Gentrification is one of the complex planning challenges of our times

(Latest in a series of posts on Neighborhoods)

Al Bernotas is a 36-year resident of Bethlehem, somewhat of a law and order zoning wonk, with many years fighting a ruling by the Zoning Hearing Board, only to find out that they had discretion to do whatever they want to do. So said the Commonwealth Court, with the Supreme Court of the State of Pennsylvania turning down a request to hear the case. Now he just spends much of his time mowing his lawn, while watching tractor-trailers mosey on down the residential street whereupon he lives, Johnston Drive. In his spare time he is a Medicare Advisor, Census Bureau Enumerator, and Landscape Specialist, and All-around Handyman. Or, some other folks would call him a know-it-all.


Gentrification, Displacement, and the Law

The Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association is pleased to host the upcoming webcast Gentrification, Displacement, and the Law on Thursday, October 10, 2019 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. CT. Registration for individuals is $20 for PLD members and $45 for nonmembers. Registration for two or more people at one computer is $140.

Gentrification is one of the complex planning challenges of our times, but the legal limits on how local communities can respond to these pressures are often unclear. While there is no shortage of well-meaning ideas about how to slow the gentrification process or mitigate its impacts, some of those ideas may not be legal, and others could have significant unintended consequences. This webinar will review those laws that impose obligations to protect America’s citizens against some forms of pressure and discrimination, as well as those that prohibit certain local government actions. This review will include the Community Reinvestment Act, the Fair Housing Amendments Act, the American’s With Disabilities Act, and constitutional limits on interference with contracts or the fundamental right to buy and sell property. However, the real action on gentrification is at the local level, so panelists will also review selected municipal laws and policies. Speakers are Don Elliott, FAICP, with Clarion Associates, LLC, Bill Anderson, FAICP, with City Economics + Planning Leader, Bijal Patel, Esq., with the Office of City Attorney for Oakland, CA, and Chris Schildt with PolicyLink.

For more information or to register visit:


Al’s post reminds Gadfly that both Paige Van Wirt and Peter Crownfield have recommended 5 Must-Read Perspectives on Gentrification — that, sigh, he hasn’t gotten to yet. Consider him nudged, Al.

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