Widespread gentrification transformed some of the nation’s biggest cities like New York and San Francisco. Austin is no different. Rapidly rising rents, home prices, and tax-assessed values, along with sweeping urban renewal are unrelenting in Austin’s East Side.

For longtime homeowners on the East Side, the only people who win are those who can afford to sell and cash out on their property.

As home prices continue to climb, a coalition named Development Without Displacement is asking the city of Austin to look carefully into the realities of the Austin housing market.

Currently, there is no solution to the wave of gentrification occurring, and the city’s stance on the issue is historically vague. However, Mayor Steve Adler and the Austin City Council are considering a new land development code or LDC that would, among other things, determine what buildings can be constructed in different areas.

Meanwhile, Development Without Displacement argues that the new LDC doesn’t address the rising costs for homeowners in the immediate area.

Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza has introduced an amendment to the new land use code intended to create an “equity overlay” to reduce the size of transition zones, bolster affordable housing requirements, and de-incentivize redevelopment of multifamily homes.

“None of that [the Equity Overlay] is going to help the people who are already here, who are fighting for their homes,” said Misael Ramos, an East Austin resident. “We’re thinking about tomorrow, but we’re not thinking about the present and who’s living here now.”

The new LDC code has passed its first reading, and the second reading is scheduled for February 2020. Mayor Adler released a statement:

Significant displacement is happening everyday under the current land development code. We should not delay any longer adopting a new code designed in part to help fix this.
For the last six years, neighborhoods and communities across the city have participated in drafting a new code focused on affordability, equity and the environment.
Anti-displacement measures are being built into the new code and the city will continue to make this a spending priority.

Have questions about gentrification and how it may affect you? Reach out to Team ATX Life anytime; we’re always here to help.


Austin Business Journal “Austin grapples with issues of gentrification, displacement as it overhauls land development code”

KXAN “Activists: Austin should adopt anti-displacement, anti-gentrification policy before new Land Development Code”

Image credit: A map of the Census Tracts in Austin most vulnerable to displacement-based on 2016 numbers. Image from UT Austin Uprooted Full Report 2018.