determinants of health are limited and mixed. In this review, an overview of racial residential segregation, light rail transit developments, and gentrification in the United States has been provided. Implications for future transit-oriented developments are also presented along with a discussion of possible solutions. Read the full article here.