Laura Lopez (MUP ’19), Daniel Padilla (MUP ’19), Eduardo Pelaez (MDes ’19)
Due to its central location, Overtown, Miami’s oldest historically black neighborhood, is in the crosshairs of encroaching real estate development, and with it, impending gentrification and displacement. Gentrification, at its core, points at an imbalance of power between private actors and communities, where the private developers have the ability to dictate what the “highest and best use” is for a space at the expense of people who do not have the legal or financial recourse to dictate their own visions for the future of their communities. Our hypothesis is that long term economic resiliency is vital to curb the effects gentrification and that building equity is akin to creating agency to decide on the future of a community. With this in mind, we devised a development strategy that would transform today’s exclusionary development threats into opportunities for future equity building for Overtown residents. A Community Equity Fund is a collectively-managed, collectively-owned equity fund created through the capture of real estate development profits with the purpose of mitigating the effects of gentrification by providing access to capital to residents affected by escalating land values. It is a redistributive financial mechanism that would allow planning bodies or redevelopment agencies to provide building incentives to developers, in the form of additional square footage, in exchange for a share of the profits, which will, in turn, be pooled into a Community Equity Fund. This fund will be distributed among community members living on properties whose values will be directly affected by incoming development projects.