Haas Institute News and Updates

Press Release - How Will UC Berkeley’s New Richmond Campus Affect Low-Income Residents?


Will UC Berkeley’s New Campus in Richmond Cause Displacement of Low-Income Residents? 

January 2014: UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have proposed a second campus, poised to be the biggest public project in Richmond since the WWII shipyards attracted workers in the 1940s. Researchers at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society assisted community-based organizations in Richmond with an analysis of the proposed Richmond Bay Campus' (RBC) social, economic and environmental impacts.

The planned expansion will have wide-ranging long-term impacts on the Richmond community and Bay Area. The Haas Institute and community partners Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and Contra Costa Interfaith seek to ensure that the benefits of the planned expansion are inclusive of the surrounding community, particularly groups historically marginalized from major development projects. The partnership is working to provide low-income renters, families, unemployed and underemployed, formerly incarcerated and immigrant residents, small business owners, and others the resources and avenue to engage in decision making around the development of the new campus. Input from these stakeholders and technical analysis have raised concerns about housing affordability, employment opportunities, displacement, and other potential impacts.

The Haas Institute research team, headed by Eli Moore, have been meeting with the Richmond community residents who worry that the new campus could cause further rent increases for this already vulnerable population. According to the analysis, “nearly half (48%) of renters in Richmond are housing cost burdened [paying more than 30% of income toward housing] and low income.” The proposed campus will increase housing demand without increasing the supply. Richmond is one of few areas in the Bay Area’s urban core with relatively affordable housing. The majority of residents near the proposed campus site are renters, and according to the study, “Richmond has some of the highest concentration of low income renters within the region.” The effect may cause the already at-risk population to relocate to more affordable housing in the outer-suburbs.

The environmental impact of displacement may be significant, as greenhouse gas emissions increase when the local population moves to the outer-suburbs and has increased commute times. If low income populations move away from the high job concentration in the urban employment hubs, their commutes will get longer. As commute times increase, so will greenhouse gas emissions. Additional analysis by an environmental engineer working with community leaders found potential air and water pollution.

“The challenge for Richmond, the University of California, and Lawrence Berkeley Labs is to forge strategies that allow for the economic effects of the new campus to have a broad and inclusive impact,” the report authors state. Community leaders recommend particular strategies to mitigate consequences including job training, targeted hiring among the local population and a living wage requirement for contracts. The researchers suggest that with strong support for affordable housing and regular conversations between community leaders and campus decision makers, the project could become a model for high-tech campuses seeking to leverage their economic power for inclusive community economic development.

Program Contact:
Eli Moore, Program Manager
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society

Media Contact:
Rachelle Galloway-Popotas
Communications and Media Officer

Amicus Brief in Support of Inclusionary Zoning in San Jose

Brief Filed in California Supreme Court to Protect Inclusionary Zoning Laws

April, 2014: The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at University of California, Berkeley was a key contributor to an amicus (friend of the court) brief filed in support of the city of San Jose in a lawsuit that threatens the City’s inclusionary zoning laws. Inclusionary zoning is critical to protecting social inclusion and integration in municipal districts. Without inclusionary zoning laws, residential segregation is further exacerbated, greatly limiting access to economic and social mobility opportunities for low-income families.
At issue in the case are the City’s zoning requirements that protect San Jose’s efforts to continue to build and provide affordable housing in economically integrated neigh-borhoods. The case, entitled California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose (Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County), is currently pending before the California Supreme Court. The outcome is expected to reverberate nationally as Cali-fornia is seen as a key leader in inclusionary zoning practices that help prevent widening inequality in metropolitan areas. San Jose is of particular interest due to its unique geographic role in the technology economy.

The Haas Institute co-authored and provided key support for the research and analysis of this brief in order to emphasize the important role that affordable housing plays in all sectors of life. More than 45 housing scholars, fair housing advocates and legal and policy analysts signed in support of the brief, including the Haas Institute’s Director john a. powell and Assistant Director Stephen Menendian.

Menendian noted, “San Jose is at the epicenter of a national conversation on rapidly widening inequality. In co-authoring the brief, we are emphasizing the essential importance of inclusionary zoning ordinances in preventing further displacement of low and middle income residents.” Menendian, a legal scholar who has written about fair housing issues for the last decade, further adds: “Lack of inclusionary zoning will result in further economic and racial segregation, which has proven long-term negative effects on all residents of an area.”

Mike Rawson, lead counsel for the City of San Jose, noted in an email to all signatories on the amicus brief: “The evidence marshaled, the analysis presented, and the picture that emerges of the crushing reality of segregation and opportunity denied are profound. The brief will ensure that the justices will see the case in all its ramifications.”

The amicus brief gives an analysis of the United States’ history of economic and racial residential segregation and the pernicious effects of the nation’s history of exclusionary zoning, policies which directly targeted groups of color. Inclusionary zoning is a unique and effective policy utilized by local governments to meet the challenges they face in regards to land use. The brief also details how inclusionary zoning expands opportunities for low and moderate income households.

“Housing is more than just shelter. Where we live affects residents’ opportunities for employment, school, transportation and other community assets. Simply increasing affordable housing is not enough. Where the housing is located is critical since we know that when poverty is concentrated, all other life chances are also compromised,” emphasizes john a. powell, Director of the Haas Institute.

Media Contact:
Rachelle Galloway-Popotas
Communications and Media Officer

HIFIS Weekly Enews April 21, 2014

HIFIS Weekly E-Newsletter: April 21, 2014

The Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society launched its April 21, 2014 weekly e-newsletter.

To access our e-newsletter, click here. To subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter and regular news & updates, please fill out this form here. Thank you very much!


HIFIS Weekly E-Newsletter: April 11, 2014

The Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society launched its weekly e-newsletter on April 11th, 2014! In addition to our quarterly newsletter, we will be publishing shorter, weekly e-newsletters. To access our e-newsletter, click here.

To subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter and regular news & updates, please fill out this form here. Thank you very much!

The LGBTQ Citizenship Research Cluster Presents: "Transgender Studies Matters"

Friday, April 18th, 2014
132 Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley

What are the objects and inquiries of contemporary Transgender Studies? Explore the state of the field in this one-day symposium featuring a new generation of emerging transgender studies scholars speaking on such topics as experimental method, the place of surgery, environment, and citizenship. The talks will be paired with responses by UC faculty.

PANEL ONE (10am to 12pm)

"Queer Lovers, Hateful Others, and Injured Trans People: Queer Regenerations of Race, Space and the Urban Environment"

Jinthana K. Haritaworn, Environmental Studies, York University
w/ Paola Bacchetta as respondent (Gender & Women's Studies, UCB)

"Trans- Surgery Matters"

Eric Plemons, Anthropology, University of Michigan

w/ Marcia Ochoa as respondent (Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz)

PANEL TWO (2pm - 4pm)

"Jorgensen’s Shadows"

C. Riley Snorton, Communication Studies, Northwestern University
w/ Juana Maria Rodriguez as respondent (Gender & Women's Studies, UCB)

"Reframing Agnes"

Kristen Schilt, Sociology, University of Chicago and Chase Joynt, Visiting Artist, University of Chicago
w/ Raka Ray as respondent (Sociology, UCB)

Event Contact: gilliane@berkeley.edu