New Report Says Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Creates Better Communities for All
Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco Bay Area, Twin Cities serve as case studies
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a powerful tool in revitalizing neighborhoods and creating healthy, walkable communities along public transit lines. However, a new report says more intentional collaboration and smarter investments are necessary to extend these benefits to households of every income level. The report, Filling the Financing Gap for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development, identifies the systemic challenges of developing and financing equitable TOD projects—those that prioritize social equity and incorporate community services—and offers concrete national and regional capital and policy ideas to grow the sector.
Two national nonprofit leaders in equitable TOD financing, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise) and the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), authored the paper, which was commissioned by the philanthropic collaborative Living Cities. Equitable TOD promotes development along public transit lines that includes elements that benefit lower income residents, such as affordable housing, health clinics, living wage jobs, fresh food markets, schools and childcare centers.
“Equitable transit-oriented development has the potential to improve the lives and prospects of low-income communities,” said Robin Hacke, director of capital formation at Living Cities. “Our goal with this report is to help the field make these projects easier to finance and build. By dispelling the notion that successful TOD requires rocket science, we hope to see more cities implement these strategies successfully.”
While shown to have significant potential economic, environment and health benefits for communities and residents, equitable TOD projects are generally complex, large-scale and require coordination among multiple parties. The paper looks at the lessons learned from four regions that have tackled equitable TOD projects: Atlanta, Denver, the Twin Cities and the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Enterprise is thankful for the opportunity to study, reflect and document the organic growth of innovative financing to create equitable TOD. We’re looking forward to testing the ideas generated, focusing on aggregating and delivering new, more flexible capital to the four regions studied as well as others,” noted Melinda Pollack, vice president of transit-oriented development at Enterprise.
“Equitable TOD is a core part of LIIF’s strategy for poverty alleviation because it connects low-income families and communities to greater economic opportunity. These projects have benefits at multiple levels but require many actors and can be complicated to finance and build. LIIF is excited about this report’s potential to help develop policy and economic systems that support equitable TOD at a much larger scale,” added Brian Prater, senior vice president, strategic development & corporate affairs, at LIIF.
Through research that included interviews with national and regional TOD experts, Filling the Financing Gap for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development uncovers challenges but also many promising solutions to advance equitable TOD, such as providing robust technical assistance and knowledge-sharing platform; expanding the collaborative effort to make federal, state and local policy changes to encourage equitable TOD; and creating more equitable TOD demonstration programs across the country.
About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is an innovative philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. Our members are not simply funders. They participate at the senior management level on the Living Cities Board of Directors and contribute the time of 80 plus expert staff toward crafting and implementing our agenda, which is focused on improving the lives of low-income people and the urban areas in which they live. Over the past 18 years, Living Cities’ members have collectively invested over $600 million which has, in turn, leveraged more than $16 billion in tangible community assets — a remarkable leverage ratio of 29:1. Our funding has helped build homes; stores; schools; child care, health care and job-training centers; and other community assets.
Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. Since 1982, Enterprise has introduced neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested more than $13.9 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve 300,000 affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities. Visit www.EnterpriseCommunity.org and www.EnterpriseCommunity.com to learn more about Enterprise’s efforts to build communities and opportunity.
About the Low Income Investment Fund
The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) invests capital to support healthy families and communities. Since 1984, LIIF has served one million people by investing $1 billion. Over its history, LIIF has provided financing and technical assistance to create and preserve affordable housing, child care centers, schools, transit-oriented developments and healthy food retail in distressed neighborhoods nationwide. LIIF’s work has generated $20 billion in family income and societal benefits. LIIF has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. For more information about LIIF, visit www.liifund.org.
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