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Gentrification represents one of the most encouraging trends in city life since the 1960s. That may be a sad commentary on the fate of American cities or on our urban policies, but it is nevertheless true. The return of affluent people to urban living offers the possibility of reversing declining populations and municipal revenues, permitting enhanced spending on basic services, and increasing employment and educational opportunities. It also brings greater ethnic and economic diversity, which can contribute to a more humane social and cultural life. The great drawback to gentrification is that increased demand for housing increases rents, at least in certain locales, making it harder for the poor to remain within those locales. This article argues that policymakers should recognize the need to generally provide more subsidized housing in cities, dispersed throughout the entire city, and can use the increased value of housing resulting from gentrification as one source of tax revenue to provide this housing. At the same time, cities should not discourage gentrification by erecting regulatory barriers, as this might destroy the catalyst for positive change.

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46 How. L.J. 491-497 (2003)