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Why “gentrification buildings” are misunderstood

How new buildings can actually fight displacement.

Ranjani Chakraborty is a lead video producer on the Vox video team and the creator behind Vox’s history series, Missing Chapter.

When many people look at new housing construction, they don’t just see boxy, modern, and bland architecture. They see new buildings that symbolize displacement and gentrification, or the idea that the construction comes at the cost of pushing out existing residents and replacing them with richer, whiter residents. But as Vox policy reporter Jerusalem Demsas explains, new construction in the US can actually help fight displacement.

There’s a growing body of research on what actually happens when we add units of housing to neighborhoods: Market-rate units decrease displacement and rents in neighborhoods, while adding strictly affordable units decreases gentrification. And while people may not love the aesthetics of the new architecture, these buildings all look so similar for a reason: It’s the cheapest way to build, at a time when the US needs more housing quickly.

Watch the video above to find out more from Jerusalem on what these new buildings really mean for neighborhoods across the country, and how more construction — along with policies like rental assistance — can help the US housing crisis.

And for further reading, check out more of Jerusalem’s housing reporting, along with this video on how zoning laws make building affordable housing so difficult in the US.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube.

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